Our Stories

Find the Explorer in You

Trick-or-Treat Yourself to Orangutan-Friendly Candy

Halloween is just around the corner, which means there’s only one thing on your mind – candy! Trick-or-treaters will be at your door before you know it, so you’ll need to prepare yourself with the right sweets for these boo-tiful little ones. Before you make a trip to your local grocery store, we’d like to share some spook-tacular suggestions in order to prepare you for a sustainable Halloween! Why Palm Oil Sustainable? You may be asking yourself,... Read More
at Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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Zoo Detective Series: The “Boys” Who Built the Zoo

You’re a nature-lover, right? Then maybe you have camped on the Native American ground that shares a connection to the Oklahoma City Zoo. It’s the Osage Hills State Park, near Bartlesville, Oklahoma. How are the zoo and the park related, you ask? It’s a story that goes back 85 years, like this… The 1930s Backstory : During the Great Depression, the men of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) lived and worked on Zoo property from 1933-1937. The government paid... Read More
at Monday, October 2, 2017
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Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy

I am very fortunate to be a member of the Oklahoma Conservation Leadership Academy (OCLA) this year. OCLA was created by The Nature Conservancy’s Oklahoma Chapter (TNC-OK) to bring engaged, creative and active people from around the state together to learn about science-based conservation and how they can become conservation stewards in their community and beyond. OCLA is a yearlong program consisting of workshops, field trips, meetings and socials. The 2017-2018 program kicked off... Read More
at Monday, September 18, 2017
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Runners, Take Flight! Fight the Monarch’s Plight!

Strap on your wings, runners! This year, the Oklahoma City Zoo is hosting a fun race to raise funds for monarch butterfly conservation! The OKC Zoo’s Monarch Madness 5k and 1-mile Fun Run will take place on September 23.  "We’re calling this Monarch Madness partly because the idea of any creature, let alone a butterfly, flying over 2,000 miles just sounds insane,” said Greg Heanue, Zoo senior director of marketing and public relations. “It’s... Read More
at Sunday, September 17, 2017
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That’s Not a Black Bear

This summer, the Zoo introduced a new resident into the American black bear habitat at Oklahoma Trails! Can you guess what animal it might be? Here’s a hint… it’s not a black bear! In fact, this animal is red, small and shares a common natural habitat with bears Woody, Maynard and Sammy’s wild counterparts. Their new habitat-mate is a red fox named Zinc.  The Purpose Behind Multi-Species Environments Multi-species environments... Read More
at Friday, September 8, 2017
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The Magnificent, Magical, Monarch Festival

The monarchs are coming! Join us on Saturday, September 23, to celebrate the monarch migration, and learn how you can help monarchs and other pollinators. One of the greatest spectacles of nature occurs in Oklahoma each fall. It’s the migration of millions of monarch butterflies from their summer breeding grounds in the upper United States and Canada to their overwintering grounds in central Mexico. Those who have been fortunate to be momentarily engulfed... Read More
at Thursday, September 7, 2017
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Fulfilling our Mission

As the Oklahoma City Zoo’s animal family continues to grow with the arrival of tiger cubs, new trumpeter swans and the announcement of two BIG pregnancies–an Asian elephant and Western lowland gorilla, so does our ZOO! The OKC Zoo has undergone tremendous transformation this year. With our new parking lot complete, new picnic grounds opening this fall and Sanctuary Asia opening summer 2018, the Zoo is evolving rapidly to fulfill our mission to be Oklahoma’s premiere... Read More
at Thursday, September 7, 2017
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Cubproofing - Preparing for the Next Milestone!

The Zoo’s Tiger Cub Cam has brought our tiger family into homes all over the world, and now, we are proud to announce an upcoming milestone for Lola’s four growing cubs - venturing outside for the very first time!  Since its launch on August 10, the Tiger Cub Cam has been viewed over 142,000 times! For our team, the positive responses from those who’ve tuned in have been incredibly rewarding to see. Amur tiger, Zoya’s, successful integration with our three... Read More
at Tuesday, September 5, 2017
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Vulture Awareness Day

What is big, bald, and known as nature’s garbage disposal? Vultures!  The first Saturday in September is World Vulture Awareness Day.  It may seem strange to devote an entire day to a fearsome-looking bird species but vultures are very important to the world’s natural ecosystems.  Vultures are critical in all habitats because they consume dead animals – reducing the risk of transmitted... Read More
at Thursday, August 31, 2017
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The Mighty Monarch Migration

Monarch butterflies appear fragile but they are mighty, flying up to 3000 miles during their fall migration from Canada and the upper Midwest of the United States to overwintering grounds in Mexico each year. We know a lot about monarch migration because of a long-term citizen science study run by Monarch Watch, which is based at the University of Kansas. The tagging program provides vital information about migration patterns and how variables like... Read More
at Monday, August 28, 2017
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Local Efforts Go Global: Round up for Conservation Program

Have you ever wondered how to get involved in conservation but worry that you don’t have the time or resources? The OKC Zoo enables you to care about saving species and habitats around the world when you donate to its grassroots program – Round Up for Conservation!  Saving Species One Penny at a Time What is Round Up for Conservation? It is a program created to help wildlife and wild places! Zoo guests are... Read More
at Friday, August 25, 2017
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Helping Flamingo Chicks Grow Into Their Feathers

If you’ve visited the Zoo this summer, you may have noticed that our flock of American flamingos were nesting!    The flamingos constructed their intricate nest mounds out of natural materials found throughout their habitat including dirt, leaves, twigs and feathers. After the flamingos laid their eggs, I and other caretakers noticed that they were not being attentive to their nests, so we decided to intervene.  Fortunately, the collective... Read More
at Friday, August 25, 2017
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OKC Zoo’s Giant Anteater, Kallie, Passes Away

27-year-old, Kallie, was the world’s oldest living Giant Anteater in Human Care. The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of our beloved 27-year-old female Giant anteater, Kallie, at approximately 11:30 a.m., on August 23, 2017. For the past two months, she was being monitored by the Zoo’s vet care team for age-related ailments.  Most recently, Kallie began showing signs of decreased mobility due to severe arthritis throughout her joints. In order to... Read More
at Thursday, August 24, 2017
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The Ultimate Ice Cream Guide

One of the best ways to beat the summer heat is to enjoy the perfect tasty, cold and sweet treat – ice cream! But before you go digging into that carton that’s waiting for you in the freezer, ask yourself, “Have I checked to make sure it doesn’t contain palm oil?” This blog’s purpose is not to discuss the health implications of consuming palm oil. We’re here to tell you about the products you can consume that don’t contain non-sustainable palm... Read More
at Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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Conserving the African Painted Dog

African Painted Dogs have gone by several different names over the years. In fact, you might’ve heard Cape Hunting dogs or African Wild dogs as well. Many individuals confuse their species with hyenas. Although their appearance is similar, this comparison is not accurate.  African Painted Dogs are Africa’s equivalent to North America’s wolves. They are both highly advanced predators, have a similar social structure and a place of dominance or subordination in the pack,... Read More
at Monday, August 21, 2017
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Children Planting Trees for Alligator Lizards and Their Community

The Campbell’s alligator lizard is a critically endangered tree-dwelling lizard found only in one small part of Guatemala. Falsely believed to be venomous, until recently this lizard was killed on sight and the forest it lived in was reduced to a fragment. The OKC Zoo is helping to fund a forest restoration and conservation education project that has changed the community’s attitude about these lizards and increased their habitat. Campbell’s alligator lizards live in mature... Read More
at Friday, August 18, 2017
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Lizard Lab: OKC Zoo Welcomes Texas Horned Lizard Hatchlings

Twenty-two lizard hatchlings are currently being hand-raised by the OKC Zoo’s reptile and amphibian department in partnership with several key organizations, to gain more information on reptile translocation techniques that can be shared with other conservation partners.  Zoo Curator, Stacey Sekscienski, took the time to answer 11 riveting questions about this crucial research.  Why is the OKC Zoo involved in... Read More
at Monday, August 14, 2017
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World Elephant Day

Every day is a great day to come to the Zoo, but this Saturday, August 12, Zoo guests have a BIG reason to join in on the fun – it’s World Elephant Day! As someone who has the honor of caring for elephants every day, this event is particularly exciting. World Elephant Day is our team's day to share the passion we have for the care and conservation of the world’s largest-living land mammals.  The... Read More
at Friday, August 11, 2017
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Elephants Everywhere: Treasure Hunter Series

Note: As the Zoo’s unofficial Treasure Hunter, Amy Stephens, solves mysteries, digs up lost history and hunts for treasure at the Zoo. She works in the Education Department and at the Patricia and Byron J. Gambulos ZooZeum.  Like me, you may love reading mystery novels.  Most plots involved finding bad guys, family secrets and lost jewels.  Sometimes a missing dog, but not missing elephants.   Do not panic, an elephant has not disappeared... Read More
at Wednesday, August 9, 2017
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Pool Time with the Elephants

Summer is upon us at the OKC Zoo, and the elephants have already begun utilizing one of their most-enjoyed creature comforts – the water features! When you visit the Asian elephant herd during this time of the year, you’ll likely witness the elephants swimming and playing in the water.  Our habitats have ample opportunities for the animals to cool down when the Oklahoma summer heat begins. Our largest habitat has a 220,000 galloon pool that is 12-feet deep,... Read More
at Monday, August 7, 2017
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EMILY, OKC ZOO GORILLA, UNDERGOES MEDICAL EXAMINATION FOR UMBILICAL HERNIA

Zoo partners with medical experts from Oklahoma’s leading veterinary and human hospitals to provide best medical care for critically endangered wildlife. On Saturday, June 24, The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s veterinary team collaborated with veterinary and human medical professionals from BluePearl Veterinary Partners, the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and Oklahoma University Health Sciences to conduct a medical exam on the OKC Zoo’s 32-year-old Western... Read More
at Friday, August 4, 2017
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Ketara's Reach for New Heights

In the past nine months, several milestones have come and went for our youngest giraffe, Ketara! His caretakers has watched him grow from 6-feet tall and around 150 pounds, to over 7-feet tall and nearly 550 pounds!  Whether he’s running and playing with his big sister, Julu, or learning how to socialize with our older giraffes and ostrich, Sadie, every moment with Ketara has brought our team joy and pride. Most recently, Ketara has begun to eat solid food! This particular... Read More
at Thursday, August 3, 2017
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Pup Update: Cash the California Sea Lion

Our California Sea Lion pup, Cash, born on the afternoon of June 25, has been making quite the splash at the Oklahoma City Zoo! Cash’s parents, Pearl and Xander, were rescued off the coast of California and are also the parents of 1-year-old Phoenix. As rescued sea lions, their genetics have not been represented in other zoos or aquariums, which makes Cash and Phoenix’s births significant in the zoological community.  Cash has been thriving ever since his birth. After only a... Read More
at Monday, July 31, 2017
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Capture the Wild Photo Contest

They say a picture is worth a thousand words... 2016 Best of Show – Jennifer Sanders 2015 Carnivores First Place – Steven McPhail 2014 Youth II Honorable Mention – Lillian Kuhn 2013 Aquarium, Reptiles & Amphibians Honorable Mention - Amanda Roggow We tend to agree! For several years, the Oklahoma Zoological Society has held their annual Capture the Wild Photo Contest. ZOOfriends members, OKC Zoo admirers and Zoo employees enter their... Read More
at Thursday, July 27, 2017
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Okie-native Saves Wildlife One Photo at a Time

National Geographic photographer, speaker and founder of the Photo Ark, Joel Sartore, arrived at the Oklahoma City Zoo on July 14 with camera in-hand at 7:30 a.m., prepared for a weekend of photographing rare animals and sharing a preview of his PBS docu-series, “RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark.” About Photo Ark  Photo Ark was created in 2005 after Joel’s wife, Kathy, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. His career as a National Geographic photographer... Read More
at Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Pace Frank

We’ve enjoyed sharing zookeeper highlights all week-long in honor of National #ZookeeperWeek – taking place July 16 through July 22! Keeper Pace is the last (but not least) zookeeper highlight of the week! Pace cares for the Zoo’s great apes. How long have you worked at the Zoo? I started working at the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2011 in the hoofstock department. I loved working with the Red river hogs and the okapi. When I first moved to Oklahoma City, I... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Debbie Bastin

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22. Our staff of zookeepers are hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for the animals in their various departments! This week, we are highlighting six zookeepers; ranging from elephant to carnivore caretakers. Next up is Debbie Baston! Debbie cares for the Zoo's herd of Asian elephants!  How long have you... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Brian Frank

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22. Our staff of zookeepers are hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for the animals in their various departments! This week, we are highlighting six zookeepers; ranging from elephant to carnivore caretakers. Next up is Brank Frank! Brian Frank is the lead zookeeper of hoofstock at the OKC Zoo.  How long have you... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Vet Technician Highlight: Julia Jones

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22! While this week is geared toward zookeepers in particular, it's also important to note that the Zoo's veterinary staff plays a vital role in caring for the animals as well. Today, we're highlighting Julia Jones, a veterinary technician (animal nurse) who collaborates with our team of zookeepers every day to ensure that each animal... Read More
at Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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Keeper Highlight: Rachel Sides

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22. Our staff of zookeepers are hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for the animals in their various departments! This week, we are highlighting six zookeepers; ranging from elephant to carnivore caretakers. Next up is Rachel Sides! Keeper Rachel cares for the carnivores of the OKC Zoo.   How long have you... Read More
at Tuesday, July 18, 2017
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Strike Out Rhino Extinction with AAZK and the Zoo

Pin, grey, alley, strike, horn—what do these words have in common? BOWLING FOR RHINOS! Zoos have been saving rhinos through an annual campaign called Bowling for Rhinos (BFR) for almost 30 years. The OKC Zoo Chapter of the Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) has been raising money for rhino conservation since 1990, funding over $300,000 towards the preservation of rhino species in Africa and Asia. But why do these species need saving? The decline in rhino populations can be linked to two... Read More
at Monday, July 17, 2017
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Zookeeper Highlight: Josh Lucas

The Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden is celebrating National Zookeeper Week – taking place from July 16 through July 22. Our staff of zookeepers are hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for the animals in their various departments! This week, we are highlighting six zookeepers; ranging from elephant to carnivore caretakers. First up is Josh Lucas! Keeper Josh cares for the reptiles and amphibians of the OKC Zoo.   How long have you... Read More
at Monday, July 17, 2017
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The Bronze Creatures of the Zoo

Bronze animals may be the most photographed animals at the Zoo! Guests love to interact with our statues – most often found posing with our large lion pride, oversized gorilla and lounging tiger.   Art is just one more facet of the Zoo’s all-encompassing mission to connect people to our world’s vanishing wildlife and wild places.  We have exotic animals, lush plants and outstanding fine art, all which help us see nature in different ways.  Through the eyes... Read More
at Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Looking Out for the World’s Tallest Animal

We celebrated World Giraffe Day at the Zoo on June 21, however, the Zoo’s commitment to protecting giraffes goes far beyond one day of celebration. Giraffes are one of the most recognizable animals in the world and a favorite of many zoo-goers. Despite this, they have not been well-studied and much remains to be learned about their social systems. The Zoo is supporting this important research through its Conservation Action Now (CAN) grant program. Until recently giraffes were... Read More
at Friday, June 23, 2017
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First Great Ape Blood Draw at the OKC Zoo

Preventative medicine, including routine examinations and bloodwork, is an important part of the health and wellness of all the animals at the OKC Zoo. Historically, blood samples have only been collected from most of our large collection animals during anesthetic exams. The Veterinary team has been working alongside animal caretakers throughout the Zoo in order to be able to obtain these blood samples voluntarily through operant conditioning, in an effort to work towards decreasing anesthesia... Read More
at Thursday, June 22, 2017
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OKC Zoo saddened by death of beloved jaguar, Tavi

The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of our beloved 19-year-old female jaguar, Tavi, on Friday, June 16, 2017 at approximately  10:30 a.m. For the past two weeks, Tavi was being monitored by the Zoo’s vet care team for age-related ailments. Recently, she stopped eating and was unable to stay hydrated without medical assistance, which led the vet and caretaker teams to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Tavi. The veterinary team will conduct a... Read More
at Friday, June 16, 2017
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Drink Beer, Save Turtles: Zoo Animal Caretaker Works with Like-Minded Group Down South

On Monday, May 22, I woke up deep in the Texas Hill country to participate in an activity that most people might think is, well, odd. I met up with a group of very specialized “nerds” and citizen scientists from all over the country at an unusual site--the County Line barbeque restaurant in Austin. Why this location? The proprietors are passionate about helping to save turtles and our unique group began that morning and worked until early evening for the next two days surveying... Read More
at Thursday, June 8, 2017
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Plastic in the Ocean: What’s All the Fuss About?

Oklahoma is a long way from the ocean. So, why should we care that 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans each year? The oceans cover 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Ocean health is vital to the entire planet’s health. It’s vital to our health! Come to the Zoo June 9-10, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., for our two-day World Oceans’ Day celebration. You’ll learn what you can do to help protect our oceans. For some sobering facts, read on. Exponentially... Read More
at Thursday, June 8, 2017
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Ornate Tortoises in Trouble: Zoo Helping to Save Species

In the Northwest corner of Madagascar lives a species of tortoise with a shell so highly domed and ornate that you might think they came straight out of the mind of a cartoonist. But the Ploughshare tortoise is very real and very rare. It is also the largest and, arguably, the most beautiful of Madagascar's four endemic species of tortoises. Their domed shell and golden color have made them a highly prized pet throughout Asia--so highly prized, in fact, that the illegal pet trade... Read More
at Thursday, May 11, 2017
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Animal Enrichment: The Key to a Life Well Lived!

Imagine how fun and enriching our lives would be if we had our own personal trainer, chef and concierge! Yet only a few fortunate people have these luxuries. The animals at the OKC Zoo, however, although not considered “wealthy” in human terms, are most definitely well cared for, and I have the privilege of being their own behavioral training and enrichment curator.  Say That Again?  Enrichment--it’s kind of a funny word. We use it often when referring to... Read More
at Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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Zoo Treasure Hunt Series: Your Journey Begins

I confess a love for the “National Treasure” movies.  Finding clues, digging through history, solving mysteries. Such adventures capture my mind, taking me back to my childhood when I delighted in reading Nancy Drew mystery novels.  So, how cool is it that I now solve mysteries and hunt for treasures—at the Zoo?! Because of my job, I’ve discovered obscured plaques and missing memorabilia. I’ve traced missing artifacts, pieced together history and... Read More
at Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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Become a Parent of the Wild: Animal Adoption is for Everyone!

Unlike traditional pet adoption “days” celebrated around the world or the recent National Pet Adoption Weekend celebrated each May, the Zoo celebrates animal adoption all year long—the soft and plush kind that lasts a lifetime!  A Zoo animal adoption is a unique gift that your loved ones, regardless of age, will be thrilled to have and collect. Animal adoptions not only create a sense of warmth and joy for the receiver, but they also benefit the lives of all the... Read More
at Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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Providing Innovative Health Care: Necessity is the Mother of Invention!

Our Great Ape staff at the OKC Zoo has daily opportunities, as well as some challenges, due to working with very large and very smart animals. Gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees are complex thinkers. Therefore, thinking “outside the box” when it comes to providing excellent health care and enrichment is critically important. Training is a huge part of our daily routine. Most behaviors we train animals to display center around their health care needs. So through training, the apes... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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ZooZeum Added to the U.S. Registry of Historic Places

“You’re glowing today!” That’s what my co-worker said when I arrived at work on Saturday, Feb 18, 2017. I didn’t know it showed, but it  was  a proud day for me. The day represented the culmination of 12 years of hard work--rescuing lost Zoo history, saving an important building from destruction, reminding folks that the Zoo is in the recreational memory-bank of nearly everyone in this state for 115 years! Landing the Zoo’s bathhouse on the... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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Junior Curator Teen Volunteers: Growing Up While Making a Difference

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” Children get that question often as they grow and their answers frequently change through the years. But for the 45 Junior Curator (JC) teen volunteers at the Zoo, their answers are simple and similar, “I want to help animals.” Whether desiring to become a zookeeper, veterinarian or field researcher, some teens decide to begin following their dreams at an early age and essentially “grow up” as JCs at the Zoo. ... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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Walk on the Wild Side: Walking Tours Debut at OKC Zoo!

Immerse yourself in tales of the wild life all around you as our knowledgeable Zoo ambassadors lead you through unforgettable, themed walking tours throughout the Zoo on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays! Priced at only $4 for adults and $2 for children per tour, the Zoo’s newest one-hour guest experience offers four distinct themed tours full of fun, adventure and excitement.   First, Pick Your Tour! Cram all the fun of all four tours into a full day of... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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Re-growing Limbs: The Superpower of the Axolotl

Axolotls, or Mexican salamanders, are a fascinating amphibian species that in the wild, lives only on the southern edge of Mexico City in canals and wetlands. But you can see one in the OKC Zoo’s Herpetarium!    In general, amphibians are hatched from eggs as aquatic larvae (called tadpoles in frogs, a relative of the axolotl) and then undergo stages of body transformations until they reach their adult form. Axolotls are different  in... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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Seeing Double? The Curiously Strange Four-Eyed Fish

How can a four-eyed fish have only two eyes? While commonly named the four-eyed fish, this species of fish actually only has two eyes. However, their eyes have developed in a way that actually enables them to see above and below the water’s surface at the same time. Unlike most round eye pupils, this fish species has hourglass shaped pupils. This adaptation helps them avoid both aerial and aquatic predators. Strangely enough, this interesting adaptation is not the only unique... Read More
at Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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The Return of Beloved Mold-A-Matic Animal Souvenir Machines

Refurbished Machines Enable Families to Share Zoo Memory with New Generation Just in time for the spring and summer rush, the Zoo has installed five  MOLD -A-MATIC souvenir machines for guests to discover and share. Originally appearing in the Zoo in the early 1970s, these popular machines became a guest favorite for their ability to produce a miniature animal replica behind a plexiglass window within 60 seconds.  After several decades, the machines deteriorated from extreme... Read More
at Wednesday, May 3, 2017
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Guest Perspective: Our Elephant Wild Encounter was a Dream Come True!

The Oklahoma City Zoo is a place that my family and I have always enjoyed. My first trip to the Zoo was in 1998 when I was about six months old and I have been visiting ever since. The Zoo recently added something new called Wild Encounters! I was very intrigued by this. After researching, I found that guests get behind-the-scenes interactions with some of the amazing animals that call the Zoo their home. I was so excited to see what this was all about, so I signed up my 11-year-old sister,... Read More
at Wednesday, May 3, 2017
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