The Tulsa Zoo has been a community asset committed to education and conservation for over 90 years. As the largest daily attraction in our region with over 700,000 annual guests, the Tulsa Zoo is a wonderful place for families to spend time together while learning about how zoos are saving species. The Tulsa Zoo is currently home to over 3000 individual animals, representing 400 species. More than 60 of these are threatened or endangered in the wild.
Since privatization in 2011, Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. has made great progress in rebuilding the Tulsa Zoo through a comprehensive Master Plan that outlined a strategy to not only rebuild the zoo into a world-class facility that our community and animals deserve, but also fix the years of deferred maintenance left over by City of Tulsa management. The first exhibit of the Master Plan, the Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve opened in 2014 setting the gold standard for all future exhibits. The Lost Kingdom Exhibit Complex opened in 2017 and is home to a number of important species including Malayan tigers, snow leopards, siamangs, Komodo dragons, and more. Since its opening, the zoo has grown our membership base by over 4,000 members and our attendance by over 50,000 guests.
The next project outlined in the Master Plan is the $24 million African Wilds: Carnivores that will transport our guests to the wild spaces of the African savannah. The proposed seven acre African Wilds: Carnivores exhibit complex will be the largest exhibit to date built at the Tulsa Zoo. This exhibit complex will feature: lions, African painted dogs, Diana monkeys, meerkats, and a variety of bird species. Pygmy hippos will be introduced for the first time and zebras will make their much anticipated return to the Tulsa Zoo. The complex will be inspired by a “backpacking trip” through Africa, where guests can explore and learn about the animals and the challenges these species face in the wild.
The African Wilds: Carnivores project will also include a complete replacement of our 20-year old playground that incorporates interactive play aspects using educational components as well as adding sensory and handicapped accessible areas currently lacking in our playground. A third train station will include new food service and restrooms and will be added near the Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve to accommodate our expected 800,000+ annual guests in 2021.