According to the zoo public relations, the Oklahoma City Zoological Park is the #1 tourist attraction in the entire state of Oklahoma and it is one of the top three family-friendly zoos in the United States. Found in the city's "Adventure District,'' There are nearly 2000 individual animals representing about 500 different species from around the world. The zoo, which was founded in 1904, features a number of very rare and exotic animals, as well as animals that are native to the United States and to the Oklahoma area.
The animals live at the Oklahoma City Zoological Park on over 110 acres, many of which have been developed to mimic the animals' natural habitats. One of the most popular exhibits at the zoo is the Cat Forest and Lion Overlook. This 4.2-acre natural habitat is home to nine different species of big cats including African lions, jaguars, snow leopards and Sumatran tigers. There are also over 4,000 plants in this area to help the enclosure act as a natural habitat for the cats. Another popular exhibit, called Great EscApe, features families of gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees. In all, there are 18 apes living on 6-acre plot of land.
The Butterfly Garden at the Oklahoma City Zoological Park is another exhibit that many guests find of interest. This area is 20,000 square feet and has more than 15,000 plants that specifically attract butterflies. Some of the butterflies that can be seen in this part of the zoo include Painted Ladies, the Eastern Black Swallowtail, Monarchs, and the Giant Swallowtail. Beside this exhibit, guests can see the Noble Aquatic Center, which has marine life from around the world, including California sea lions and sharks. There are more than 1,500 individual creatures in this part of the zoo alone.
At the Island Life exhibit, visitors can see animals such as the Abaco island boa, the Galapagos tortoise, the Puerto Rican crested road, and the Caribbean flamingo. There's also a herpatarium with over 80 exhibits, including western diamondback rattlesnakes, Egyptian cobras, European fire salamanders, gila monsters, beaded lizards, black tree monitor lizards, smokey jungle frogs, central Brazilian rattlesnakes, tiger rat snakes, bullsnakes, pythons, and timber rattlesnakes. In the nearby pachyderm exhibit, just west of the entrance to the zoo, visitors can see elephants, rhinos, pygmy hippos, and wild birds. A Children's Zoo is planned for 2010, and in 2011, the zoo hopes to open an Asian exhibit.
One of the most unique exhibits at this zoo, however, is the Oklahoma Trail. Covering 8 acres, this exhibit has over 800 individual animals that are native to this state. These animals include black bears, bobcats, roadrunners, Mexican grey wolves, cougars, river otters, flying squirrels, and more. The two most popular animals in this exhibit, however, are Will and Wiley, the zoo's two grizzly bears.
The Oklahoma City Zoological Park is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and admission ranges from $4 to $7, depending on age, with discounted rates for groups of 15 or more. Those interested in learning more about the zoo can call 405-424-3344.