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Children's Zoo

The Children’s Zoo: Exhibit Facts

Opening:        March 12, 2010

Cost:              $8.3 million construction

Funding:         1/8 of a cent sales tax approved by Oklahoma City citizens in 1990

                       Oklahoma Zoological Society donations

       The Inasmuch Foundation

       The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

       The Potts Family Foundation

Size:               2.5 acres

Architect:       Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Incorporated (MIG), Berkeley, CA

Contractor:     Downey Contracting, Oklahoma City, OK

Location:        Just east of the Main entry plaza.

Inspired By:   The Children of Oklahoma City and surrounding communities.

Concept:         The Children’s Zoo is a place where children can explore, touch, and immerse themselves in a natural environment that will stimulate their imagination, encourage exploration and give them a greater appreciation for nature.

Exhibit Highlights:

  • Kid-Sized and Adult-Sized Entry with explorers greeted by colorful macaws.
  • Barnyard:  Interactive “touch” area with unusual barnyard animals, “Be a keeper” make-believe opportunities.
  • The Waterway: A natural “splash” space for children complete with a waterfall, flamingos frolicking nearby and a koi pond.
  • My Secret Forest: Enchanting climbing areas, thatched huts, plantings and natural play spaces for imaginations to roam.
  • The Underground:  An “underground-like” experience to see the creatures that live in the leaf litter and below: spiders and assorted insects (includes new to the Zoo dwellers.)
  • Explorikeet Adventure: Return of the ever-popular lorikeets, The Nectaurant and added views of the birds (in all weather conditions!)
  • Grandma’s Porch: Overlooks The Gathering Meadow and allows a shady space for visiting, relaxation and Educational programs.
  • Spider and squirrel monkeys are new to the Zoo and have a space for the kids to monkey around, too (on a rope climbing structure just like the monkeys have!)  
  • The Gathering Meadow: Lush, green play area perfect for picnics and play.

The Animal Collection

The Birds                                     

Red and Green Macaw                                          

Like all macaws, Orple is 49 and can outlive humans. According to keeper, Kelly Bass, he screams loudly, flaps his wings, and sways his head about. For this reason, the keepers fondly call him “Ray” after famous musician Ray Charles.    


Blue and Yellow Macaws

Ethel and Lucy are sisters, both hatching on February 10, 2001.  These colorful birds arrived at the Zoo about a year ago. They tend to chew on everything!        



Chilean Flamingos

Pale pink flamingos have long been a favorite animal at the Zoo with kids. While the Children’s Zoo was being reconstructed, the flamingos lived at Island Life. Since they’ve been away, they have added seven new chicks to the flock. 



The ever-popular lorikeets are back. These colorful parrots are active, noisy and fun to feed nectar! The Children’s Zoo is home to seven different lorikeet species.




Underground InvertebratesThe unique creepy, crawly creatures of the Children’s Zoo are all non-native and rm” upon their food. The collection includes:  

  • Cobalt Blue Tarantula                    
  • Flat Rock Scorpion
  • Giant Black Millipede
  • Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula
  • Mexican Red-Rumped Tarantula
  • Tailless Scorpion
  • Tropical Cockroaches                    
  • Vietnamese Centipede                  
  • Vineagaroon

The Monkeys

Black-Handed Spider Monkeys  

These endangered monkeys are quite large. You will see them swinging by their long arms and tails.  Mercury (age 9) came from the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida. Emma (age 4) came from the Bramble Park Zoo in Indiana. Both arrived in October, were introduced to each other and now seem inseparable.



Common Squirrel Monkeys

Squirrel monkeys live in tropical rainforests, where they eat fruits and insects. Ours love blueberries and grapefruit the best. These monkeys are fast, and always prefer to be on the higher, safer branches. All five, each siblings, came from the Philadelphia Zoo. They range in age from two to four-years-old, and are named after hurricanes. The males are Floyd, Hugo and Felix. The girls are Bobbi and Katrina.


The Barnyard Animals

All the Barnyard animals were selected because of their gentleness with children.  They are also special in another way—each one is a rare species. As a member of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the Zoo is helping save farm animals that are now endangered because they might not be considered the best egg or meat producers in the agriculture industry. However, each animal is valuable to the natural world and our cultural heritage, and the Zoo is proud to be part of this conservation effort.


Guinea Hogs

Guinea hogs are small farm pigs that till garden soil and keep snakes away. They are also critically endangered, so the Zoo is pleased to have acquired the pair from our sister zoo in Tulsa. Fergie and Fancy, who are less than a year old, squeal a lot and love food! 


Miniature Donkeys

You may remember Jasmine (age 8) and Pinkee (age 12) from the previous Children’s Zoo.  During construction, they have been residing in the Zoo’s Giraffe area. You might have seen them out and about when keepers took them for walks around the Zoo!


Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Twelve goats (all males) came from a farm in Wayne, Oklahoma. This species is calm around people.  The zoo recently hosted a Name the Goats contest—with a hometown tie. Each goat had to be named after an Oklahoma town so come and meet Gotebo, Norman, Duncan, Edmond, Bixby, Hugo, Perry, Oologah, Bowlegs, Chandler, Dewey and Jet!


Tunis Sheep

Sarabi (age 7) and Tallulah (age 2) came from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. People find these sweet sheep appealing because of their expressive eyes and calm nature. They have long creamy wool and large tails.


Rare Rabbits 

Three rare species of rabbits will be new residents: American White, American Chinchilla, and Silver Fox. Sometimes they are called “blue” rabbits because of the grey silvery sheen. 



As with all the Barnyard species—the chickens are unusual breeds. White Wyandotte Bantams are small, with rose-colored combs. Other species are being considered as well. According to Animal Supervisor, Doug Latham, the plan is to start with a small selection of chickens, and add more if the area can accommodate them.     


EDITOR'S NOTE: Members of the media interested in downloading the official Children's Zoo Press Kit may click here, or visit the "Children's Zoo Press Kit" tab under the "Media" button in the top navigation bar. 

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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

A New Breath of Fresh Air: As of Nov. 1, 2007, state law prohibits smoking inside zoological parks. Please help us abide by this law by refraining from smoking within the Zoo. Thank you for maintaining a smoke-free environment for all living things!