Tulsa Zoo breaks ground on largest elephant preserve in the country

Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve ground breaking June 22

TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Zoo broke ground on the Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve Wednesday, which will be one of the largest elephant preserves in North America.

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Since 2011, the zoo has completed more than $36 million in master plan and infrastructure projects zoo-wide and they plan to complete almost $60 million more for the master plan’s second phase.

Phase 2 includes:

  • Helmerich Playground
    • now open
    • $3.2 million project
  • African Wilds: Carnivores
    • break ground in 2022, open in 2024
    • moving into construction document phase
    • replaces 1960′s cat grottos at the back of the zoo
    • largest expansion in African section of the zoo at seven acres
    • $29 million project, donations still needed
  • Oxley Elephant Experience
    • break ground June 22, 2022
    • open new barn in 2023 and Oxley Family Elephant Experience in 2024
    • $31.1 million project, donations still needed

The zoo’s plans for the elephant exhibit are driven in part by an elephant welfare study, to provide more acreage to allow for larger herds of elephants. The Tulsa Zoo is currently home to three elephants. This expansion would allow them to house ten or more, which means multiple herds that can interact.

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The ten-acre experience will give guests an close-up view from the facility and an elevated deck to see inside the barn as well.