The Tulsa Zoo broke ground on the new Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve on June 22, 2022. It will be one of the largest AZA facilities of its kind in North America and allow Tulsa Zoo to provide world-class care for elephants at all stages of life. Additionally, the zoo will be adding 10 acres for the elephants to free roam. The facility will be completed in 2024.
“We’re thrilled to begin construction on what will be one of the top AZA facilities in the country,” said Tulsa Zoo President and CEO Lindsay Hutchison. “We believe the new Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve is going to change the way people view elephant care by allowing us to meet the individual physical, mental, medical and social needs of our elephants.”
The new state-of-the-art elephant barn will be more than 36,000 square feet and will include the addition of natural substrate flooring, which is ideal for foot care, as well as a rain control system, wet stalls and a full kitchen, which will give keepers and staff greater capabilities while preparing meals for the herd.
Tulsa Zoo also plans to renovate the existing Elephant Interpretive Center to allow guests to experience an up-close view of the elephant experience. An elevated deck will allow visitors to see and experience what is happening in the barn.
“We kept the promise we made when we started the public-private partnership and are creating a bigger, better Tulsa Zoo,” said Hutchison. “We’ve completed more than $36 million in master plan and infrastructure projects zoo-wide and we plan to complete almost $60 million more for the master plan’s second phase starting with the Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve.”
The Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve is possible due to the help of the following project partners: The Oxley Foundation, City of Tulsa taxpayers, Vision 2020, Nabholz, ONEOK, Selser Schaefer and WDM. Special thanks to the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation for the generous grant that made the 20-year Master Plan possible.
Oxley Family Elephant Experience and Elephant Preserve Renderings
Learn more about our 20-year Master Plan at buildingbeyond.org