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Tulsa Zoo Receives Lead Gift for New Tiger Exhibit

TULSA, Okla., October 29, 2012 – The Tulsa Zoo is excited to announce that The Helmerich Foundation made the lead gift to fund the zoo’s new tiger exhibit. In honor of the gift, the Tulsa Zoo named the new facility Lost Kingdom: The Helmerich Tiger exhibit, part of the Lost Kingdom complex.
In addition to The Helmerich Foundation’s gift, the Hardesty Family Foundation also generously pledged a donation to the Lost Kingdom complex. The Hardesty Family Foundation made a contribution as the lead gift for the new snow leopard facility, Lost Kingdom: The Hardesty Snow Leopard habitat. This new exhibit will provide the zoo’s snow leopards a state-of-the-art enclosure, while allowing guests to see the highly endangered animals up close.
Slated to open in 2015, The Lost Kingdom complex will feature an immersive setting, where guests can roam ancient Asian ruins and experience up-close encounters with tigers, Komodo dragons, snow leopards and other species. The Lost Kingdom complex is just one example of the Tulsa Zoo’s progress toward becoming a world class zoo.
“Since entering into a public-private partnership with the city nearly two years ago, Tulsa Zoo Management Inc. has made great strides toward securing the zoo’s future,” said Terrie Correll, CEO of Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. “Our new master plan outlines a comprehensive plan ¬†over a 20 year period to build the world class exhibits that both our community and animals deserve. We are honored that The Helmerich Foundation and other generous donors have communicated their confidence in Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. through their gifts. We look forward to working with them and other community partners to be not only ‘America’s Favorite Zoo,’ but also one of ‘America’s Best Zoos.’ “
Walt Helmerich and The Helmerich Foundation have been the zoo’s largest private donor over the last 25 years. The Helmerich Sea Lion Cove opened in 2012 and was dedicated to Mr. Helmerich’s memory at the grand opening. Other major gifts from The Helmerich Foundation include the Helmerich playground, Helmerich Discovery Center, Tulsa Zoo’s veterinary hospital and the Tulsa Zoo’s African penguin exhibit.
As part of its 20-year Master Plan, the Tulsa Zoo will soon break ground on other projects, including the Mary K. Chapman Rhinoceros exhibit. Slated to open in 2014, the project was made possible by generous donors, including naming rights donor, the Mary K. Chapman Foundation, the lead donor, The Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation, as well as the Cuesta Foundation, Founders of Doctors’ Hospital and the City of Tulsa.
The Tulsa Zoo will continue to fundraise for new exhibits, including the Lost Kingdom complex, construction of which is scheduled to begin in late 2013. Tulsa Zoo plans to fund the Lost Kingdom complex entirely from private donations, while securing both private and public funding for later phases of the Master Plan. The zoo is part of the City of Tulsa’s plans for Vision2 funding and is slated to receive $20 million in capital development. Should the initiative pass on November 6, the zoo’s portion will be used to build the new African Plains exhibit, as well as the African Forest exhibit, featuring chimpanzees and setting the stage for gorillas to be introduced.
To learn more about our master plan and our Building Beyond Your Wildest Dreams Capital Campaign, please visit