Board Approves Master Plan For Tulsa Zoo

Tuesday, March 6th 2012, 7:59 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa Zoo unveiled a new master plan to the Tulsa Park Board Tuesday. The concepts shows what the zoo could look like over the next 20 years. And the Board approves.

Although the Tulsa Zoo is a family favorite, visitors say it could use some new life - and not just of the creature kind.

"Well it's changed some but it's pretty much the same," said zoo visitor Jim Couch.

"I think so I think so. It's kid friendly. But more interaction," said zoo visitor Rebecca Johnson.

For the past year, the Tulsa Zoo brainstormed with a company out of Saint Louis to bring energy to the exotic animal haven.

"When you walk into the zoo, it's actually pretty vacant. At the distance you'll see the chimps but there's not a lot of animal exhibits," said Terrie Correll, CEO of Tulsa Zoo Mgmt Inc.

The goal is to become a world-class zoo. It was determined what was in good shape, what needed improvement, and what needs to be completely replaced.

On the agenda: making the zoo more navigable.

"Right now it's a little confusing and sometimes people miss exhibits.," Correll said.

An artist rendering shows a proposed playground for the chimpanzees, visible from the parking lot.

"People will be able to see that when they enter the zoo. It will excite them for their zoo adventure to come. Also in the African Forest, we'll be installing a zipline," Correll said.

"The Helmerich Sea Lion Cove was recently remodeled. It's a glimpse of the future "Wild Islands," Correll said.

The Wild Islands will have a water park for zoo visitors to cool off on those dog days of summer.

The animals will also be housed in areas themed geographically to their native homes. From North America, to the African Plains.

The $150-million plan will roll out in three phases. The zoo says it will explore all options – from fundraisers to private and public sectors to pay for it.