The Tulsa Zoo, which rarely closes, shuts its doors on the third Friday in June. On that day, the staff prepares for its annual “WALTZ on the Wild Side” fundraiser. During the rest of the year, guests can take advantage of exhibits that have been made possible by the money raised during that event, including the Chimpanzee Connection, Elephant Encounter, Penguin Exhibit, Children’s Zoo and the Helmerich Sea Lion Cove.
The Tulsa Zoo has committed itself to enlightening guests and protecting species from around the globe. The zoo cares for African animals such as the Aldabra tortoises, Asian animals including snow leopards, and animals native to the tropical rainforest of Central and South America. In addition to the “WALTZ on the Wild Side” fundraiser, the Tulsa Zoo also hosts events including the 5K and 10K Zoo Run, and the “HallowZOOeen” celebration, in which animals get to dress up and ask each other for candy.
Since its founding in 2005, the 12-acre park has taken in more than 200 active animals from private owners and zoos with limited vacancy. The grounds permeate an aura of familiar and familial care, as all staffers lend their time and knowledge on a volunteer basis. During a single safari jaunt, guests can get acquainted with a range of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles—specific beasts include kangaroos, marmosets, and Amazon parrots. A select group of creatures are also available for high hoof-fiving and fur comparing at the petting zoo. Likewise, because today's Groupon includes four feeding treat packs, all attending guests can shower their most beloved little friends with sweet, sweet non-candycane sustenance.
Founded by Joe Estes as a nonprofit operation, Safari Joe's Reptile World provides a 200-acre sanctuary for more than 250 exotic animals—including lions, leopards, alligators, pythons, and large tortoises—that were unwanted, abused, or neglected. Each week, five to six new animals are donated or abandoned at the facility. Though these animals cannot return to the wild, they receive nurturing care from a cadre of more than 30 volunteers.
While newly abandoned animals remain hidden from view within the sanctuary, the park also boasts exhibit such as Reptile World. This educational, hands-on environment encourages visitors to interact with a slew of exotic animals while learning about protecting each species and their natural habitats.