Besides language, the only thing that separates us from the animals is the presence of meddling zookeepers. Bypass the minders with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get two passes to G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood (up to a $20 value).
The park rescues abandoned, misplaced, and abused animals while allowing visitors to observe these seldom-seen specimens up close. Passes ($10 for adults, $8 for children) give lay zoologists access to more than 1,400 animals representing 128 species, from lemurs and grizzlies to hyenas and rare Pokémon. Unlike a typical zoo, G.W. Park eschews impersonal glass barriers in favor of grid fences that allow cat lovers to see, hear, smell, and get autographs from majestic lions and tigers. A 3-D tour gives a sense of how intimate the conditions are.
Passes can be upgraded to include the African walkabout tour ($25 for adults, $15 for children) or arena feeding ($25 for groups). The tour takes patrons behind the scenes to parts of the zoo usually off-limits to guests. Learn about your favorite felines as expert anecdotalists relate tales of animals’ backstories, and get first-paw knowledge of cubhood development by capering around with an adorable baby tiger (when available). The arena feeding lets visitors toss cuts of meat to ravenous big cats, who, savage as they are, simply refuse to use silverware.
The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park
Most of the animals at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park were rescued from crueler places than the wild. Many of them came from deplorable living situations, where they were either locked in abusive or neglectful facilities—or flat-out abandoned by owners who were unable to care for them properly. The park gives its wildlife expansive enclosures, along with round-the-clock care and an on-site veterinary clinic. The park's ultimate goal is to prepare its bestiary for homes in worthy zoos nationwide.
This background adds a deeper resonance to tours as guests interact with vivacious animals that show few signs of their prior mistreatment. Fuzzy bear cubs amble across laps, 600-pound tigers graze their whiskers across hands, and camels give slobbery kisses to new best friends. And the park doesn't just provide homes to exotic rescue animals. Visitors will also encounter llamas methodically chewing their cud, chickens strutting across the dirt, and hybrid wolves trying to figure out how to fetch like their dog ancestors.
Named for the late Garold Wayne Schreibvogel, the park stands as a living memorial to his passion for animals and mission to provide them with a safe space where they can thrive. Each animal and habitat honors another life as well: benefactors of The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park are recognized with plaques and signs throughout the exhibits. The zoo also hosts special events throughout the year, such as a dinner and meat-and-greet with Grizzly Adams.