As Oklahoma’s most popular attraction and a global leader in animal wellbeing, conservation, and research, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is proud to announce its new master plan created to guide the Zoo’s growth for the next decade and beyond.

The OKC Zoo engaged SHR Studios of Bainbridge Island, Washington, a planning and design firm specializing in zoos and aquariums, to create a comprehensive plan that manifests the Zoo’s mission to connect people to wildlife and wild places through engaging, innovative, and sustainable advancements. The new master plan focuses on multiple components including a world-class reptile and amphibian preserve with both indoor and outdoor capacity for species from around the world, improving guest accessibility and experiences by reimagining the heart of the Zoo as a central gathering space, and renovation of some of the Zoo’s most popular habitats including Oklahoma Trails, Great EscApe, and the Children’s Zoo.

“With the recent opening of Expedition Africa, the arrival of five lion cubs, and our centennial celebration at Lincoln Park, I’m excited to keep this momentum going with the announcement of our new master plan,” shared Dr. Dwight Lawson, OKC Zoo’s executive director/CEO.

“This 10-year plan, informing Zoo construction from 2024 to 2034, is perhaps the most ambitious in the Zoo’s 122-year history,” added Lawson. “The plan outlines multiple construction projects that will modernize some of the Zoo’s oldest structures into immersive habitats that provide superior animal care and guest experiences.”

The Zoo’s last master plan was implemented in 2018 and successfully directed the vision of projects including Sanctuary Asia, a Galapagos tortoise habitat, Predator Pass, Wetlands Walkway, Raptor Ridge, and most recently Expedition Africa. Conclusion of this master plan will be celebrated with the opening of a brand-new marine mammal habitat, Shore to Sea, that will be home to the Zoo’s California sea lions, harbor seals and African penguins! This enhanced space will encompass 3.5 acres in the eastern section of the park overlooking Zoo Lake and is slated to open in 2027.

Total investment for the Zoo’s 2024 master plan is estimated between $115M and $230M, allowing for the flexibility to pursue portions of a project or the entire scope based on needs and finances. Funding for master plan projects will come from a combination of private fundraising efforts combined with possible historic tax credits, and funding from a dedicated 1/8-of-a cent sales tax, approved by Oklahoma City citizens in 1990. As with all long-term plans, the size, timing and feasibility of some projects are subject to change.

For updates and progress on master plan projects, fans are encouraged to follow the Zoo’s social channels @okczoo.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Through Labor Day, Monday, September 2, the Zoo is open daily at 8:30 a.m. for ZOOfriends with current memberships. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at and avoid the entry lines. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, and Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Zoo admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

Membership has its perks! As a ZOOfriends member of the Oklahoma City Zoo, enjoy free admission all year-long, plus many additional benefits and discounts. You will also be supporting the Zoo’s animal family, education programming and conservation initiatives both locally and globally. Join or renew today at

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