More than 100,000 Flowering Tulips Create Paradise for Photographers and Selfies


              Spring has officially sprung at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden where waves of yellow, pink, red and purple tulips have begun to bloom throughout the Zoo’s gardens. More than 100,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, irises and hundreds of blooming trees and shrubs are showing their colors as part of ZOO BLOOMS, the Zoo’s first official gardening event since its designation as an accredited living museum and botanical garden in 1998.

              Inspiration for ZOO BLOOMS came from vintage 1909 postcards and photographs of the Zoo’s popular flower gardens which featured beds of tulips and other exotic blooms.  The Oklahoma City Zoo began in Wheeler Park in 1902 and was called the Wheeler Park Zoo, which was surrounded by beautiful, curated gardens.  Due to repeated floods, the Zoo and gardens moved in 1923 to its current location. “It’s easy to find inspiration within the Zoo’s incredible 115-year history but these postcards are really special,” said Dwight Lawson, Zoo executive director/CEO. “Oklahomans have loved the Zoo’s gardens for over a hundred years so creating an annual event to celebrate them makes perfect sense.”

“We’ve strategically planted thousands of bulbs in specific color combinations and patterns to complement the Zoo’s landscape and amaze our guests,” said Barry Downer, Zoo deputy director/COO. While some tulips may only bloom for three weeks, bulbs were selected to ensure new blooms will appear every week in waves of new colors from now through May.

             The unusually mild winter nationwide, combined with little rain locally and hundreds of foraging squirrels, which dig up tulip bulbs, made the fall planting and winter care for four tons of bulbs especially challenging. “Every season has unpredictable variables but the combination of a warm, dry winter with an army of curious squirrels made this year unique,” said Lance Swearengin, horticulture curator. “With the help of hundreds of Zoo volunteers who planted bulbs and the Zoo’s horticulture team that maintains and waters the gardens, we are beginning to see spectacular results.”

              Just as the original gardens inspired Oklahoma photographers over a century ago, guests are encouraged to take photos, post them to social media and tag them with #OKCZOO and #OKCZOOBLOOMS. The Zoo also encourages Oklahomans to share more of their old photos of the Zoo’s gardens over the last 100 years. The Zoo may then respond to and repost select images across its social platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

ZOO BLOOMS is Oklahoma’s largest spring flower event and would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors including Balon Valve, The Oklahoman, Whole Foods, Magic 104, Oklahoma Gazette, Colorblends Wholesale Bulbs, KOKH-FOX 25 and ZOOfriends. ZOO BLOOMS is free to enjoy with paid Zoo admission.

The Zoo is blooming and ready for your best selfie ever! The Oklahoma City Zoo, located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, is a proud Adventure Road partner and a member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums. The Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with exhibit buildings closing at 4:45 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children ages three to 11 and seniors age 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay connected to all things OKC Zoo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.