New Elephant Habitat

picture of elephant habitat at zoo

Photo by Melissa Willis

Elephant Habitat Facts


Groundbreaking:    September 2009


Grand Opening:      March 11, 2011


Cost:                     $13 million


Funding:                1/8 of a cent sales tax approved by Oklahoma City citizens in 1990; Inasmuch 
                            Foundation ($250,000 for Thai demonstration pavilion); Devon Energy ($115,000 in-
                            kind pipe donation); ZooFriends Memberships ($250,000 minimum)


Size:                     9.5 acres (capable of housing up to 2 bulls, 4 cows & possible offspring)


Architect:              Torre Design Consortium Ltd. – New Orleans, LA


Contractor:            Lippert Brothers, Inc.- OKC, OK


Location:               Southeast corner of the Zoo behind Great EscApe


Inspired By:           
The Zoo’s dedication to the conservation and preservation of elephants in the wild and zoo environments. The need to raise awareness of these magnificent animals and the challenges they face for their survival. The passion of Oklahoma’s citizens who have shown such care and concern for elephants, beginning with the love affair that started with Judy the elephant in 1949. 


Exhibit Description:
The new elephant habitat covers more than 9.5 acres of Zoo real estate. Located in the southeast area of the Zoo by Great EscApe, the state-of-the-art exhibit includes three spacious outdoor yards, pools, a waterfall, shade structures and barn with amenities including views into the barn from a raised boardwalk.


  • Elephant Barn: 15,600 square feet, 8 separate stalls with different configuration opportunities plus a large community stall with sand surface. Radiant floor heating system, raised office with 360 degree view of interior, ambient lighting through windows and skylights and hydraulic-operated animal gates.
  • Bull Yard:  ½ acre with 8 foot deep, 30,000 gallon pool. 
  • Center Yard:  ½ acre between bull and cow yards with the capability to open into the bull yard includes a 4,500 gallon, 2 foot deep pool.
  • Herd Yard: 2.6 acres with a twelve foot deep, 214,000 gallon pool. Waterfall off of barn flows into stream leading into pool.
  • Elephant Pavilion/Amphitheatre: seats 400+ people. Daily routines such as baths, foot care and training sessions will be seen from the pavilion, allowing for interaction with the elephant keepers.

return of the elephants logo

Elephant Habitat Photo Gallery

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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

A New Breath of Fresh Air: As of Nov. 1, 2007, state law prohibits smoking inside zoological parks. Please help us abide by this law by refraining from smoking within the Zoo. Thank you for maintaining a smoke-free environment for all living things!