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Posted by Diana Jones on 07/01/2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                  June 29, 2011


Tara Henson: (405) 425-0219, (405) 919-9038, cell or [email protected]

Candice Rennels: (405) 425-0298, (405) 412-6172, cell or [email protected]



From taking tickets at the front gate, to corralling kangaroos and dealing with “flighty” animals - the career of a zoo keeper is always interesting! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden recently recognized Darcy Henthorn, Curator of Birds, Antelopes and Children’s Zoo, for 30 years of service.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Darcy closely over the years, and have a lot of respect for her and her excellent work as an Animal Curator,” said Dwight Scott, Oklahoma City Zoo Executive Director/CEO.  “Darcy has an incredible work ethic, and she is an inspiration to others in the way that she continues to learn and grow.  We would not be the top-notch facility that we are today without Darcy’s leadership.”

Although she began her first full-time position at the Zoo in 1981, she started working at the Zoo as a cashier in the front ticket booth in 1979. She was 25 years old and fresh out of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Wildlife Biology. As there were no animal keeper positions open at the time, she took a part-time seasonal job (hourly wage was about $2.75/hour) as a way to get her foot in the door.

It worked! In 1981, Henthorn began her job as an Education technician. She has since worked as an Education Coordinator, animal technician and senior animal technician before accepting the position of Animal Curator in 2003. As a curator, she manages and coordinates the staff and animals in the areas under her care, assisting with procedures and care when needed. Animals in the collection she manages include most of the birds in the Zoo, the Children’s Zoo animals, and the animals in the antelope area which include bison, hoof stock and small carnivores.

“I started here working with the people, spent 20 years working with the animals and now I work more with the people again,” Henthorn said. “It’s been a great career for me!”

Among the favorite animals she has worked with include the Andean condor and various species of cranes. Henthorn is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Andean condor Species Survival Plan (SSP) committee, which makes breeding and conservation recommendations for the species. She also sits on the  AZA Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) committee for Gruiforms, a family of birds that includes cranes, rails and other birds.

“The best part of my job is that I have always loved what I do,” Henthorn said. “I look forward to coming to work every day and each day is slightly different from the day before. I have had the privilege over the last 30 years to work with some of the rarest animals on Earth, and the honor of working with some of the greatest people I will ever meet. “

Henthorn is a resident of Moore, Oklahoma, where she lives with her husband Roger and daughter Claire.

Come on, the wild is calling! Oklahoma’s #1 attraction and one of the top three family-friendly zoos in the nation, the Oklahoma City Zoo is located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35 in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Zoo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily. Saturdays through September 3, the Zoo will remain open until 8 p.m. All guests must leave the park at closing time. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages three-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Are you a Zoo fan?  Find us at To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit


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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.

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