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Posted by Diana Jones on 05/10/2011



The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden proudly announces the grand opening of the Patricia and Byron J. Gambulos ZooZeum on Saturday, April 9, 2011. Do you remember…Carmichael the Polar Bear, The Monkey Ship or Judy the Elephant? The stories of these iconic Zoo animals and attractions, plus a century’s worth of history, are yours to discover at the new ZooZeum.

Designed into the framework of a 1935 Works Projects Administration (WPA) building, the ZooZeum is located next to the Elephant Pavilion in the new Elephant Habitat. Originally built as a bathhouse it has also served the Zoo as a train barn and storage for Haunt the Zoo for Halloween props in years past. The inside of the ZooZeum has undergone an extreme makeover. New tile floors and stained walls match the granite rockwork to create a comfortable atmosphere. Guests will encounter two galleries: the Main Gallery and the Train Gallery. In each, photo panels and display cases filled with artifacts tell the stories of the Zoo’s past and present. The Grand Opening displays will highlight how the zoo began, the Ostrich Egg Breakfast, elephants at the Zoo, Heiner Ord the Bear and more.

“With over 100 years of stories to tell, these first displays barely scratch the surface. For this reason, we plan to change exhibits frequently, and guests are encouraged to visit often,” said Amy Stephens, Sr. Naturalist Educator and ZooZeum Project Manager.

The only museum of its kind in the country, the new ZooZeum is a place where the public can come and experience the zoological and botanical memories that guests and staff have encountered at the Zoo for over 100 years. 

“As the Zoo continues to grow and change, it’s also important to look back. Giving our visitors an avenue to share their zoo memories across the span of time is a valuable contribution to this community,” said Dwight Scott, Oklahoma City Zoo Executive Director/CEO.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Entry into the ZooZeum is free with Zoo admission. Funding for the ZooZeum was made possible by The Patricia and Byron J. Gambulos Family and the 1/8 of a cent sales tax approved by Oklahoma City citizens in 1990.

Be a part of history. If you have photographs, memorabilia, home videos or a special story to tell about the Zoo, please contact the ZooZeum staff to make an appointment at (405) 425-0250. 

Come on, Zoo memories are waiting to be made. Located at the crossroads of I-35 and I-44 in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District, the Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 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 ages 65 and older. Children two and under are free. Are you a Zoo fan?  Find us at For more information, 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.

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!