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Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

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United States of America - Oklahoma - Oklahoma City

Institution Code: OHOMA

International Agenda Registration: No

BGCI Member: Yes

About the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

The botanical garden at the Oklahoma City Zoo was established in 1998 through the American Association of Museums accreditation process essentially creating the botanical garden and a living museum. The botanical collection began with over 6,000 permanent specimens from nearly 150 plant families, including over 2,000 species and 23 designated horticultural collections. The botanical garden at the Oklahoma City Zoo encompasses 160 acres of tree canopy, gardens, water bodies, and animal exhibits. This unique and distinctive environment is characterized by the ancient and historic Cross Timbers ecosystem. This ecotone is described as where the eastern Oklahoma deciduous forest meets the mixed grass prairie of western Oklahoma. Stands of Post Oak (Quercus stellata) and Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica) form a dense canopy across the gardens. Many fragments of the historic Cross Timber ecosystem can be seen in ancient pockets of Post Oak groves scattered throughout the gardens and especially in the Oklahoma Trails exhibit. Many champion Oak trees live in the gardens and several are well over 100 years old. Preservation of the historic and ancient Cross Timbers ecosystem in the botanical gardens is of the utmost importance and rehabilitation efforts and a reintroduction program of lost species of merit are currently underway. Understanding the irreplaceable ecosystem that encompasses the garden grounds will benefit the community by accomplishing the prominent responsibility of protecting and restoring this unique ecosystem for the enjoyment and educational opportunities of future generations.

Main Address:
Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden
2101 NE 50TH ST.
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma 73111 United States of America

Telephone: (405) 425-0247
Fax: (405) 425-0215
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Director of Botanical Garden
    Curator's Name: Lance Swearengin, Horticultural Curator
    Plant Records Officer's Name:
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 17
    Educational Staff Number: 7
    Research Staff Number: 1
    Administration Staff Number: 1

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Zoological Institution
  • Status
  • Status: Private: No
    Status: State: No
    Status: Educational: No
    Status: Municipal: No
    Status: Satellite: No
    Status: Trust: Yes
  • Date founded: 1904
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
  • Total Area: 65 Hectares
    Latitude: 35.5230900
    Longitude: -97.4721700
    Annual Rainfall: 928 mm
    Altitude: 366.00 Metres
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden
  • Local Address: 2101 NE 50th St.
  • Locality: City: Oklahoma City
  • Locality: State: Oklahoma

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 100
    Arboretum: No
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: No
    Seed Bank: No
    Published Plant Catalogue: No
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: No
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 1000000
    Number of Volunteers: 30

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 5000
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 6000
  • Special Collections:Living Collections: The botanical garden at the Oklahoma City Zoo has 15 living collections consisting of native, tropical, deciduous, and evergreen flora. To date the botanical garden tracks over 5,000 plant accessions!

    Water Conservation Garden Collection: The water conservation garden is located on the southwest side of the pachyderm building. This garden displays drought tolerant plants and displays the principles of water conservation gardening. This garden exhibit is a coordinated effort between the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, and the Oklahoma State University Extension. The garden serves a strong conservation message regarding our most precious natural resource--water! Check out the water conservation garden, and soak up some information on how you can help save water in your residential landscape.

    Oklahoma Trails Collection: The Oklahoma Trails exhibit contains more than 70 different plant species, totaling approximately 4,000 trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials. The exhibit showcases Oklahoma native plants alongside native animal species. Travel through the 11 ecological regions of Oklahoma starting in the Black Mesa of the northwest and winding down to the Cypress Swamps of the southeast. Educational signs point out Oklahoma native plants along the way. Our zoological horticulturists planted more than 100 trees in the Oklahoma Trails exhibit for the 2007 Tree Banks Foundations’ Centennial Tree Grove program, celebrating 100 years of Oklahoma statehood.

    Butterfly Garden Collection: Located just southwest of the Noble Aquatic Center: Aquaticus and bordered by Zoo Lake on the east, the Butterfly Garden is a 20,000 square-foot exhibit designed especially for some of nature's most delicate creatures—butterflies! As the largest, walk-through outdoor Butterfly Garden in Oklahoma, the garden is a color and texture extravaganza of more than 15,000 plants fashioned to sustain the complete life cycle of the butterfly. Full color, educational graphics are placed throughout the exhibit highlighting the intricacies of butterflies and their importance in the surrounding ecosystems. Because butterflies are attracted to nectar producing flowers; penta, lantana, verbena and coneflower are the primary flowers. However, to entice the butterflies to remain in the area, nearly a quarter of the plants are host plants on which their caterpillar or larva will feed. Other plants include several types of shrubs and trees to give the butterflies wind breaks and a safe roosting place in the winter.

    Dwarf Conifer Collection: This collection is located at the east end of the main parking lot in front of the Rosser Education Building. It showcases unusual types of dwarf coniferous plants.

    Pine Collection: This collection represents both common and unusual pines. It is located next to the Dan Moran Aviary near the front entrance of the Zoo. Four species of pines are native to Oklahoma. They are Ponderosa Pine, Loblolly Pine, Pinyon Pine, and Shortleaf Pine.

    Oak Collection: This majestic collection of mature and thriving oak trees is located in many areas around the Zoo, but the bulk of this collection can be seen through the Oklahoma Trails Exhibit.

    Magnolia Collection: The magnolia collection is located throughout the GreatescAPE exhibit, and displays many unusual cultivated species. This collection is temporarily under construction, but you can still view many of the trees throughout the area.

    Redbud Collection: This collection is located throughout the Zoo, and consists of several unique species including dwarf and weeping species. This collection is temporarily under construction, but you can still view many of the trees throughout the area. The newest selection of Redbuds can be viewed in the main entry global plaza area.
    Cactus Collection: The cactus collection consists of many tropical and hardy cactus species. This collection is available for viewing in several areas around the Zoo with the main body of the collection displayed in Cat Forest near our Jaguar exhibit. This collection is available for viewing from May-October.

    Agave Collection: The agave collection consists of many tropical and hardy agave species. This collection is available for viewing in several areas around the Zoo with the main body of the collection displayed in the water conservation garden southeast of the pachyderm building. This collection is available for viewing from May-October.
    Cold Hardy Palm Collection: Our newest collection showcases palm trees that can withstand our freezing temperatures. This collection can be viewed all over the Zoo with the main body of the collection viewable in the main entry global plaza. Other specimens of merit are throughout the Cat Forest and Great EscAPE exhibit areas.
    Orchid Collection: The orchid collection is currently housed in our production greenhouses.

    Tropical Collection: The tropical plant collection is located outside the Canopy Food Court and exhibits many unusual tropical plants from around the world. This collection is available for viewing from April-October.
    Bamboo Collection: Our bamboo collection is one of the largest displayed collections of hardy bamboo in Oklahoma. It is located in the Cat Forest and Great EscAPE exhibit areas.

    Flowering Bulb Collection: This garden collection contains over 30,000 specimens of flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocus, narcissus, iris and ornamental alliums with peak bloom time occurring throughout spring. The flowering bulb collection can be seen throughout the zoo grounds and includes a large display of naturalized and fragrant spring and summer flowering bulbs as well as many antique varieties.
  • Invasive Species Monitoring: Yes
    Invasive Species Policy: Yes
    ABS Policy: Yes
    Plant Collection Policy: Yes

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Medicinal Plant Programme: No
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: No
    Reintroduction Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Biotechnology: No
    Plant Breeding: No
    Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Conservation - Genetics: No
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: No
    Ecology: No
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: No
    Exploration: No
    Floristics: No
    Horticulture: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: No
    Molecular Genetics: No
    Pollination Biology: No
    Restoration Ecology: No
    Seed/Spore Biology: No
    Systematics and Taxonomy: No
    Sustainability: No
    Pharmacology: No
    Agriculture: No
    Land Restoration: No
    Urban Environments: No

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: Yes
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: No
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: No
    Courses for School Children: No
    Courses for University/College Students: No
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes