We appreciate the community’s support as the Tulsa Zoo becomes the world-class destination and educational facility that our citizens deserve.
Did you know the Tulsa Zoo is committed to matching every public dollar with private dollars?
More and more private donors require public funding to be in place before committing their dollars. Public funding gives our private donors confidence that the community wants the zoo to remain and to thrive. The zoo has a long history of matching public dollars we receive with private dollars. For our Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve, as an example, the zoo raised three dollars for every public dollar.
2019 Third Penny
The zoo is seeking $12 million in infrastructure improvements as part of the upcoming third-penny extension. Pursuit of public funding such as this was envisioned when the zoo entered into the public-private partnership with our owner, the City of Tulsa.
Tulsa Zoo Parking Lot Expansion
The zoo currently has 687 parking spots, which fill up when we have more than 3,500 guests. Special events and fundraisers like HallowZOOeen can draw more than 5,000 guests. Attendance on a pretty weekend day can range from 5,000 to 7,500, or more. During Spring Break, we easily reach 10,000 a day.
At our current attendance, we typically exceed parking lot capacity on more than 20 percent of our business days. The larger lot will accomplish the following:
- Expand for our future. The new lot will have 2033 total parking spaces. The zoo continues to grow and with an expected 800,000 annual guests by 2021, we need a larger parking lot to accommodate increased attendance.
- Safer environment for our guests with designated walkways, repaved parking lot, and new storm sewer modifications. This includes a designated area that is designed for unloading/loading school groups. The new parking lot will also allow the zoo to install new light poles and camera systems for guest safety.
- Help with traffic on Sheridan that impedes business access during Spring Break and other high attendance days. Traffic currently backs up when zoo guests cannot quickly park and have to find parking in other areas of Mohawk when the zoo lot is full.
In addition to the guest parking lot, staff parking areas are also exceeding capacity and are in need of expansion, repaving and overall updates.
Park Booth Enhancements
The Tulsa Zoo experience begins at the front door. The improved entry sequence will streamline arrival and parking as well as create a positive impression for our 700,000 plus guests that enter the zoo every year.
The current park booths are out-of-date. Their present location and distance from the zoo’s parking lot and admission gates makes the installation of security features, internet access and camera systems prohibitive. Moving the booths closer to the new parking lots and new admissions area during the expansion of the lot will increase safety and services for staff and guests.
We will provide more details as we learn more together about plans for the third-penny extension and how you can help support your zoo’s continued success.
Thanks to your support through Vision 2025, your zoo will be able to:
- streamline guest entry to accommodate our projected growth, from the current 700,000 annual visitors to one million by 2025
- expand our elephant exhibit to meet evolving standards of care and herd management
In return, Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc., will be responsible for ongoing operations and maintenance through earned revenue and our operating budget. And we’ll build on our proven fundraising success.
You can learn about the Vision 2025 extension proposal by visiting www.visiontulsa.com.
Improve our Tulsa
Your Tulsa Zoo was included in the 2013 capital improvements package to fund much-needed repairs to the City of Tulsa’s infrastructure. Your vote yes provided vital funding for exhibits that help the zoo thrive and continue contributing to our community. You can learn about the full city funding package by visiting www.improveourtulsa.com.
The zoo received $11.75 million to partially fund replacement of what we call the big cat grottos, home to our tigers, lions and snow leopards. These exhibits can no longer be repaired or upgraded and are marked for demolition. We used $3.75 million toward building new tiger and snow leopard exhibits, and will use $8 million for a new carnivore exhibit, featuring lions.