Join us in celebrating the Oklahoma Aquarium’s 20th anniversary by being a part of our 20 for 20 Capital Campaign! We are raising 20 million dollars for exciting new projects in honor of our 20th year. Scroll down to learn more.
How Can You Support Our Research Efforts?Donate
The Oklahoma Aquarium is more than a world-class aquarium with more than 10,000 animals. It is also an aquatic research facility pioneering shark and coral research. Your donation will help us document, explore, and expand our research – saving human and shark lives and vital coral reef systems.Learn More
How Can You Support Our Education Efforts?Donate
The Oklahoma Aquarium exists to educate and inspire the conservation of our aquatic world through interactive discovery, and hosts approximately 30,000 students and 400,000 guests every year. Your donation will help us develop and expand even more educational experiences to our guests, and bridge the socio-economic gap through free fields trips to schools through our Fish Friends Scholarship Fund.Learn More
Sustainability actions and messaging are a priority for the Oklahoma Aquarium. We partner with The Sustainability Alliance to track our sustainability actions and to help bring awareness to sustainability issues. As we encourage a sustainable lifestyle, examples like our pollinator garden show how easy sustainability can be. The pollinator garden will utilize native flowering plants such as milkweed and coneflower which are beautiful and attract many butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. In addition to the garden, there will be walking paths and informational signs that explain how important pollinators are to supporting healthy ecosystems and allowing us to grow diverse crops that we rely on daily. In addition to the beauty the garden brings to the aquarium's outdoor spaces, and the messaging for the public, it also serves as a Monarch Way Station.
Despite being landlocked, Oklahoma has more miles of shoreline than the East and Gulf coasts combined! As a result, the state's rivers, lakes, ponds, and swamps are home to more than 175 different fish species. Our most extensive gallery, Aquatic Oklahoma, is home to many of the fish species found in the state. The newly remodeled gallery will showcase the various aquatic habitats in Oklahoma, many of which are sport fishing destinations. Each area will include engaging graphics explaining the importance of conserving our marine resources and the locations of our ever-popular sport fishing destinations.
The new immersive Aquatic Oklahoma gallery will inspire guests to get out and experience the 11,000 miles of shoreline our beautiful state offers.Click here to see more
Aquatic Research Center
Not only is the Oklahoma Aquarium a world-class aquarium, caring for 10,000 animals, it is also an aquatic research facility conducting cutting-edge shark and coral research.
Bull sharks are widely considered the most dangerous in the world. As home to the world's largest collection of bull sharks and the only one in the western hemisphere, Aquarium researchers have worked with many notable partners. Research with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helped to test and develop shark-proof and shark-deterrent technologies.Click here to see more
Shark and Stingray Touch Tank
The Oklahoma Aquarium team is very excited about the expansion of the Shark and Stingray Touch Experience. Not only does the interactive nature of the exhibit provide long-lasting positive effects on a child's interest in STEM fields, but there is also the opportunity to provide a Stingray Therapy Program with assisted entry. Stingray therapy can potentially offer various benefits for individuals with special needs and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here are some ways in which a Stingray Therapy Program may benefit individuals with special needs and PTSD:
1. Exposure to a calming and natural environment: Being in the water with stingrays, observing their graceful movements, and being surrounded by the marine environment can create a calming and serene atmosphere. Exposure to a peaceful natural setting may help individuals experience relaxation and tranquility.
2. Distraction and positive focus: Engaging with the stingrays and observing their behavior can provide a positive focus and distraction from intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or anxiety associated with PTSD. Redirecting attention towards the interactions with the stingrays can temporarily shift the individual's focus away from their symptoms.
3. Cognitive stimulation: The program can offer cognitive stimulation through educational components. Participants can learn about stingrays, their behaviors, and the marine environment, promoting curiosity, exploration, and learning.
4. Increased self-confidence and self-esteem: Successfully participating in a swim with the stingrays program can enhance individuals' self-confidence and self-esteem. Overcoming fears, trying new experiences, and achieving personal goals can contribute to a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.
5. Socialization and communication: Participating in the program alongside peers and interacting with aquarium staff encourages socialization and communication. It provides opportunities for individuals with special needs to practice social skills, turn-taking, and non-verbal communication.
6. Sensory engagement: Interacting with stingrays provides sensory stimulation, including visual, tactile, and auditory experiences. The sensation of swimming in the water and feeling the gentle movements of the stingrays can engage various senses and help individuals ground themselves in the present moment. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with sensory processing difficulties, helping them develop sensory integration skills.
7. Connection and emotional support: Building a connection with animals, such as stingrays, can offer emotional support and a sense of companionship. Stingrays are generally known for their gentle and docile nature, which can help create a safe and non-threatening environment for individuals.
8. Motor skills development: Swimming and interacting with stingrays requires coordination, balance, and motor planning. Engaging in these activities can support developing and improving motor skills, including strength, coordination, and overall physical fitness.
9. Cognitive stimulation: The program can offer cognitive stimulation through educational components. Participants can learn about stingrays, their behaviors, and the marine environment, promoting curiosity, exploration, and learning.Click here to see more
Outdoor Mammal Exhibit
The aquarium team is excited to expand our immersive Hayes Family Ozark Stream Exhibit to include outdoor enrichment areas for our otters, beavers, and raccoons. The outdoor area will give our animals even more space to explore and play. This also creates a view of our mammals from an outdoor perspective, enhancing our guests' experience and giving them another perspective into the lives of our amazing Ozark Stream animals. The gallery is an extension of our Aquatic Oklahoma gallery and features the only mammals within the aquarium.
The joy of watching these Oklahoma animals in a natural setting promotes a love of nature and all that Oklahoma has to offer.Click here to see more
Living Coral Wall
Coral reefs are an explosion of color and life in the ocean. They comprise less than .1% of the ocean, yet they are the ocean's most extensive nursery grounds. A quarter of all marine animals start their lives on a coral reef, and 30% of all fish species in the ocean call coral reefs home. Reef systems protect small and juvenile animals and shorelines from the dangerous waves caused by storms out at sea. The value of coral reefs is in the trillions of dollars annually due to the fish caught for us to eat, the protection of our shorelines, and tourism revenue. Globally, coral reef systems have declined by 50%; the Oklahoma Aquarium is in a unique position in the middle of the country to help stop the decline of reef systems by educating people on their importance, beauty, and bio-diversity. An expanded live coral wall will provide a more in-depth look at life on a reef.
Did you know corals fluoresce? Though we can see a little glow without special tools, most coral fluorescence is invisible to the unaided human eye. However, fish can usually see fluorescence, unlike humans, because of the range of wavelengths fish can see. The new coral wall will highlight research done at the Oklahoma Aquarium that shows how fluorescence in corals may help save wild coral reef systems worldwide.
Grouper/Sunken Ship Exhibit (Wreck Monsters)
The sea holds many mysteries. The lure of sea monsters began when sailors had no explanation for large whales, sharks and other fish spotted in the wild. It was easy to mistake these giants for monsters under the surface. Some fish, such as grouper, can grow to be enormous! Goliath groupers are the largest grouper species and can grow to 800 lbs. and live for more than 30 years. They were overfished for years and considered for the Endangered Species Act. Education and appreciation for this fish helped populations to recover. Goliath groupers are found in shallow tropical waters, often near a coral reef system. The new grouper exhibit will be an extension of the Living Coral Wall and feature a sunken wooden schooner where the giant fish will hover in the water waiting for its next meal. The grouper exhibit will provide a sense of awe and wonder, leaving our guests even more intrigued by what lives under the water's surface!
North Pacific and Tidepools Exhibit
The cold North Pacific waters between California and Alaska are home to diverse and abundant sea life. Kelp forests can be found along much of the West Coast, growing approximately 18 inches daily, providing shelter and food for many animals. You will discover tide pools as you travel inshore from the kelp forest habitats. Tide pools form in depressions in the rocks along the coast. At high tide, the pools and animals may be under 20 ft of water. As the tide recedes, animals can become trapped within the pools in as little as 6 inches of water. Animals that become trapped, such as sea stars, urchins, barnacles, abalone, and crabs, are exposed to increased temperature and salinity, low oxygen, and predators. These animals are a fantastic example of how resilient nature can be! The North Pacific and Tidepools Exhibit will feature an expanded tidepool touch area for our guests, allowing them to touch sea stars, abalones, snails, and even shark eggs!
Extreme Fish and Mudskipper Flats Exhibit
The Extreme Fish gallery is ready for a makeover, and the most exciting new exhibit will be the Mudskipper Flats! Among all aquatic life, you'll find fascinating adaptations. Adaptations refer to the unique behaviors and body parts that animals develop to survive in their habitats. These adaptations may involve body shapes, colors, hunting strategies, defense tactics, and/or parental care. Mudskippers are a great example of a unique adaptation; they can walk! They use modified pectoral fins and unique "shoulder" joints to walk, skip, and jump while on land--they can even climb! Mudskippers are also the only fish that can blink. Their eyes can see 360 degrees, and they must keep them moist when out of the water.
Fish that can walk are only one of the extreme fish found in the gallery. Our Extreme Fish gallery is also home to the most venomous fish in the world and the most successful invasive animal ever. The extreme fish collection includes fish that swim upside down, fish that can remain out of the water for four years, and fish that eat with two pairs of jaws!
Jellyfish Touch Tank
The Jellyfish Touch Tank is a new interactive exhibit in our Marvels and Mysteries gallery. We are excited to expand our interactive spaces, allowing Oklahoma Aquarium visitors to touch a live moon jellyfish! Moon jellies are different from other jellyfish species because they have shorter tentacles that do not harm humans. A jellyfish touch tank provides an incredibly unique experience with only five other public aquariums in the country where you can touch a jellyfish.
Interactive exhibits such as touch tanks provide an experience that helps our guests become more excited about science and nature--especially when that experience involves an animal as exciting as a jellyfish!
Atlantic lumpfish, also known as lumpsuckers, are much cuter than their name suggests! Their exhibit is in The Secret World of the Octopus, within our Marvels and Mysteries gallery. The exhibit is inspired by Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the science fiction adventure by Jules Verne. The lumpsucker tank is themed to look like the ship's torpedo room, and walking into the gallery feels like walking into a sunken battleship. The unique animal and backdrop provide a one-of-a-kind exhibit that inspires guests to imagine what lives 20,000 leagues under the sea!