HomeAwardsSocial Sector Innovator of the Year 2023 – Oklahoma City Zoo and...

Social Sector Innovator of the Year 2023 – Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the Oklahoma City Zoological Trust

The OKC Zoo and its trust work closely to support Oklahoma’s oldest cultural attraction and its million-plus visitors each year, helping to execute the zoo’s master plan and major projects like newly opened Expedition Africa and upcoming Shore 2 Sea.

Interview with Dr. Dwight Lawson, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens executive director and CEO.

Through this partnership, what is upcoming for the zoo?

This summer, OKC Zoo guests from Oklahoma and beyond can journey to Africa with the opening of its most ambitious project in its history, Expedition Africa presented by Inasmuch Foundation. With fewer than one-tenth of 1% of all Americans ever visiting the African continent, the OKC Zoo has created an immersive experience that presents the wildlife of Africa in a way that inspires visitors to conserve them. This bold 12-acre habitat expansion is designed to engage visitors into a space where they can discover the wildlife of Africa in an unforgettable way. Expedition Africa highlights a new, state-of-the-art giraffe barn that is now home to the zoo’s six giraffes. The enhanced space offers indoor viewing areas of the zoo’s giraffes year-round and feeding opportunities.

Following the opening of Expedition Africa, the OKC Zoo will begin construction on a new marine mammal habitat expansion, Shore 2 Sea. This premier animal habitat will be home to the zoo’s California sea lions, harbor seals and potentially other species. Shore 2 Sea will provide an expanded and enriched habitat for these coastal animals while creating an exciting opportunity for guests to enjoy them from a fresh perspective.


Christie Luther, R.I.S.E. Program Inc.

Brittany Carter-Thomas, Freedom City

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