In 2017, the Tulsa Zoo will begin offering its visitors a glimpse into the lives of rare and elusive species from all across Asia in its brand new exhibit, Lost Kingdom. As the first major new exhibit to open at the zoo in over 15 years, Lost Kingdom will add a plethora of new species and experiences to the zoo’s offerings.
The Lost Kingdom, which will span a three-acre footprint at the zoo, will most prominently feature close-up views and encounters with two iconic big cat species: Malayan tigers and snow leopards. In the tiger habitat, the zoo’s Malayan tigers will have an expansive exhibit to explore, and guests will have a variety of new ways to view the cats. One noteworthy element of the exhibit will be an overhead bridge allowing the tigers to climb over guest pathways. The bridge will offer enrichment to the tigers by allowing them to observe the guests from overhead, and the guests will be able to see the tigers from a rarely-seen angle. The tiger habitat will also be adjacent to a brand-new, unique dining experience. At the new restaurant, guests will be able to enjoy their meals while also looking out at the tigers through a large panel, which may lead to some fascinating encounters!
The centerpiece of the expansion will be a large viewing gallery inspired by the ancient temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. As guests approach the temple, they will find a gibbon habitat on their left, and a Komodo dragon exhibit on their right. Once inside the temple, guests will encounter additional viewing of the gibbons, Komodo dragons, and Malayan tigers, as well as an exhibit showcasing Chinese alligators. Across from the temple entrance will be another small exhibit complex that will be home to red pandas, binturongs, and an aviary.
The snow leopards in the exhibit complex will be located on the opposite side of the temple in an area designed to emulate the scenery of the Himalayan region of Asia. The snow leopard exhibit has been designed to include many rock formations and slopes, which reflects the snow leopards’ natural rocky mountainous habitats in central Asia. There are plans for training interaction walls at the big cat exhibits as well, which will allow guests to see natural behaviors of the cats as well as husbandry behaviors used for their healthcare.
The Lost Kingdom was designed by PGAV Destinations, an architecture firm in St. Louis, Missouri, and it is the second phase of the zoo’s “Building Beyond Your Wildest Dreams” master plan. The master plan was adopted in 2012, and it lays out the zoo’s capital projects for the next 20 years. Below, check out a concept video of the project: