Stingrays and sharks are coming to the Oklahoma City Zoo next year as part of a new interactive experience for zoo guests.
The zoo trust approved a request for proposal Friday for the construction of a pre-engineered structure that will house the exhibit, which will be near the Canopy Restaurant.
The structure will be prefabricated at a manufacturer and assembled at the zoo.
The zoo, 2101 NE 50, is targeting an early spring opening.
The exhibit will have about 25 rays and several sharks.
Care for the animals will be done by Living Exhibits.
That company manages stingray, shark and bird exhibits at 20 zoos and aquariums throughout the country, including the Tulsa Zoo.
Stingrays are found in most of the world's oceans and are known for their long tails that have barbs on the end for self-defense.
The stingrays on the zoo's exhibit will have their barbs trimmed.
There will be cow nose and southern rays.
“We wanted to have something new and exciting for our guests,” Oklahoma City Zoo executive director Dwight Scott said. “One of the things that we've really learned in our industry is interactive things you can do in a safe manner with your guests and the animals are appreciated.”
There will be an additional $3 charge to enter the exhibit.
“They will be able to put their hands in the water and touch the rays and there will be times throughout the day where guests will be able to purchase fish to feed the rays,” Scott said.
Additionally there will be several species of sharks that will be included in the exhibit, including leopard and bamboo sharks.