Please welcome to TDT Laura Ritchhart, blogger at Owasso-based Beach Bum Wannabe. She was nice and generous and long-suffering enough to put together a post on the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks for our reading pleasure. Be sure to drop by her site, y'all - it's one of the few things that makes me feel really sorry that Oklahoma is a landlocked state.
Take it away, Laura!
Photo courtesy Oklahoma Aquarium
We hadn’t been to the Oklahoma Aquarium since it opened in 2001. At that time, some of the exhibits were still being finished up. The other day we finally got around to our second visit, and I want to share with you all the Aquarium has to offer.
Admission is $13.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors and military, $9.95 for children 3-12 and children under 2 are free.
At first the price seemed a little steep, but those prices are really not much more than what it costs to see a movie these days.
Plus, if you have a current fishing or hunting license you can get a $2 discount, and if you think your family will visit the aquarium more than 2-3 times in a year, you definitely should get a family membership, which is only $85/year for a family of 4.
They also have student, grandparent, senior, military, and individual memberships, so there is something for everyone. Memberships not only save money on admission but also have the added benefits of $2 discounts on admission for up to five guests, a 10% discount in the gift shop and discounts on camps and other special events.
Okay, now that we have all the technical mumbo jumbo out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff: The exhibits!
I will have to warn you that I am very rusty on my low light photography skills and going to the aquarium really helped my cause in convincing Big D that I REALLY need a new lens (or perhaps two!) for my camera.
Oh, and if you are shooting in RAW mode on your camera, you may want to remember your extra memory sticks! *sighs* Someday I may have it all together! HA!
There eight different “theme areas” in the Aquarium, with a wide variety of exhibits in each area. The Oklahoma Aquarium has over 200 exhibits in all.
First we walked through the Biodiversity Area, which exhibits various examples of aquatic life. I loved looking at all the amazing and colorful sponges, star fish and sea urchins. They were fascinating. I especially loved this purple sea urchin and pink sea slug. Wouldn’t want to come into contact with either of them, but their colors are so vibrant and fun to look at.
Next was the Adaption area. From my understanding, this exhibit focuses on the fish and sea life that are true survivors. They can change colors and/or take on the appearance of rocks, corral, etc. to camouflage themselves to help them survive.
I find sea life so captivating. In case you couldn’t tell, I absolutely love scuba diving and snorkeling. It truly is another world under water.
The next area we saw was a fairly large exhibit paying homage to the fishes of
Ever heard of “noodling?” It’s the “sport” that drives crazy people to dive under the water and stick their hands into caves and crevices to grab and pull out big flathead catfish – ones like this one:
Um, seriously. What possesses anyone to do this? I should probably ask my brother. He is one of those crazy people.
Or this guy, an Alligator Snapping Turtle. Maybe his old age of 120 years might slow him down a little, though.
Not sure I want to go swimming in the
THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the largest blue catfish in the state of Oklahoma. He is absolutely enormous. How fun would it be to catch him? And then put him back, of course.
In the Oceans Room, Aquarium goers can experience the
I absolutely love the color of this one:
The Ocean Room is also home to the stingray exhibit, where guests can feed and touch the smooth stingrays. They can even feel the back of a small shark, if they dare. Unfortunately, this exhibit wasn’t open while we were there, but I’d visit the Aquarium again, just for that. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the exhibits or shows, check here for the daily schedules.
Just off the Oceans Room is the coral reef. It's a huge tank full of coral and colorful Caribbean fish, including parrot fish, eels, and the biggest porcupine puffer fish I have ever seen. This photo does not do him justice:
There are a couple of benches in the coral reef room so you can sit down, relax and just enjoy watching all the fish. It starts to feel as if you are underwater with them.
Who could forget the Shark Adventure area? It’s home to one of the most unique and impressive shark collections in the world.
The exhibit features a walk-through glass tunnel and dome - it feels like the sharks are swimming all around you. Having these massive, powerful creatures swimming toward you with a mouth full of sharp, pointy teeth and menacing eyes is quite the experience.
Last but not least is the Marvels & Mysteries area. With creatures from the venomous lion fish and piranhas to the freaky octopus and mesmerizing jellyfish swimming around, guests can’t help but leave this room awed by these marvelous and mysterious underwater dwellers.
Staring at all that aquatic wildlife, it was easy for us to work up an appetite at the Aquarium. Grab lunch or a snack at Corkie’s Deli & Grille. The café offers a variety of sandwiches, wraps, snacks, cookies and refreshments.
Wish you could take home the amazing creatures you saw? Check out the gift shop for marine life galore (of the stuffed variety, of course), puzzles, books, apparel and more.
Keep up to date on the events and fun activities offered by the Oklahoma Aquarium by visiting its Web site often.
Museum hours are every day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; the Aquarium stays open until 9 p.m. Tuesday nights. Keep in mind that the last paid admission accepted one hour prior to closing.
I know this post has been long, but there are still 180+ other exhibits I didn’t get to share with you. So, just for baring with me and to encourage you to get in on the fun, too, here is a little something for you.
Our friends over at the Aquarium have generously donated a
Entry deadline is Friday, May 22 at 8:00 p.m.