Conservation Through Education
The Oklahoma Aquarium is a public not-for-profit aquarium dedicated to the mission, “Conservation Through Education.”
More than 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, yet the thousands of fish and other other aquatic life forms in our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, and the critical roles they play in the overall health of our planet are largely mysterious. The Oklahoma Aquarium founders, staff, volunteers and supporters believe knowledge is the key to preserving our resources. Our mission statement, sums up that belief.
Through enlightening exhibits, educational programs and up-close, sometimes hands-on encounters with aquatic life, it is hoped visitors come away from the Oklahoma Aquarium with a greater understanding and appreciation of the many fish, sharks, corals and other species that inhabit our world’s waters.
The Oklahoma Aquarium opened its doors to the public on May 28, 2003, but the facility became a dream and a passion for founders Dr. P.R. Ramey and Doug Kemper in 1984. From an idea literally drawn on a napkin, the Oklahoma Aquarium weathered many trials through building support and fundraising until the vision of Jenks city leaders led the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation to settle on a plot of land on the west bank of the Arkansas River.
The Oklahoma Aquarium has proven to be a catalyst for development on both the Jenks and Tulsa sides of the river and a strong driver for Oklahoma tourism. But it is the educational value that is the greatest asset to the state and region. With nearly a half million visitors a year, including thousands of school children, the Oklahoma Aquarium staff, volunteers and leadership fulfill our mission every day.
The Oklahoma Aquarium operates under a management agreement with the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation (OAF), a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization, and the Jenks Aquarium Authority (JAA), which is responsible for the administration of finance and operational issues. The OAF is comprised of approximately 30 community leaders from various businesses, interests, and backgrounds. Long range and strategic planning, fundraising, development, and the general well being of the Oklahoma Aquarium are discussed and voted upon during OAF meetings.
The JAA is a seven member public trust comprised of OAF Board members and Jenks elected officials. The Aquarium Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director is responsible to the JAA and OAF and oversees and directs daily operations through a comprehensive Aquarium management team. The Deputy Director and Curator lead daily efforts to care for the existing collection and exhibitry. These talented individuals also develop and direct construction of new exhibits and lead research projects.Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation Board of Directors Jeff Bonds – Jeff Bonds Consulting Teri Bowers – Executive Director Pattie Bowman - Community Volunteer Michael Cooper - AT&T Paul Eads – Community Volunteer Jerry Floyd – River Spirit Casino Martin Garber - Garber & Associates Kevin Gore – BKD, LLP Dason Gwartney – Premier Consulting
Steven D. Hendrickson - The Boeing Company Jeremy Johnson - Bank of Oklahoma Chuck Kelley – ONEOK, Inc. Lloyd Landreth – Landreth Law Firm Lynda Burris Linscott – Of Counsel Blake Messer - Grant Thornton, LLP Keith Montgomery - Williams Co. Lisa Nichols - Community Volunteer Shawn Orth – Flint Energy Services, Inc. Marco Placencia - Equitas Realty Advisors, LLC Don Pettus – Guardian Industries Mike Pregler – Community Volunteer Dr. P.R. Ramey – Chair Emeritus Peter Regan - Devonshire Law, LLC Marellie Robinson – TX-OK Kiwanis Joshua Roby – Firstar Bank Harvie Roe – AmeriTrust Corporation David Sartin - AEP-PSO Jennifer Shoulders - Community Volunteer John Sieler - Aquarium Volunteer Jan Skinner – Aquarium Volunteer Derek Smithee – Oklahoma Water Resource Board Linda Stoesser - Aquarium Volunteer Stephen Sutton – SpiritBank Tiny Tomsen – NatureWorks , Inc. Francisco Trevino - Hispanic Chamber of Tulsa James White - Arvest Bank Fred Wightman - Community Volunteer Jenks Aquarium Authority Sally Bisel – Trustee Teri Bowers – Chief Operating Officer Greg Bowman — Trustee Paul Eads – Trustee Kevin Rowland - Vice-Chairman Joshua D. Roby – Trustee Harvie Roe – Trustee Lonnie Sims – Chairman Mike Tinker – General Manager Jenks City Council Sally Bisel – Councilwoman Greg Bowman – Councilman Kelly Dunkerley – Councilman Kevin Rowland – Vice-Mayor Mike Sharp - Councilman Lonnie Sims – Mayor Joshua Wedman – Councilman