Special Events All Year!
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for November is:
Top Ten Things We Are Most Thankful For At The Aquarium!
1. From generously donating to the initial opening of the Aquarium to the leading gift to start construction on our new Sea Turtle Experience, The Oxley Foundation has given $1 million in total support.
2. The Aquarium’s largest exhibit, the almost 500,000 gallon Shark Adventure would not have been possible without the amazing ongoing pledge of $1 million from The Siegfried Families and NORDAM.
3. Amazing Invertebrates, Extreme Fishes, Marvels & Mysteries and The Sea Turtle Experience are all generously supported with $550,000 from The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation.
4. Great Plains Coca-Cola provides ongoing support to the Aquarium with their phenomenal donations totaling $525,000.
5. Our 400 amazing volunteers! They provide the smiling faces that greet our guests and make their visits both enlightening and fun.
6. Our newest exhibit, Extreme Amazon, was made possible by AEP/PSO, with total gifts to the Aquarium exceeding $450,000.
7. ONEOK has graciously given $250,000 to support Aquatic Oklahoma and The Sea Turtle Experience.
8. Sharks, Shrimp and Beavers! Cox Communications, Reasor’s, The Hayes Family and The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation have all made generous donations supporting the Cox Shark View Room, the Reasor’s Shrimp Boat and The Hayes Family Ozark Stream.
9. The Aquarium’s Fish Friends Scholarship program allows students to visit the Aquarium who may not otherwise have the opportunity. The Fish Friends fund is generously supported by: The George Kaiser Family Foundation, The Williams Foundation, ConocoPhillips, The Hardesty Foundation, AT&T, and Oskar Singer.
10. And last but certainly not least, the State of Oklahoma and its residents, who have continued to support our mission of of education here at the Oklahoma Aquarium!
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for October is:
Top Ten Creepiest Fish in the Aquarium!
1. BULL SHARK – Along with great white and tiger sharks, the bull shark is one of the most dangerous sharks in the world. We have 15 bull sharks on display and we dive with them on a regular basis, very safely of course!
2. STONE FISH – The stone fish is the most venomous fish in the world. They use their deadly 13 dorsal spines to inject venom into the poor person who steps on them. What’s worse is when the tide goes out, stone fish can stay buried in the sand and out of the water for up to 24 hours!
3. MORAY EEL – Morays have 2 sets of jaws. The first set grabs their prey and the second set comes up from the throat to drag their food down their esophagus.
4. LION FISH – These beauties pack a nasty sting. Lion fish have up to 19 needle like venomous spines. They are typically found in the Indo-Pacific but are quickly invading the Caribbean.
5. PACIFIC SEA NETTLE – The nettles use their impressive tentacles to sting and paralyze their prey. The tentacles have thousands of nematocysts that inject barbs into anything unfortunate enough to brush against them. The barbs then release a painful toxin until they are neutralized.
6. PIRANHA – Piranha have extremely large and sharp interlocking teeth. The scissor like action of their teeth is used to rip and tear the flesh off their prey.
7. SOUTHERN STINGRAY – These rays can grow to more than 200 pounds. Their barb is usually the same length as the distance between their eyes. The barbs are covered in a venomous mucus which can deliver a very painful sting.
8. ELECTRIC EEL – Feared throughout the Amazon, this fish can deliver up to 600 volts of electricity, which is enough of a charge to kill a human.
9. BATFISH – This extremely bizarre fish uses its modified fins to actually walk along the ocean floor.
10. LONG SPINED SEA URCHIN – The spines of this urchin can grow to be 12″ long and will inflict a very painful sting if stepped on!
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for September is:
Top Ten Science and Research Projects!
1. The Aquarium partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop “shark bite proof” lines for mooring offshore weather buoys. Our bull sharks tested different experimental lines to determine which could stand up to the huge bite force of a bull shark.
2. The Oklahoma Aquarium joined with a group of aquariums from around the world to collect blood chemistry data from sharks to allow for better diagnostics. The Aquarium was the sole contributor of bull shark blood data.
3. The Aquarium staff pioneered a new method of applying ozone to improve exhibit water quality. This method is more efficient, less expensive and safer for the animals.
4. Staff at the Aquarium along with Liquid Film Photography identified 40 new species of animals that fluoresce (glow in the dark under blue light). The second shark to ever be recorded as fluorescent, the swell shark, was documented at the Aquarium and photographed glowing bright green! The research was presented at the Regional Aquatics Workshop (RAW) and The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
5. Along with the OSU Zoo and Exotics Veterinary program, staff investigated more stable anticoagulant formulas suitable for the collection of shark and stingray blood.
6. The Oklahoma Aquarium has collected extensive growth and weight data from our population of juvenile bull and black tip sharks. This data was previously unavailable and is extremely important for our understanding of the animals both in captivity and in the wild.
7. Aquarium staff developed protocols to condition our sharks to be better prepared for the stress of handling. This approach has made for easier interactions with the sharks and improved our ability to collect important information through routine animal physicals.
8. Aquarium staff were the first to describe and video document the mimicry of hermit crabs by juvenile cuttlefish. This was presented at a RAW conference and has since been witnessed at other facilities.
9. The Oklahoma Aquarium was the first facility to successfully molt red king crabs in a recirculating salt water system. The molt was caught on video and presented to the aquarium industry at a RAW conference. Our methods have since been used by other facilities to have successful molts!
10. Aquarium staff works daily with Thalassia, our young green sea turtle, to insure her high quality of life despite being the victim of a boat strike. Although unreleasable into the wild, through continued rehabilitation, Thalassia shows few signs of her injury!
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for August is:
Top Ten Facts About Sharks!
1. Scientists have proven that some sharks are parthenogenic, which means a female can give birth without ever encountering a male.
2. A group of sharks is called a gam, herd, pod, or our favorite, a shiver.
3. Bull sharks are found in all warm oceans and some rivers and lakes. Bull sharks have adapted to spend time in fresh water, in fact, they have been found in the Mississippi River as far north as Illinois.
4. The largest fish in the world is the whale shark. They grow to 46 feet long and give birth to litters of 300 live babies. The largest shark eats the smallest food, plankton and krill.
5. The smallest shark in the world is the dwarf lantern shark which only reaches a length of 6 inches. They are called lantern sharks because of their bright bio-luminescence.
6. Galeophobia is the term to describe an excessive fear of sharks. Galeo is Greek for certain types of sharks.
7. Of the more than 400 different species of sharks most are under three feet long and only 10 are considered dangerous to humans.
8. In 2011, scientists confirmed the discovery of the first ever two-headed bull shark in the Gulf of Mexico.
9. In 2005, the first fluorescent shark, the chain dogfish, was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2011, the second species of fluorescent shark, the swell shark, was discovered right here at the Oklahoma Aquarium!
10. The Oklahoma Aquarium is home to 15 bull sharks, the largest collection in the world! Bull sharks are considered by many to be the most dangerous shark swimming our seas. Our staff has been scuba diving with our bulls for 12 years with no incidents. Sharks really don’t consider humans as a food source.
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for July is:
Top Ten Things Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Society (OFS) are doing to protect the ocean!
1. The Ambassadors of the Environment program provides lessons to schools & families to teach about sustainable living.
2. Teacher’s Workshops are held by the OFS and offer 5 day field experiences to learn ecology, sustainable living, etc.
3. Kids Cove videos can be accessed online for free to teach children about our oceans and the living creatures in them.
4. Family Camps are 5 days of learning about the ocean.
5. Dive Adventures are a snorkeling adventure to learn more about the coral reefs & mangroves.
6. AOTE School Programs are a 3 or 5 day course on ecology, culture & sustainability.
7. Ocean Future Society actively helps in oil spill cleanups.
8. Ocean Future Society actively helps in marine mammal rescue & relocation.
9. Yearly auction & regular sales of autographed items raise money for further research & education through the OFS.
10. The OFS conducts regular expeditions to explore & share findings from all over the world!
Jean-Michel Cousteau is an integral part of the daily operations of the Ocean Futures Society and is committed to the idea of “Protect the Ocean and You Protect Yourself”.
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for June is:
Top Ten Things to Love About Aquatic Oklahoma!
1. Living dinosaurs…we have fish in our state that have been swimming in our planet’s waters since the time of the dinosaurs. Sturgeon, alligator gar, paddlefish and bowfin are all primitive fish that have outlived the dinosaurs!
2. There are about 180 different species of fish in Oklahoma, including some relatives of the shark! Paddlefish, sturgeon and lamprey are all cartilaginous fish, having a skeleton made of cartilage, the same as sharks and stingrays.
3. When you think of scuba diving, you don’t often think of Oklahoma, but our state has several clear lakes that provide great diving opportunities. Lake Tenkiller has its own dive park where you can dive wrecked boats, an airplane and even a school bus!
4. Summer isn’t summer in Oklahoma without a float trip down the Illinois River! The beautiful, crystal clear, spring fed river originates in the Ozarks, is named an Oklahoma Scenic River and meanders through Oklahoma and Arkansas. The river provides a perfect summer day to many Oklahomans annually.
5. There are over 200 lakes in the state of Oklahoma, which is perfect for a state where one in four residents is an avid fisherman!
6. Oklahoma is the Noodling Capitol of the World! The art of catching catfish with your bare hands may seem like a new fad, but fisherman have been passing noodling down through many generations.
7. Believe it or not, Oklahoma has 55,646 miles of shoreline along its lakes and ponds, which is greater than the East and Gulf coasts of the continental United States combined!
8. Oklahoma is home to an animal which is second only to humans in how much it alters its environment. It also happens to be the largest rodent in North America, the beaver!
9. Oklahoma is home to many beautiful birds, including the magnificent bald eagle. As northern lakes freeze over in the winter, over 1000 bald eagles head our way, making Oklahoma one of the 10 top winter watching spots in the nation. There are over 100 bald eagles that call Oklahoma home year round.
10. And last but not least, the best aquatic feature in Oklahoma is the Oklahoma Aquarium! Right here in Oklahoma you can see a collection of bull sharks that is the largest in captivity in the world, moray eels, the extremely venomous stonefish and of course, Nemo!
An alligator gar, one of the many prehistoric fish featured here at the Oklahoma Aquarium!
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for May is:
Happy Anniversary to 10 Year Employees and Volunteers!
The Oklahoma Aquarium officially opened to the public on May 28, 2003. Several employees and volunteers have been with us from that date and even earlier, through the construction of the facility. We salute those loyal employees and volunteers who have made the Oklahoma Aquarium the wonderful place it is today!
Talented staff members gather around the newly completed Hayes Family Ozark Stream Exhibit in 2008.
Hugh Henderson is one of our wonderful volunteers that have been with us for 10 years!
Oklahoma Aquarium Deputy Director Kenny Alexopoulos guides a bullshark into its new home in 2003.
Oklahoma Aquarium Assistant Curator Christa Clawson checks on one of our raccoons.
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for April is:
School Field Trip Season – 10 Important Lessons Kids Learn at the Oklahoma Aquarium
1. More than 70% of our planet is covered by water, so protecting our oceans, rivers, lakes and streams is critical to the overall health of our environment.
2. Why is it so important to avoid wasting water? Less than 3% of all water on earth is fresh, rather than salt water, and most of it is frozen in the polar ice caps. So, there is very little fresh water readily available for human use.
3. Phytoplankton, the tiny plant life floating in our oceans, is responsible for generating more than half of the oxygen we breathe through photosynthesis. Clean oceans = clean air!
4. Sharks are not vicious man-eaters, but humans are deadly shark hunters. Each year, sharks are responsible for an average of 5 human deaths while humans kill more than 100 million sharks, often just for their fins to make shark fin soup.
5. A world without sharks would be a world in trouble. Sharks are the apex predator in the oceans, so they are basically the garbage men of the underwater world keeping it clean and controlling overpopulation.
6. 80% of the pollution in our oceans comes from land-based activities.
7. Plastic waste kills hundreds of thousands of fish, sea mammals and aquatic birds every year, so plastic is one of the most important things you can recycle to save a life!
8. Sedimentation is the number one pollutant in Oklahoma. It is caused by erosion from unsafe farming and construction practices. Sediment pollution kills fish and plant populations.
9. More than 3.5 billion people around the world depend on the ocean for their primary source of food.
10. Humans have studied only 1% of our world’s oceans, so there’s no limit to the lessons yet to be learned!
Students study a coral tank during their school field trip.
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for March is:
Some special babies have been born at the Oklahoma Aquarium during our first 10 years, and we’ve helped educate kids and adults on how fish and other aquatic animals often have an unusual start in life. Check out our Splash Break activities highlighting spring and baby season.
Jellyfish are not born the way most babies are, learn about their unique “birth”.
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for February is:
Unusual Underwater Romance
You’ll be fascinated by the amazing ways fish and other aquatic animals find a mate and have babies. Tour the Aquarium to find the ten most unusual romances from cuttlefish who use camouflage to win their woman to anglerfish who mate for life with a truly strong attachment.
Our 10 Year Anniversary Theme for January is:
Top 10 New Features Added Since Opening Day
1. Turtle and Stingray Feed Tanks – Highlighted January 5-6
2. Big Events: Aquarium Run, HallowMarine, Sleep with the Sharks! – Sleep with the Sharks January 11
3. Hayes Family Ozark Stream – Highlighted January 12-13
4. Poison Dart Frogs – Highlighted January 12-13
5. Fish Friends Scholarship Fund – Highlighted week of January 14
6. Siegfried Families Shark Adventure Additions- Featured on Behind-the-Scenes Tours January 19
7. Bronze Alligator and Shark Sculptures- Highlighted January 26-27
8. Reasor’s Shrimp Boat – Highlighted week of January 28
9. AEP-PSO Extreme Amazon – Highlighted February 2-3
10. Social Media Community