OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A popular area at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is getting a facelift.

Organizers say construction is underway for ‘Expedition Africa,’ which is the zoo’s latest and largest habitat expansion project to date.

The exhibit will transform 12-acres right in the heart of the zoo.

Once the exhibit is complete, it will house:

  • Common Eland
  • Flamingos
  • Gazelle
  • Giraffe
  • Honey Badger
  • Meerkats
  • Mongoose
  • Naked Mole Rat
  • Okapi
  • Ostrich
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra.

‘Expedition Africa’ features a new state-of-the-art giraffe barn that will offer indoor viewing areas year-round.

It will also feature a complete reimagining of the pachyderm building, which will feature new habitats, a children’s play zone, a private event space, and a deck overlooking the giraffe savannah.

At the deck, guests can also feed the gentle giants.

  • OKC Zoo Expedition Africa rendering
  • OKC Zoo Expedition Africa rendering
  • OKC Zoo Expedition Africa rendering

Organizers say Bank of Oklahoma was able to buy out tax credits and free up $4 million in liquidity to allow the zoo to make improvements to the historic Love’s Pachyderm exhibit at Expedition Africa.

“Bank of Oklahoma was generous enough to donate to Expedition Africa, our new exhibit opening this summer,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, Oklahoma City Zoo’s executive director/CEO. “And in those conversations, we shared that we needed some professional guidance navigating a historic tax credit on our pachyderm building which was constructed in the 1960s and is on state and national historic registries. Bank of Oklahoma was quick to pull together the expertise needed to come to the table with a solution that would allow us the flexibility to move forward.”

“Essentially, Bank of Oklahoma was able to buy or absorb these tax credits and thereby provide the Zoo with additional liquidity they needed to make the most of this project,” said Greg Wheeler, Bank of Oklahoma’s OKC market CEO. “We saw this as an investment into our city, and into a piece of OKC history, and were thrilled to learn that renovating this facility meant additional job creation and community education programs. The pachyderm building will continue to be an OKC Zoo landmark that will create memories for many future generations in OKC.”

The area is expected to open to the public this summer.