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  • Tulsa Zoo and Living MuseumTulsa Zoo and Living Museum Tulsa, Oklahoma
    The Tulsa Zoo and living museum is found in Tulsa, Oklahoma and owned by the city, located on 78 acres in Mohawk Park, which is one of the biggest municipal parks in the nation, opening in 1927. The zoo houses 1500 animals that represent 436 species and is accredited by the AZA and the AAM. It was the nation's most favorite zoo in 2005, and won $25,000 in a contest that was created to promote Microsoft Game Studios Zoo Tycoon 2 computer game. In the same year, it got national attention when a group complained about the mention of evolutionary theory and the inclusion of theories, religious icons and other beliefs in the zoo displays, that included a statue of the Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesha that was part of the elephant exhibition. The park board decided it would add a display on creationism, but then reconsidered and took it away saying that they had a lot of criticism by the public. A newer attraction was unveiled in 1978, that contained four buildings in a complex and has been the recipient of many awards. Each of the buildings represents a part of the North American continent, which include; the arctic tundra, southwest desert, southern lowlands and eastern forest. These displays include the plants, live animals, fossils, Native American relics and minerals. Unusual features contain a simulated earthquake area, a 20,000 shark tank and naturalistic walk-through cave. Another attraction is the elephant demonstrations the happen in a 2.5 acre enclosure that offers an educational experience for visitors, as well as a safe and stimulating environment for the elephants. A state-of-the-art museum highlights the life and history of the Asian elephant via many interactive displays, with visitors watching the elephants in a natural habitat both indoors and outdoors. In the Helmerich discovery center, visitors will view many special reptilian displays that include sunburst diving beetles, Pueblan milksnake, waxy monkey tree frogs, aquatic caecilians and a living reef tank. In the tropical American rainforest, they have created a naturalistic Central and South American rain forest environment with translucent panels that light the canopy of the rain forest and a path that takes visitors through the 50 foot high building. Some of the exotic species are jaguars, black howler monkeys, piranhas, dwarf caimans, sloths and a green anaconda. There is a chimpanzee connection where the funny little monkeys playfully try to attract visitors attention and delight. A California sea lion show happens each day, April through November and the penguin habitat is something special to see and enjoy full of black footed penguins from Africa.  There is an African area, Asian area, children's zoo and Dave Zucconi Conservation center that houses many kinds of animals like primates, reptiles, birds and fish. It also houses some of the endangered species like the flat-backed spider tortoise, spiny turtle, Fiji iguana, radiated tortoise, Grand Cayman Island blue iguana, thick-billed parrots, Bail Myna birds, black and white ruffed lemurs.

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  • Philbrook MuseumPhilbrook Museum Tulsa, Oklahoma
    The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma is the former home of Genevieve and Waite Phillips, who was an oil pioneer and was built in 1927. By 2007, the museum had a staff of 60 and a yearly operating budget of almost $6 million. The Italian renaissance villa was designed by KC architect Edward Buehler Delk in 1926. Construction started the same year and was finished in 1927, originally called the Villa Philbrook, it had 72 rooms, on 23 acres of manicured landscapes. These landscapes include beautiful gardens that were inspired by Villa Lante, the Italian country estate north of Rome that was designed by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola in 1566. Waite donated the villa to the city of Tulsa in 1938, hoping that the estate would be used for cultural and artistic purposes. The elaborate home, with the marvelous spacious rooms, wide corridors and large halls would be the perfect place for a museum and since it was constructed of steel and concrete, renovation was kept to a minimum. In 1939, the villa opened to the public as the Philbrook Museum of Art. In 2009, after going through a difficult rigorous process that took two years, it was reaccredited by the AAM. The museum has an excellent collection from across the globe, that includes one of the best permanent collections of Baroque and Renaissance sculpture and art in the nation. Featuring works from such masters as Gentile da Fabriano, Tanzio da Varallo, Piero di Cosimo, Biagio d'Antonio da Firenze and Bernardo Strozzi. 19th century European artists include Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Americans William Merritt Chase, Thomas Moran and Levi Wells Prentice. The museum is also known for its African and Native American art collections.

January 11, 2011