My girlfriend and her mom brought me along on their mini-vacation to Oklahoma with Arbuckle Wilderness as the original destination. After reading the reviews for it, we decided it would probably be a waste of money so we asked the front desk workers at our hotel what attractions there were in the area. We found out about GW Zoo from them, and I'm very glad we did! When we arrived we bought self-guided general admission for $15 per person, which was a fantastic value for the experience! We all got a bag of peanuts to feed the animals for $5 each. Every animal in the zoo loves the peanuts except for the lions, tigers, hyenas, and alligators(the carnivores). In addition to general admission, her mom surprised us with a playtime experience with a baby cub! The playtime experience was the most memorable part of our visit and it was. something I will never forget. We got to play with and take pictures with a beautiful 7 weeks-old liger(lion-tiger hybrid) cub named Morgan. She was absolutely precious! This is irrelevant, but the guide that oversaw our play time experience looked like Chuck Norris. After the playtime experience I continued to have a wonderful time walking throughout the park and taking in the majestic beauty of all the animals. The zoo has many white tigers, which until today I had never seen in person before. They also have the first albino raccoon I have ever seen. I loved all of the animals in the zoo, but the ones I'll remember best(besides Morgan the Liger, of course) were the gorillas. There were 2 gorilla enclosures next to each other. One of them had two gorillas and the other had one gorilla. The two gorillas in the first enclosure were a male who sat up on a raised platform and was was taunting the lone male in the enclosure next to his. They ended up getting very rowdy and noisy while taunting back and forth, and the male in the cage by himself went nuts and threw one of his toys at the fence of the other two gorillas. We were told the second gorilla in the first enclosure was a 65 year old female named Lilly. The thing that made the gorillas so memorable for me was that they would hold their hands outside the cage and catch peanuts as you throw them. I was close enough to see the details of their hands, and it's incredible how similar they are to us. I know they are our cousins and with them we share a common ancestor and 97% of the same DNA, but I never realized just how strikingly similar they are to us. I felt a certain bond with them that felt like kinship. I enjoyed feeding peanuts to all of the other animals in the zoo as well. Although we did not pay for the big cat feeding tour in which we could have fed them ourselves, we still got to the big cats eat turkeys for breakfast. The entire experience I had today was really awesome and I highly recommend this zoo. The only complaint I have is that Joe Exotic is featured too much around the zoo(he's apparently a country music artists and reality tv host, although he looks like an 80's porn star). His face was on most of the items in the gift shop. That doesn't change the experience though. It was a fantastic day and I hope to return there many times to watch Morgan grow!
This place calls itself a conservation rescue organization but is a highly presented as a for profit business. I am okay with for profit business but not one that tries to pass themselves off as a conservation. This place is not family friendly, the tour consist of the "tiger guy" who is full of himself handing out condom and using profanity in front of children! (No kidding!) then he has armed guards escorting you around the tour where you are not allowed to bring any bags, cameras or phones. I will never visit again.
Yes it was hot that day, but still so worth it, I kissed camel, played with a baby tiger and talked to a spitting monkey. It was a blast, all the animals looked healthy and well cared for, the staff was awesome and Joe Exotic was very kind and generous. I wanted so bad to see an albino peacock which they had and it basically roams at free will and I looked and looked for it but could not locate it, but when one of the staff members heard how I wanted to see it, she went out of her way to look and did locate it and came to direct me right to it personally, I was so grateful that she would do that. It was also a very educational experience. I highly recommend it if you are ever in the area.
I hadn't read any good news regarding them in the paper. When I looked at reviews of them at different places, they varied widely. I figured the only way I would know for sure is to see it for myself. Though I am not a fan of them breeding "ligers" (lions and tigers), I do appreciate them rescuing animals from undesirable places. Of course they don't have the funding of large zoos like the Oklahoma City Zoo since they are a small private zoo, but it looked like they took good care of their animals. I am an animal lover and could see that the animals seemed very happy there. The staff were also very helpful and friendly. When it was almost dinner time, all the animals woke up from their afternoon naps and many of the tigers began chuffing which is the equivalent to the purring of a cat. I remember learning that when tigers came on the Jay Leno show and he would chuff to the baby tigers. If they weren't happy, they wouldn't be chuffing.Since I was there during the week, I had a private tour. I liked being able to get this "behind the scenes" tour with a Groupon certificate. I was able to see and pet animals such as a young camel. I was also able to be up close with a small liger that was just a couple of months old. Of course the tour guide went over safety rules on how to safely pet the cub. I was also able to get close to some wolf/dog hybrids who had to be surrendered since their owners found out after getting them that their town had laws against people having dogs that had any wolf in them. Two of them were wolf/husky hybrids. They had been someone's pets before they had to give them up. At least the G.W. Zoo was able to take some of them in. If you like big cats, this is a must see zoo for you! My tour guide said they have over 40 tigers there! They also have more types of chickens running around than I have ever seen! I had also never seen an albino raccoon before.It's worth the time to stop there!
Took the wife for a visit here and it was one of the best big cat zoo's we have ever visited. If you go pay the extra and take the behind the scene tour it is well worth it. I couldnt believe the amount of big cats they have. You get very close to each and every one of them and they also have wolves,bears,monkeys and an awesome camel. I would highly recommend this to anyone that loves anaimals.
For $35 we got the backlot tour. Rushed us through that. Did get to pet a baby liger. Wanted to see Bone Digger, but they said "they are working over there." Our tour was by Eric. Very knowledgeable, but sort of in a hurry. Only 12 people in our group, which was good. Got to kiss a camel. Staff was very helpful and informative. Loved the spitting chimp. No tiger show?? Animals looked healthy and all cages were clean. Food and water in all the cages at the time we were there. Enjoyed feeding the free-roaming ducks and chickens, too.
I recently had the chance to go to the GW Zoo, and it was a once in a lifetime experience. I plan to go again once the bears are born for the season! This is not so much a zoo as it is a rescue facility. All of these animals would have been put down for lack of places for them to go. They come from zoos that were over crowded, being shut down, or people who stupidly thought these animals would make nice pets. This place is run entirely off volunteers. I did the endangered animal tour and the the one on one time with a baby LiLiger (Lion dad and Liger mom). I also got a bag of peanuts. There are "stray" chickens and ducks begging for peanuts, I dont think they feed these animals, they allow them to stay on property as a means of natural flea and tick control. In the tour, we were told that at the start of the season, there are around 400 of them, by seasons end only about 50 remain as they venture too close to the cages and get picked off one by one. Get there early, on a Saturday, we were able to see the cats being fed their chicken for the day, watching them eat was amazing on its own. The cats were also all very vocal, roaring and chuffing at each other. I fell in love with the bears, The guard rails keep you arms length away from their cage, so its easy to give them the peanuts they beg for. There are several rescued parrots that all talk! We were greeted with "hello" and "I want an animal cracker" before we even saw them. There were several monkeys and lemurs, but none had any interest in us or our peanuts. I was able to pose with a miniature horse, a 2 year old alligator, see bone crusher (the mail lion that lives with 4 weenie dogs), walk right into the wolf pen for a petting opportunity, hold sweet little skunks, be covered in 3 pythons, and the star, play with 2 baby 11 week old LiLigers. After the endangered animal tour I got my private time with 1 very playful Liliger. I grabbed a fallen branch and played tug of war with her. It was truly a "wow" moment. A MUST do!!
If you are an animal lover, especially a cat lover this is a must do. They had plenty on site! Did the Endangered Animal Adventure Tour. Had a lot of large cats including tigers, lions, ligers (including the second largest liger which was about 800 pounds), and taligers (a tiger and liger mix). We got to play with a taliger cub. Our tour guide was friendly and even let us pose w/ the taliger after our encounter. Due to it be an extremely hot day that day the taliger was very calm and just wanted to be in the shade. My husband fed a camel a cracker from his mouth! They also had a place where they raised a lion w/ three dachshunds and they all live in the same cage. We had to sign a paper to say that we are aware and accept the fact that we may be on tv as they do footage there. We never made it as far as we know, but they were recording while we were there and we actually went into the studio where they were recording. Definitely do if in the area.
Took the Extended family for the day. Saw things we have never seen before! We all had a good time and learned alot about tigers! Try to go when its COOL!
It's not your typical "zoo", so don't go expecting that. We did the tour, with the added baby animal playtime. Getting to see so many "Cats" in one place was amazing! They have white tigers, tigers, lions, ligers and baby liligers (they will explain where the extra "li" comes from. Some of the biggest tigers I've ever seen. You can kiss a camel, pet a wolf/husky, hold an albino skunk, pet a baby liliger , and wrap some wicked snakes around you (if you so choose, I passed). They also have bears, monkeys, tiny horses, birds, raccoons & reptiles. They did ask for us to turn our cell phones off and not carry bags, so be prepared for that, they have lockers. They have a camera man that follows the group around and you get a CD for a small fee at the end(well worth it). It is really a great, out of the ordinary experience. I think ages 4 and up get more out of it than the younger children. They talk a lot about the animals etc, neat info, it's definitely not "zoo" like, it's kind of like you get a backstage tour of a zoo. Our group ranged from 4 yr to 44 yrs and we all enjoyed it immensely.