The Medicine Park Aquarium & Natural Sciences Center will celebrate its fourth anniversary Thursday.

Free goody bags will be available while supplies last and all visitors will have an opportunity to register for a prize package. The Animal Ambassadors will join the celebration from noon–2 p.m. for a special interactive experience.

The first phase of the aquarium opened in 2017 and included the McMahon Foundation’s Fresh Waters & Fishes of Oklahoma Galleries — a 10,000-square-foot aquarium building with nearly 100 aquatic displays, and the Terry K. Bell Memorial Trust’s Southwest Oklahoma Wildflower & Butterfly Conservation Gardens — a six-acre native plant and wildflower display.

“We continue to make a lot of progress on Phase II of our master plan by adding exhibits for the native wildlife zoo. We now have exhibits for bobcats and the beloved Moriah the coyote who once lived on base at Fort Sill, both sponsored by the Dollar-Janosko family in honor of Carolyn Dollar. We have a total of nine outdoor animal exhibits with more on the way hopefully by end of this year. Our Education Department’s Wildlife Discovery Program continues to flourish with our lovable ambassadors Juni the opossum, Rocket the raccoon, Lemon the speckled king snake and of course Frankie the African Spur-thighed tortoise, among others,” said Doug Kemper, executive director.

The interactive Critter Chats and Feeding Shows are a big part of the experience. Visitors can see the “shocking” electric eel show as they snack on shrimp and can interact with animal ambassadors like Juni the opossum, Lola the South American boa constrictor, Lemon the speckled king snake and Rocket the raccoon. Rainfall has been abundant this year and the Terry K. Bell Wildflower and Butterfly Garden is in full bloom.

“Like many businesses, COVID has been a challenge, but we successfully maintained our employees and animals through all of it,” Deputy Director Rainette Rowland said “This community has really embraced us and continues to provide support when needed. This past year has been a great reminder of how many friends we have, and we truly cannot express how grateful we are.”

The Medicine Park Aquarium & Natural Sciences Center is open every day (except Christmas and Thanksgiving) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can find admission costs, the enrichment schedule and other information at mpmns.org.

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