We always enjoy a good aquarium, and we have written before about our aquarium visits — but you might not think to look for an aquarium in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is in the middle of the nation, far from any ocean. The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, Oklahoma, is worth a visit. Let us share our trip there with you!
Jenks, Oklahoma, is near Tulsa, a town with a lot of public art in the form of wildlife statues. It is fitting that the Oklahoma Aquarium should welcome you with sculpture. Here you can see the bull sharks.
Inside you’ll find plenty of tanks of fish and other water creatures — even otters! Most of the tanks give the animals a natural feeling habitat, so you may have to look closely to see them.
Jellyfish have been around for over 600 million years, predating dinosaurs and even bony fish! They’ve witnessed and survived mass extinction events, making them living fossils and testaments to resilience. Some are bioluminescent, and some perform elaborate mating dances to attract partners. We gazed at these very large and beautiful jellyfish in fascination for a long time.
Not all aquatic creatures are beautiful. Crustaceans are a lot like insects; you could say that crustaceans fill the same ecological niches underwater that insects do on land.
Sea urchins don’t have any bones, but the hard outer shell under their spines, called a “test,” is made of calcium carbonate, the same material as seashells. While their primary spines deter predators, some species pack a venomous punch with smaller, secondary spines.
The Oklahoma Aquarium has lots of fish, but they also have animals that live in woodland creeks and ponds. Here we see an exhibit of turtles.
There is even a giant sea turtle!
Sting rays are also fascinating. The aquarium has special tanks where you can touch manta rays, starfish, shrimp, and other creatures. They explain how to do this carefully so that you don’t scare or hurt the animals.
Often just looking is amazing enough.
You won’t want to miss the shark tunnel. People can walk through while the sharks slide silently through the water over and around them.
The octopus was hiding on the day we went to visit, but the exhibit where it was housed was still fun.