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Dean McGee Offers Binocular Borrow Program at the OKC ZOO

At the Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI), we are passionate about helping Oklahomans see well and visually experience the beauty of our world. That is why we are excited to offer the Binocular Borrow Program at the Oklahoma City Zoo for any visitor, free with general admission. This program allows guests to create closer connections to the Zoo’s animals by enhancing their views of them in the exhibits.

What Guest are Saying About the Program

The Binocular Borrow Program gives Zoo guests the opportunity to see animal exhibits from a new perspective, including the native birds around the Zoo. See species like mockingbirds, blue jays, American robins, turkey vultures, and cormorants in their natural habitats around the Zoo.

We spoke with a local family who recently borrowed the binoculars for their last visit. “We do a lot of bird watching in our backyard at home, so most of the time we used them to watch birds flying around the Zoo grounds and trying to identify them,” Morgan Estes says. “We’ll definitely use them again, especially when it comes to exhibits where the animals tend to stay farther back, like the lions and elephants.”

How Does the Binocular Borrow Program Work?

We are providing binoculars to guests during their visit to the OKC Zoo for no additional cost. Simply head to the guest services office with a valid photo ID and complete a quick information form. The binoculars are yours for the day and you’ll receive your ID once you return to the office.

DMEI Binoculars on a rock

About the Binoculars

The Bushnell binoculars offer powerful 10x magnification and are ideal for nature watching outdoors, such as spotting animals in the wooded Oklahoma Trails These aren’t just your regular binoculars; they have a built-in InstaFocus lever that provides smooth feedback, with enough tension to fine-tune magnification and see every wild detail on the animals.

Best Exhibits to Use the Binoculars

With more than 119 acres of zoo grounds to cover, there will be plenty of opportunities to use your DMEI sponsored binoculars. We’ve highlighted a few exhibits that you should definitely visit to see animals that sometimes are hiding or are farther away.

The Cat Forest and Lion Overlook exhibits spans more than four acres of big and small cats. The lions like to roam and sunbathe on large rocks towards the back of the exhibit. Make sure to use the binoculars to catch them far away. The small cats and tigers exhibit feature a multitude of plants that mimic native jungle and forest environments. Use your binoculars to spot these cats through the tall grass and plants.

The Oklahoma Trails is a large exhibit featuring native animals such as bison, deer, and bears. Use your binoculars while walking through the wooded trails to discover the abundant wildlife featured here.

We also recommend using your binoculars in the Butterfly Garden that spans 20,000-square feet. The outdoor garden has various plants that attract a large range of butterflies. Sit back on a bench and watch the butterflies swarm in on the fragrant flowers and plants. Monarch butterflies are especially beautiful to see migrating through the Zoo towards the end of September.

family of three using binoculars in lion exhibit

“We are so grateful for innovative community partners like the Dean McGee Eye Institute,” said Greg Heanue, OKC Zoo Chief Marketing Officer. “In addition to enhancing the OKC Zoo experience, the Binocular Borrow Program connects guests with the multitude of native species that exist around the Zoo.”

While at the OKC Zoo, you can also take part in the Eye Spy Safari sponsored by DMEI. The Eye Spy Safari is a scavenger hunt for kids to find several special animals around the Zoo and pick up a prize at the end.

The Importance of Healthy Vision

We want you to continue to see amazing things, such as the animals at the OKC Zoo, and recommend that you schedule regular eye exams with a primary eye doctor. This way any vision problems can be found early. If you haven’t visited an eye doctor this year, it’s time to check up on your vision. We would be happy to see you at DMEI. Request an appointment today!

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