MEDICINE PARK (KFDX/KJTL) — A popular aquarium and nature center near Lawton will celebrate its 5th anniversary this week.

The Medicine Park Aquarium & Natural Sciences Center will mark its fifth anniversary on Friday, June 10.

Festivities will include free cookies while supplies last, an expanded interactive Critter Chat from 1 to 2 p.m. featuring several Animal Ambassadors, free coloring activities and a chance to win a free annual family pass for four.

The center opened in 2017 once the 10,000 square foot aquarium, Phase I of the master plan, was completed. Since then, twelve additional exhibits and a native botanical garden have been added to the experience.

“We have so much positive momentum,” said Rainette Rowland, Executive Director. “Phase II of our master plan began in 2019, adding exhibits for the native wildlife zoo and introducing mammals and birds. We are kicking off fundraising for a new grey fox exhibit. We agreed to take in a sweet female named Ky, who was rescued by a local rehabber with the intent of release. Unfortunately, she will not hunt or eat meat at all, so we agreed to provide a great home for her. Foxes have always been a part of the plan – we are just escalating the timing on that exhibit.”

The native wildlife zoo features many animals outside the Aquarium building, including American alligators, bobwhite quail, bobcats, North American river otters, a blue-eyed coyote and an alligator snapping turtle estimated to be 100 years old.

“We are really working to expand opportunities for engagement,” said Nicole Brown, Deputy Director. “Our Animal Ambassador program has recently added three baby squirrels and two baby opossums which are great fun. We have skunks, a racoon, tortoises, a prairie dog, non-venomous snakes, and birds that we bring out for Critter Chats. Our biologist team provides educational information and an opportunity for visitors to interact. We also have an enrichment schedule where guests can watch different animals eat or engage in play and feeding experiences like Turtle Town and Quail Encounter that allow visitors to feed the animals themselves.”

The center also hosts events like birthday parties and weddings as well as kids’ camps to provide area children a fun and educational experience while school is out.

The Medicine Park Aquarium & Natural Sciences Center is open every day (except Christmas & Thanksgiving) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors can find admission costs, the enrichment schedule and other information here.