Oklahoma Aquarium remains closed despite city re-opening

Oklahoma Aquarium remains closed despite city re-opening

Phase I of “Opening Jenks” commenced Friday, but the Oklahoma Aquarium’s doors remained shut.

According to Jenks City Manager Chris Shrout, the Oklahoma Aquarium is in alignment with other cultural institutions in the Tulsa Metro area such as the Tulsa Zoo, Philbrook Museum, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa Botanical Gardens, etc.

According to Shrout, those Tulsa-area institutions have been meeting weekly and have agreed to stay closed for the time being, so they can be unified.

Shrout said the aquarium needs to have it be as safe as possible for people. He said the facility does not have the staff it needs to be cleaning and disinfecting properly and additional ticket agents need to be hired, so the need for more employees is high.

Shrout also said that even though the Oklahoma Aquarium wants to remain unified with other cultural facilities in the Tulsa area, the Jenks-based attraction will open before others if needed. He added that waiting a week or two allows the staff to receive everything they need to get the re-open plan implemented.

On top of being unified with other similar-type institutions, Jenks Mayor Robert Lee said the Oklahoma Aquarium will require a lot of expense to re-open and with the ability to only have a smaller number of people in the facility at once, it doesn’t make practical or financial sense to open its doors right now.

Shrout said the aquarium will be open soon. Jenks’ largest attraction has lost more than $1 million in revenue since it closed March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that despite the loss of revenue, the Oklahoma Aquarium has continued to pay its employees.

Kyle Salomon

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