Photo Ark
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The National Geographic Photo Ark

The National Geographic

Photo Ark

April 30-August 4, 2022

The National Geographic Photo Ark at Gathering Place is a celebration of Oklahoma’s native and migratory species showcasing more than 35 images of animals local to the region, including the spoonbill paddlefish, scissor-tailed flycatcher, monarch butterflies, and the American bison. Pictures of some of the world’s most exotic animals are also highlighted in an effort to inspire people to care and help protect these animals for future generations. 

Photo Ark is a multiyear effort to raise awareness of and find solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting wildlife and their habitats. Led by National Geographic Explorer and photographer Joel Sartore, the project aims to document every species living in the world’s zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries; inspire action through education; and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.

Sartore has photographed more than 12,000 species and estimates the completed Photo Ark will include portraits of over 20,000 species representing several animal classes, including birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. In what will be the largest single archive of studio-quality photographs of biodiversity ever, the Photo Ark continues to move toward its goal of documenting these species in human care. These iconic portraits have captured the imagination of people around the world and have even been projected on the Empire State Building and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Funded by the AEP Foundation on behalf of Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) through the Explore & Imagine program, the exhibit is free to the public and will be on display from April 30-August 4, 2022, in ONEOK Boathouse.

For more information about Photo Ark, please visit




Made possible by:

Gathering Place would like to extend a special thank you to Cole Sartore for the curation of images on display, and to Jen Boyd Martin for her assistance with exhibit design.

Weekly Activities

As a part of the Explore & Imagine programming at Gathering Place, the park will offer free weekly events and activities from May through July that correlate with the exhibit, as well as curriculum offerings for all grade levels and summer camp groups. Photo Ark programs will include a teaching collection of natural artifacts, hands-on art and STEAM activities, sing-alongs, and live animal encounters. These interactive and engaging activities will enhance the viewing experience, as well as provide opportunities to learn more about the animals on exhibit. All activities are free and open to the public. 

Photo Ark teaching collection

Explore this hands-on collection of animal replicas, skulls, footprints, books and more to enhance your Photo Ark exhibit experience. Mondays, 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in ONEOK Boathouse. 

Art in Photo Ark

Create nature and animal themed art through activities facilitated by local teaching artists. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. in ONEOK Boathouse. 

May - Philbrook Museum

June - Sarah Robl

July - Tiny Things by Bowen

Exploration Station & Sing-along

Sing along with Hot Toast Music Co while engaging in hands-on activities at our weekly Exploration Station and sing-along. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. in ONEOK Boathouse.

*On May 18, June 15, and July 20 Exploration Station & Sing-along will also include a Touch Tank Experience! Touch live sea creatures and learn about them with the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Animal Encounter

Meet animals up close and learn more about their place in our world and how we can be wildlife heroes. Fridays, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. in ONEOK Boathouse.

Check out our Animal Encounter guests here


Conservation Coversation: A Lecture Series 

Along with weekly activities tied to the Photo Ark exhibit, a once a month evening lecture series will also be offered through the Explore & Imagine program. On the last Thursday of the month from May through July, Gathering Place will host two local professionals who will speak to their work in the conservation field with a goal to inform and inspire us into action. A Q&A session will follow each presentation and light refreshments will be provided. Come learn about the amazing conservation work happening in your own backyard! Last Thursday of the month, 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. in ONEOK Boathouse. 

Click here to learn more about each Conservation Conversation this summer!