State-of-the-Art Center Opens the World of Aquatic Medicine to the Public
The 14,000-square-foot Molina Animal Care Center at the Aquarium of the Pacific provides enhanced healthcare to our animals as well as opportunities for our guests to view veterinary medicine in action.
Located behind Shark Lagoon, the hospital features a 1,800-square-foot examination area. Opened in 2010, the building meets LEED Platinum standards, fulfilling the Aquarium’s commitment to environmentally sensitive building practices for all new structures.
The Aquarium’s veterinary hospital features advanced digital equipment. With an Eklin digital radiography system, x-ray film does not need processing and images are easily stored for diagnostic and record-keeping purposes. This equipment also speeds up the entire process of taking x-rays, which is better for the animals. A high-tech microscope with a camera imaging system can take pictures of slides. Just as with the x-ray machine, this microscope allows images to be e-mailed to colleagues. Endoscopy and laparoscopy equipment provide opportunities to perform minimally invasive techniques and view the patient internally with a camera.
Holding and quarantine areas for fishes, marine mammals, and birds are housed in the Molina Animal Care Center as well. The biggest tank at the Aquarium, a 40-foot diameter tank that holds 56,000 gallons of water, will open in spring 2012 and will provide critical holding space for the Aquarium’s sharks and larger animals. For new Aquarium arrivals, there are two rooms for animals undergoing the required quarantine. There is also a reptile room and holding cages for shorebirds and raptors.
The treatment center offers unique insight into the world of aquatic veterinary care. It also showcases the Aquarium’s dedication to stewardship to its wide array of mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, and invertebrates.
The Molina Animal Care Center reaches beyond the confines of a place to care for animals. In the spirit of interactive learning, it allows visitors to watch surgeries, animal examinations, and even interact with the Aquarium’s veterinary staff on occasion.
Each day a staff member explains a live procedure or offers one of several educational shows. As guests pass the hospital viewing windows, the veterinarian could be working on an animal. Maybe a surgery on a fish will be in progress. Maybe an otter will be getting its teeth cleaned. Windows and overhead computer monitors will make it possible for everyone to see.
Two interactive kiosks offer a chance to delve deeper. One kiosk features stories of medical successes such as Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. Lance Adams’ groundbreaking operation to repair the bill of the sawfish. The other kiosk presents a behind-the-scenes look at the duties of various team members. This video features interviews with an aquarist, a mammalogist, the veterinarian, a curator, a life support technician, an aviculturalist, and a volunteer.
Live Video Feeds for Children
The Aquarium is partnering with the Miller Children’s Hospital at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, allowing children to watch a live video feed of Aquarium staff working in the Molina Animal Care Center. This collaboration provides an opportunity for a young patient in the hospital to ask questions and talk directly to the veterinarian or other husbandry professional.