ALL ISSUES    |    SUMMER 2017
Dr. Mike examines a juvenile African penguin as part of a regular health check

Building a World-Class Animal Care Center

Caring for the thousands of animals—on exhibit here at the Aquarium as well as those we study, or rescue and return to the wild—requires a dedicated veterinary staff and skilled team of aquarists. We're fortunate to have Dr. Mike Murray, our respected director of veterinary services and a top veterinary scientist, leading our operations. But, providing the highest standard of care takes a state-of-the-art veterinary facility.

We're proud to announce our fundraising campaign to expand our animal health lab starting this fall. The 6,300-square-foot, two-story addition will give our team more room to deliver exceptional care, and will provide visitors with opportunities to see the full scope of our veterinary activities during behind-the-scenes tours.

"The Aquarium has always been very supportive of every piece of equipment I've needed," says Dr. Mike. "The problem has always been—as it is with a lot of aquariums—real estate. The new facility will allow us to consolidate our operations to increase efficiency and enhance our ability to work with our animals, as well as provide instruction to veterinarians and veterinary students interested in aquatic animal medicine."

Over the years, our living collection has changed significantly as we opened new exhibits. We've added more and different species, and expanded our conservation research program. At the same time, tools and techniques of veterinary medicine advanced, as have the high standards for animal care.

Provided we raise the needed funds, the $7 million expansion of our veterinary facility will add a new diagnostic laboratory, two animal hospital wards, and additional office space for veterinary staff, students and interns. It will consolidate and improve our medical storage and equipment sterilization capacities, and give us room for long-term storage of biological material we've collected over the years—material we can use in future research studies to help sustain or recover wild populations of animals in our care.

The expanded facility will also allow Dr. Mike and his staff to:

  • Better meet the diverse veterinary needs of marine wildlife, from sea stars and sea bass to sharks and seabirds.
  • Efficiently employ new, cutting-edge diagnostic equipment to examine and treat animals in our care.
  • Address the specific needs of rescued species like sea otters, but also sea turtles and other animals that are more likely to strand in our region as the ocean continues to warm.
  • More effectively quarantine sick marine wildlife to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Create a learning environment where our aquarists can expand their knowledge of health issues that could affect animals in their care.
  • Provide formal training opportunities for veterinary students and graduates, especially those from communities underrepresented in the profession today.

First and foremost, the expanded facility will allow our staff to continue to provide the highest level of veterinary care for our animals, advance conservation research and contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species.

Left: Aquarists measure a giant sea bass during a routine freshwater bath. Middle: Gentle assistance is always helpful during penguins exams. Right: Dr. Mike obseves as our animal care team examines an olive ridley sea turtle that beached next to the Aquarium.

Join Us!

You can help make our new Animal Care Center possible with a gift to our special campaign. Please contact our Development office at (800) 840-4880 or We'll share updates on this exciting project in the coming months.