Last week Busch Gardens Tampa invited the media to visit the soon-to-be-opened Animal Care Center. The new, nearly 16,000 square-foot facility replaced the rhino exhibit in the Nairobi area of the park. We were broken into three groups so that we could rotate through and visit the different areas of the Animal Care Center in a timely fashion.
Our first stop was in the nutrition center which boasts a beautiful kitchen set, that most of us were drooling over. In the nutrition center Zoo Education Specialist, Jose Dominguez explained the importance of healthy, balanced diets for the animals. There will be daily shows in the nutrition center where guests can take part in helping to prepare food for the park animals. While in the nutrition center Jose prepared food for a Ground Cuscus and Jordan got to pet it!
I’m sorry the audio is so soft, please turn up your speakers.
Lastly, we headed into the medical suites which include treatment rooms, a clinical lab and an interactive diagnostic activity. The treatment center will allow guests to watch as Busch Gardens’ skilled vets do preventative checkups, treatments and surgeries on animals. Guests will be able to see into the rooms through glass walls, and audio capabilities will allow guests to talk to vets working behind the glass. Cameras placed over the exam table will show unique vantage points to guests who can watch on monitors. During treatments and surgeries, zoo educators will also be on hand to talk about what’s taking place. Since it is a working center, procedures will vary daily, and will not take place during all scheduled park hours due to field work, office work and other projects requiring the vets’ time and attention. Daily schedules will be subject to change.While we were outside the treatment rooms we watched them examine a large toad via ultrasound and give a flamingo with chapped feet a cold laser therapy treatment. The potential for witnessing interesting animal interactions in the treatment areas is huge!
The Animal Care Center opens to the public on January 23, 2011 and is included in the price of admission.