Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital
Oklahoma City Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo, opened in 1904, is consistently ranked as one of Oklahoma’s top tourist destinations and one of the best zoos in the country. The zoo is home to a diverse animal collection of 1,800 species, and is accredited as both a living museum and a botanical garden by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. However, the zoo’s animal hospital, constructed in 1980, was too small and outdated to keep up with the demands of caring for the zoo’s animal population. In 2012, the Oklahoma Zoological Society prioritized a new veterinary hospital as the first project of in their 10-year master plan.

The new Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital at the Oklahoma City Zoo offers visitors behind the scenes views of what it takes to keep animals healthy. The $9.2 million hospital is one of only a handful of zoos around the country that provides the public the opportunity to observe procedures ranging from preventative health exams to surgeries. The facility includes a visitor gallery, surgical areas, pharmacy, radiology room, food-preparation area, labs, isolation rooms, necropsy room, and even a furnished apartment where staff or visiting veterinarians can stay overnight. From the gallery level, visitors are able to engage with interactive kiosks and observe the veterinarians and staff at work through large windows overlooking the Surgical Suite, Radiology Lab, and Treatment Room.

This project received a Merit Award from AIA Central Oklahoma in 2016.

Photos: ©Larry J. Foster Photography

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