Photo Credit: 
By Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photographer

MEDICINE PARK - Renowned National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore visited the Medicine Park Aquarium & Natural Sciences Center in Medicine Park Oklahoma this past summer as part of his National Geographic Photo Ark project – a 25-year project to document every species before they disappear.

With the help of aquarium staff and its team of biologists, Sartore photographed the following 16 animals: bumblebee cichlid, giraffe cichlid, sunburst cichlid, African butterflyfish, glass catfish, paddlefish, iron-color shiner, blacktail topminnow, sauger, white crappie, bantam sunfish, flier, red-spotted sunfish, pirate perch, elephant nose fish and Carib- bean reef octopus. “Joel has been to probably every aquarium in the world and he was so impressed with our place and how we are devoted to mostly Oklahoma freshwater species,” said Nicole Rowe, Aquarium & Life Sciences Director. “He also fell in love with Medicine Park!”

Based on the volume of images from his recent travels, it will be 18-24 months before all the Medicine Park animals will be incorporated into the Photo Ark. Joel did provide a stunning sneak peek of two animals, the paddlefish and the Caribbean reef octopus. To learn more about the Photo Ark, visit https://www.nationalgeographic. org/projects/photo-ark/. Please view his outstanding work and consider purchasing a book or print to help support Joel’s project.


Opened in 2017, The Medicine Park Aquarium & Natural Sciences Center is dedicated to conservation through education – bringing people, nature and science together in a fun and interactive experience.  This unique eco-tourism attraction has over 90 native and non-native fishes, reptile and amphibian species on exhibit with mammals and birds coming soon. The center also has a seven-acre botanical garden with hiking trails featuring many plants native to the area. The center is open Monday – Sunday. For more information, visit www.