There are currently 3 pools connected with waterways, plus a med pool in the back. The waterways between the pools have gates to close off each section from each other. This effectively makes the passageways their own small holding cells. Mirage has been known to also lock the dolphins in these small channels for periods of time while training sessions go on with people who pay upwards of $600 to swim with dolphins.
There is an underwater viewing area accessible by two different ramps. This allows you to spy on the dolphins from beneath the water. You can also hear their vocalizations. The main pool has several more viewing opportunities than the center pool, and the back pool has none.
The main pool is the larger of the three pools and offers a unique fake coral bottom for dolphins to swim through and rub on. This is something dolphins may enjoy, but it makes the other two pools very barren in comparison. The center pool is legally big enough for 2 dolphins. It is the smaller of the 3 pools, not counting the med pool. The birth and research pool, also known as the “Back Pool” was not part of the original building plans, but added after Steve Wynn realized the dolphins needed their own nursery.
As you can see from the photos below, there is not any shade structure to provide these animals relief from the intense heat of the Mojave sun which is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. The facility has stated in their last inspection that the shade is “under review”. The only shade currently comes from the small trees planted around the edges which cover the pool briefly in the early morning or late evening. During the extreme UV hours of 11am-5pm, there is hardly any shade. Mirage has recently installed more shade umbrellas and tents for the patrons, and also misters near the snack bar.