Nearly a month after closing for Hurricane Ian, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is ready to welcome guests and will resume normal operations at 9am Wednesday, October 26.
The Zoo had closed on Sept. 28 in preparation for Hurricane Ian and remained closed afterward for cleanup. In addition, the St. Johns River and Lake Monroe flooded, rendering the Zoo’s only entrance road impassable.
All through the closure, the Zoo’s Animal Care team kept all of the animal residents safe.
“A month ago, we never imagined we’d be in this situation,” said Zoo CEO Richard E. Glover, Jr. “I am incredibly thankful for our team and community for all they’ve done to help us get to this point, and we can’t wait to see our guests again.”
“A special thanks goes out to Seminole County, SunRail, and Wharton-Smith, Inc. for their help during this time. Even so, there’s a long road ahead of us before we can say we’ve fully recovered from the effects of this devastating storm.”
While damages for the Zoo are still being tallied, Glover estimates damages and the cost to operate the Zoo throughout its four-week closure will exceed $800,000.
The Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center, the Zoo’s main meeting building, suffered flooding damage and will remain closed likely for a month or more. The bear exhibit and boardwalk will also remain closed for cleanup and repairs temporarily. Nearly all other exhibits and attractions will be open.
Those who wish to donate to help with recovery efforts can visit centralfloridazoo.org/get-involved/hurricane-ian/.
But tomorrow the Zoo will reopen for guests, and plans are still on for this weekend’s annual Zoo Boo Bash, presented by Orlando Health, on Oct. 29 and 30.
Details on that, and more information on the Zoo’s recovery, can be found at CentralFloridaZoo.org.
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden, located in Sanford, is home to over 300 animals.
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