After being closed for weeks due to flooding from Hurricane Ian, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens announced it would open again at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
"A month ago, we never imagined we’d be in this situation," said CEO Richard E. Glover, Jr. in a statement. "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."
The zoo closed on Sept. 28 in preparation of Hurricane Ian, which made landfall as a category 4 hurricane in southwestern Florida, and has remained closed due to clean up from the storm, but also because flooding from the St. Johns River and Lake Monroe flooded the main road to the zoo, a release said.
No animals were hurt in the storm, and all have been cared for by the zoo's team, the zoo said.
Some trees and branches fell during the storm, Glover said, but that its 17,000-square-foot Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center was seriously damaged by flooding, and will remain closed for at least the next month, possibly longer. The bear exhibit and the boardwalk will also remain closed for repairs.
The zoo said it estimates the cost of damages, repairs, and loss of revenue from being closed for several weeks, will exceed $800,000, and that total damages are still being evaluated. The zoo has created an online fund for donations.
One of the zoo's signature fall events, Zoo Boo Bash, is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct 29 & 30, where kids can wear costumes and go trick-or-treating at the zoo. Tickets for that event are $16-$22 per person.