Central Florida Zoo reopens after Hurricane Ian causes $800,000 in damages

The Central Florida Zoo reopened its doors this week after an extended, four-week closure due to Hurricane Ian that will cost the park an estimated $800,000.

The zoo, which is located at 3755 W Seminole Boulevard in Sanford, reopened on Wednesday, October 26.

The zoo closed on September 28 in preparation for Hurricane Ian and remained closed afterward for cleanup. In the days and weeks after the closure, the St. Johns River and Lake Monroe flooding caused the only entrance to the zoo to become flooded.

“A month ago, we never imagined we’d be in this situation,” said 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.”

Glover estimates that the damages and cost to operate the zoo throughout the closure will exceed $800,000 when the final tally comes in. Glover says that the Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center suffered severe flooding damage and will remain closed likely for a month or more.

Additionally, the bear exhibit and boardwalk will remain closed for cleanup and repairs temporarily. Most of the other exhibits and attractions will be open to the public.

This weekend, the park celebrates the return of Zoo Boo Bash, which offers guests the opportunity to trick-or-treat and partake in “not-so-scary” activities.

Online tickets to the park begin at $13.95 for children and $19.95 for adults, while ticket booth prices are two dollars more.

To donate to help the zoo in its recovery efforts, visit the Central Florida Zoo Hurricane Ian webpage.

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