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Prospect Park Zoo
Photograph: Kai Brinker

Prospect Park Zoo is officially reopening later this month

After severe flooding in September forced the zoo to shut down, the staff is gearing up for a reopening.

Ian Kumamoto
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Ian Kumamoto
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Prospect Park Zoo is finally reopening!

Last September, Prospect Park Zoo announced that it was closing indefinitely after tropical storm Ophelia filled the basements of two on-site buildings with 25 feet of water and damaged its heating and power systems. 

Over the weekend, the zoo said it is reopening to the public next Saturday, May 25. Woohoo!

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The day before the official reopening, on May 24, the zoo will host a special preview event for Wildlife Conservation Society members.

Although guests will be able to visit the destination again, they should expect continued repair work to take place on-premise for a while still, including measures to prevent future flooding that will end up costing the zoo up to $20 million, per Gothamist.

The zoo is now back on the electrical grid and the main electrical room has been relocated from the basement to the ground level.

While this reopening of Prospect Park Zoo is a major milestone, we have a long way to go before the zoo is fully restored,” Craig Piper, the Vice President and Director of City Zoos for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said in an official statement. “We continue to work with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and other city, state, and federal agencies on full restoration and mitigation to prevent flooding from future storm events.”

Piper added that the 12-acre zoo was also severely damaged during storms Henry and Ida in previous years, hinting at larger structural issues that had been plaguing the premises for years.

As a reminder, none of the over 400 animals at the zoo were harmed as a result of the flooding. The staff was actually able to continue taking care of them, mostly thanks to President Joe Biden's decision to issue a Federal Disaster Declaration earlier this year, which allowed the zoo to receive FEMA recovery assistance. 

The Prospect Park Zoo doesn’t get a lot of love when it comes to destinations of the sort around town—its cousins in Central Park and the Bronx tend to be championed above all others—but there are actually some pretty emblematic species that call the small Brooklyn space home, including California sea lions, dingoes, North American river otters, red pandas, sand cats and more.

You can reserve your tickets ahead of the zoo’s reopening here.

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