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Prospect Park Zoo Re-Opens to The Public on May 25

And there are new additions, including a pair of southern pudu and a baby Hamadryas baboon born during the closure.
A red panda at the Prospect Park Zoo, which is reopening to the public on May 25, 2024, after being closed for 239 days due to flooding from Hurricane Ophelia on Sept. 29, 2023.

The Prospect Park Zoo is re-opening to the public on Saturday, May 25, after being temporarily closed for almost eight months due to extensive flood damage from Tropical Storm Ophelia.

The September 2023 storm, which deluged the Prospect Park Zoo with more than seven inches of rain and run-off from surrounding streets, had major impact on boilers, HVAC, electrical, and aquatic life support and other systems which were located in building basements and sub-basements, according to the news release.
These basements took on up to 25 feet of water at an unprecedented rate as storm sewers in the area reached full capacity. Throughout the flooding event, zoo staff were able to provide uninterrupted care for all the animals.

During the storm and temporary closure, none of the 400-plus animals were affected. When the park re-opens, zoo guests will find some new animals including a pair of southern pudu, one of the world’s smallest species of deer; and a female Hamadryas baboon born during the closure on Oct. 18, 2023.

The 12-acre zoo is fully back on the electrical grid and the primary electrical room has been relocated from a basement to ground level. Emergency generators and fuel tanks employed since the storm have been removed from public pathways. Necessary repairs to exhibit buildings will be completed by the time of the reopening. The zoo remains on a temporary boiler system for heating as a new location for boilers, previously in a basement, is determined.

“All of Brooklyn took a major hit when the Prospect Park Zoo was temporarily closed," New York City Council Member Chi Ossé said. "I am thankful that it will reopen in time for families to come during these warm summer months for a fun, educational, and timeless Brooklyn tradition."

Recovery costs to date are about $6.5 million. Full restoration costs, not including mitigation measures, are estimated to be more than $20 million. On January 31, 2024, President Biden issued a Federal Disaster Declaration for three counties including Brooklyn making FEMA recovery assistance funding available to Prospect Park Zoo and others who sustained storm damage.