Thankfully, the Houston Zoo was spared the worst of Hurricane Harvey’s flooding wrath, and its animals are safe.
In fact, the zoo is in good enough shape that it’s reopening on Friday, September 1, in a bid to provide a respite for the traumatized community.
On August 27, the Zoo announced on Facebook, “All of our animals are safe and we have team members in place caring for them. Please stay safe, Houston!” On August 31, the zoo again noted that all of its animals were safe. “Throughout the storm, the animals at the Zoo were safe and secure in their barns and night houses and cared for by a dedicated crew of team members who stayed at the Zoo for the duration of the weather event,” the Zoo wrote. “The Zoo sustained minor storm-related flooding and downed tree limbs, but no significant damage.”
The Zoo is opening on Friday, September 1 at 9 a.m. with limited operations.
“As a place for families and communities to gather and find respite, the Houston Zoo will resume limited operations Friday, September 1,” the Zoo wrote on Facebook. “The Zoo will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the last ticket sold at 4:00 p.m. A special ticket price of $5 will be offered at the main gate for both child and adult admission. Included in the $5 ticket are unlimited rides on the Texas Direct Auto Wildlife Carousel, as well as admission to Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks.”
The Houston Zoo received well wishes from zoos around the U.S.
The zoo was even able to take in a rescued sea turtle, writing, “On Wednesday, Aug. 30, the Houston Zoo answered the call to receive a green sea turtle who had been rescued by a resident in Sharpstown, and handed over to the firefighters at Houston Fire Station 51.”
The Houston Zoo has created an employee relief fund to help its workers affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Initially, the zoo only planned to remain closed until August 27. However, that was before the full extent of the storm and massive damage was clear. “The Houston Zoo’s leadership team has been monitoring the path of Hurricane Harvey, and has made the decision to close the zoo Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27,” the Zoo previously announced.
“The animals will be cared for during the storm by a select group of team members who will stay at the zoo throughout the weather event. Our animals have safe and secure barns and night houses that have been constructed to weather storms like this one,” the Zoo said on Facebook.
The Houston Zoo thanked the Dallas Zoo for its well wishes.
On August 28, as the situation became more dire in Houston, the zoo announced it was remaining closed. “For the safety of our team members and guests, the Zoo will remain closed through tomorrow, Monday, Aug. 28. We will continue to have designated team members in place to care for the animals and our facilities. We are fortunate to report that while we have had an incredibly wet day, our animals remain safe and secure,” the Zoo wrote on Facebook, adding, “We are humbled by the overwhelming support coming in from all over and we sincerely hope that all of Houston can stay safe.”
The zoo released a similar message on August 29, August 30, and August 31. The Zoo thanked the San Antonio Zoo and SeaWorld San Antonio for flying down a helicopter full of supplies for the Houston Aquarium, which “suffered major flood damage.”
“We continue to hear devastating news about our beloved city, and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible event. I am grateful to report that our Zoo is still an island of relative normalcy in an ocean of crisis, with my deepest gratitude going to my fellow ride-out crew members. These incredible individuals have been working tirelessly for our animals and facilities,” the zoo wrote on August 30.
“I also want to share some information about how our fellow AZA-accredited Texas zoos are pitching in. This morning, the San Antonio Zoo and SeaWorld San Antonio flew a helicopter full of supplies and assistance into Houston to help the Downtown Aquarium, which has suffered major flood damage. This group has also begun arranging to help the Texas Zoo in Victoria. I have been receiving messages of concern and support from all over the world, and wanted you to know that we have an army of people who are pulling for us. We have re-activated some of our animal webcams to provide reassurance to our many supporters, stakeholders and fans that we are doing okay.”
The decision about when to reopen the zoo also revolved around the obvious safety concern of flooded streets around the facility. The street address of the Houston Zoo is 6200 Hermann Park Drive Houston, TX 77030.