Prospect Park

Prospect Park Zoo closed due to water damage

And there’s no word on when it will reopen

October 17, 2023 Raanan Geberer
Share this:

The old song goes, “Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo,” but it’s not happening right now, at least for would-be visitors to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Zoo.

Due to extensive damage caused by the heavy rains that hit New York City as part of Tropical Storm Ophelia on Sept. 29, the zoo is now temporarily closed — indefinitely.

The Prospect Park Zoo attracts an estimated more than 300,000 visitors per year, according to published sources, making it one of the borough’s most popular attractions.

The Prospect Park Zoo may not have elephants, lions and tigers, who require lots of space, like its large Bronx counterpart, the Bronx Zoo, does. However, it does have red pandas, several types of monkeys and baboons, Pallas cats (small wildcats native to Central Asia), sea lions, otters, deer and dingoes (Australian feral dogs).

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Flower Box turtles, a species native to the tropical forests of South East Asia, bask in the sun at the Prospect Park Zoo, Monday, May 22, 2006 in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Mary Schwalm, AP

For visitors who want to get up close and personal with animals, it also has as more domesticated species, such as miniature horses and sheep, in its “Barn and Garden” area.

The zoo also boasts a cafeteria as well as vending machines. Because of the large number of visitors from Crown Heights and other Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities, it has what is probably one the city’s few vending machines that says it is available “24/6.”

Animal lovers will be glad to know that the zoo’s animals and birds are well and are being cared for by zookeepers, according to Mary Dixon of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

An official statement from the WCS reads: “The storm, which deluged the Prospect Park Zoo with more than 7 inches of rain and run-off from surrounding streets, had major impact on boilers, HVAC, electrical, and aquatic life support and other systems which are located in building basements and sub-basements.

“These basements took on up to 25 feet of water at an unprecedented rate as storm sewers in the area reached full capacity. The zoo is currently operating with generators which provide all the power needs for the zoo. Temporary boilers will be employed to provide heat as necessary in the upcoming months,” the statement continues.

Craig Piper, vice president of city zoos for the WCS, told the New York Times that the zoo suffered millions of dollars’ worth of damage. He also told Gothamist that the zoo was pounded by nine inches of rain within three hours and also was inundated by runoff water from nearby Park Slope and Prospect Park.

Prospect Park Zoo suffered significant damage during storms Henri and Ida two years ago, the WCS added.

In this photo released by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Mao Mi, a red panda that has just arrived at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, N.Y., from his former home at the Binder Park Zoo in Michigan, gets familiar with his new environment, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008. Photo: Julie Larsen Maher, AP

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment