SANFORD, Fla. (December 14, 2022) — After a month-long closure due to Hurricane Ian, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens reopened to welcome guests on October 26. But while the Zoo has resumed normal operations, the community mainstay is still recovering from damage suffered and the loss of revenue during its closure.
Central Florida Foundation has answered the Zoo’s call for assistance for Hurricane Ian recovery.
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens received a $43,000 grant from the Rex V. Stevens and Dulciza Stevens Fund at Central Florida Foundation. The grant will help the Zoo recover from the damages of Hurricane Ian, as well as offset some of its operations costs so it can continue its conservation work and provide experiences that excite and inspire children and adults to learn and act on behalf of wildlife.
“We are incredibly grateful to Central Florida Foundation and the Rex V. Stevens and Dulciza Stevens Fund for their generosity as we continue on the road to recovery after this devasting storm,” said Zoo CEO Richard E. Glover, Jr. “We have a long way to go, but it warms our hearts to see community helping community.”
While all the Zoo’s animal residents made it safely through Hurricane Ian, several areas of the Zoo sustained damages during the storm and the flooding of the St. Johns River and Lake Monroe afterward. Areas in need of repair include the bear exhibit, Aldabra tortoise exhibit, Bald Eagle exhibit, and The Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center, the Zoo’s main meeting building.
The damages and the cost to operate the Zoo throughout its four-week closure are estimated to exceed $800,000. This grant and support from the local community will help the Zoo throughout the lengthy recovery process.
Those who wish to donate to help with recovery efforts can visit www.centralfloridazoo.org/get-involved/hurricane-ian/.
The Zoo is now open and is welcoming smiling faces daily and at upcoming events, including Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild presented by Publix, which runs Nov. 18 through Jan. 15.