South Florida animal attractions reopen post-Irma with discounts

VIRGINIA KEY, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Seaquarium and Zoo Miami is offering discounts as they reopen weeks after damage from Hurricane Irma closed them down.

The Seaquarium is reopening Friday after being closed for 36 days due to Hurricane Irma.

“The park suffered some damage, not major structural damage, but we had some trees down and tarps and things like that,” said Marni Wood, manager of animal training at Miami Seaquarium.

As a precaution, crews moved several animals prior to Irma. “We did have high winds and some storm surge here in this area of the park,” said Miami Seaquarium curator Dwayne Biggs. “We had around a two-foot storm surge on the back side of the park. Because of us predicting that might happen, we actually relocated some of the animals to higher ground at the park.”

Most of the park’s animals stayed in their respected areas during the storm with no issues.

Since Hurricane Irma moved through, crews have been cleaning up the park, but normal training and wildlife interactions haven’t stopped. “Just to maintain that normalcy, to keep them exercised, happy and healthy,” Wood said.

With the reopening just one day away, the park has a number of discounts and offers online to get visitors back into the park. Some of these passes last until mid-November.

As a special thank you from the Seaquarium, all military personnel, first responders and power and utility workers will get in free until Nov. 12.

Over at Zoo Miami, they’re offering guests 50 percent off admission as they prepare to open on Saturday. They were closed for more than a month due to hurricane damage.

“Generally speaking, the storm was not as destructive as we’ve had in the past,” said Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill. “Previous storms, you know, people compare it to Andrew. Andrew was a storm that required a building effort. Irma required a huge cleanup effort.”

A lot of clean up was involved in getting the grounds back to normal and the animals back to their exhibits.

7News got a look at the chimpanzees getting reacquainted with theirs.

“I think a lot of them are looking forward to the interaction,” Magill said. “They see people coming through, but the animals have done very well.”

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