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The New York Aquarium will partially reopen on May 25, a milestone that will be celebrated about seven months after Superstorm Sandy devastated the 14-acre aquarium campus.
“We have worked nonstop to ensure that the marine life in the aquarium was safe and secure,” Cristián Samper, president and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said in a statement Friday. “We want to share this progress with New Yorkers and be a part of the Coney Island comeback.”
Sandy’s surge overran carefully calibrated tanks with oily, debris-filled water, knocked out even backup power to all the exhibits and made it impossible to check on some of them for days. Managers contemplated shipping animals away and wondered whether the institution itself could survive in its spot on Coney Island.
But more than 80 percent of the collection is intact; a planned expansion remains on track, now coupled with rebuilding and flood-proofing an institution that aims to be an object lesson in enduring on the shore.
The partial reopening will include Glover’s Reef, which features sea life found in Belize; and exhibits in Conservation Hall that highlight the Coral Triangle of Fiji, the Great Lakes of East Africa, and the Flooded Forests of the Amazon.
It also will include the outdoor spaces of Sea Cliffs, with walruses, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters and penguins; and a fully remodeled Aquatheater, with a new sea lion demonstration.
Education programs will resume on a limited basis at the facility.
Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS vice president and director of the aquarium, thanked its neighbors “for supporting us through these difficult months.”
“The community spirit has inspired the WCS aquarium staff to work hard every day,” said Dohlin, “so we can reopen and again bring economic stimulus to Coney Island and to share the wonders of the oceans with New Yorkers and tourists.”
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