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Sandy-Damaged New York Aquarium To Partially Reopen In May

New York Aquarium (credit: Peter Haskell, WCBS 880)

New York Aquarium (credit: Peter Haskell, WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Months after being severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy, the New York Aquarium on Coney Island is finally ready to partially reopen.

About the half of the facility will reopen to the public on May 25.

EXTRA: Coney Island Getaway Guide

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.

“We had 15 feet of water in all of those areas and it took days to pump out,” Jon Dohlin, the aquarium’s director, said. “We lost several of our freshwater fish that were inundated with salt water surge in a couple of tanks we couldn’t get to in time because of the storm.”

Sea Otter swimming at New York Aquarium. (credit: Peter Haskell, WCBS 880)

Sea Otter swimming at New York Aquarium. (credit: Peter Haskell, WCBS 880)

Dohlin said there was roughly $65 million in damage.

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.

“All of our marine mammals, walruses, seals and our great Aquatheater will be open which is where they do the show everybody loves,” said Dohlin.

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.

For more information on the reopening, visit www.nyaquarium.com.

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