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New York Aquarium Reopens After Sandy Damage

Partial Reopening Follows $10 Million Of Work
Sea Otter swimming at New York Aquarium. (credit: Peter Haskell, WCBS 880)

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

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The damp, raw weather may have canceled a day at the beach for Tri-State Area residents, but it did not stop many young visitors and their families from heading to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island.

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, crowds were enjoying the views underwater.

“We’re looking at different types of anemone and different types of fish,” one youngster said.

“They’re all colorful. Some are light colors and some of them are dull,” another said.

With its offices still located in trailers a few feet from the Cyclone roller coaster, aquarium director Jon Forrest Dohlin said the reopening Saturday was only partial.

“We really had to sort of triage and say. ‘What can we get open?’” Dohlin said. “Because it was either partially reopen or stay closed for 3 years.”

But the aquarium got the main exhibits back up and running after $10 million of work. Dohlin hopes the aquarium will be fully functioning by 2016.

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.

Dohlin said there was roughly $65 million in damage.

The partial reopening includes 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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