OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — After shutting down for 35 days, the Oakland Zoo is ready to welcome visitors back. Back on Dec. 31, an atmospheric river slammed the Bay Area, bringing heavy rain and strong winds. The zoo was closed as a result with damage to the entrance, trees down and drainage systems overrun.
Oakland Zoo CEO Nik Dehejia says a big pipe collapsed, causing a sinkhole to form under the zoo’s entrance. The pipe is used to drain water from the area, but it was overburdened by all the rainfall from earlier this year.
Over the past few weeks, crews have placed a new pipe on the ground. Dehejia says it’s the first time they’ve experienced an event like this and they’re hoping it’s the last.
“Sadly we’re used to closures whether it’s wildfire, smoke, that we’ve experienced, but this type of closure has been unprecedented where the entire front entrance has collapsed,” she said.
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Some of the animals took the time to enjoy the active weather. Dehejia says employees continued taking care of them and all the animals are OK. With repairs complete, the zoo is reopening to guests and extending its Glowfari event.
Glowfari is a night-time lantern festival that illuminates the zoo. It begins Friday, Feb. 3 and will run through March 4. Tickets are already on sale.