SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls had some damage from Tuesday night’s storm. All the animals and staff are safe and healthy, but the zoo did have to close Wednesday for cleanup.
There may not have been as many humans as usual at the zoo Wednesday, but the animals still stayed entertained by chewing on some fallen branches and watching zookeepers clean up the storm damage.
“We had minor damage but it was very widespread throughout the zoo grounds and it really wasn’t safe to have people walking around as we’re trying to remove all of these branches and some fallen trees,” Denise DePaolo with the Great Plains Zoo said.
No animals or humans were hurt in Tuesday night’s storm because staff worked proactively by closing the zoo early.
“It was very all-hands-on-deck for our animal care team to make sure that all of the animals were safe and secure in plenty of time before the storm hit,” DePaolo said.
Staff have had some practice getting animals to safety due to several severe storms in Sioux Falls this spring and summer.
“It’s been a really hard season on our zoo, I mean, it’s been a hard season on our community, storm-wise. We’ve had a lot of minor damage over the course of several storms and that really does add up,” DePaolo said.
This is the first time the zoo has had to close due to damage this summer.
“Being closed even for this one day is expensive and we really need the support of our community to get everything back the way it should be and to take care of these animals for the next year,” DePaolo said.
Zookeepers, volunteers, and the City of Sioux Falls working hard so visitors can come back as soon as possible.
The Zoo plans to be open again Thursday. You can follow along on their social media pages for more updates.