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Zoo News Blog

How the Houston Zoo Weathered Hurricane Beryl

A Message from Our President & CEO

Dear Friends of the Houston Zoo, 

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well. We wanted to share an update on how the Houston Zoo fared during Hurricane Beryl and the incredible efforts of our team during this challenging time. 

Power Outage and Resilience 

Like much of our community, the Zoo was without power for more than 24 hours, but power was restored this morning. Thanks to recent capital improvements, our permanent generators in key areas, supplemented with temporary generators, ensured that critical life support systems remained operational throughout the outage. 

Dedication and Care 

During the storm, a dedicated ride-out team led by Chief Mission Officer, Lisa Marie Avendano, and Vice President of Conservation and Education, Ben Jones stayed overnight to care for our animals and ensure the safety of our grounds. We are pleased to report that all animal enclosures are secure, and our animals received exceptional care throughout the event. 

Damage and Recovery Efforts 

Unfortunately, the storm did cause some damage. Primarily, roofs and interior flooding affected places like the Brown Education Center (BEC). Additionally, there are numerous downed and compromised trees across our campus, which will take time to clear. For safety and recovery efforts, we will be closed through Thursday, with plans to reopen tentatively on Friday, July 12. Camp Zoofari for this week has been canceled, and refunds are being issued to participants. We are assessing the feasibility of hosting camp next week. 

Community Strength and Gratitude 

Facing these challenges is never easy, but our response to this crisis has highlighted the strength and dedication of our Zoo community. We are deeply grateful to each of you for your commitment to our mission and for ensuring the well-being of our animals and facilities. 

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Houston Zoo. 

Lee Ehmke
President & CEO, Houston Zoo 

Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for further updates. We look forward to welcoming you back to the Zoo soon and appreciate your patience as we work to restore and improve our beloved institution.

Editor’s note: The Zoo will remain closed through Friday, July 12 as clean-up continues.