MIAMI -- The year
2005, Miami Seaquariums 50th anniversary, started full of hope and
promise but ended on a sour note. On Oct. 24, Hurricane Wilma made
landfall at Biscayne Bay, at the back of the park.
Thats where the
storm came in, said Jorge Martinez, a spokesman for the Seaquarium.
We had a six-foot storm surge.
Two of the parks
attractions -- the Shark Channel, a circular channel thats home to
sharks and fish, and Discovery Bay, an exhibit of crocodiles,
turtles, fish, deer and other animals -- were badly hit.
Damage to the
rest of the park was less severe but included some roof damage,
damage to the sea wall and loss of some trees, including four large
toll was calculated at $2.5 million in property damage and $4.4
million in lost revenue.
Most of the
resident animals, including manatees, dolphins, sea lions, seals,
parrots, reptiles, flamingos and Lolita the killer whale, survived,
Martinez said. But there were some painful losses.
The sharks and
fish in the Shark Channel didnt survive, he said. It was hit with
tons of silt from the bay. We lost 20 sharks and a lot of
Seaworld Orlando donated five nurse sharks to get the Shark Channel
functioning again. The Seaquarium replenished the smaller fish on
reopened Feb. 11 after 109 days closed. During that time the park
underwent a thorough refurbishment. Discovery Bay and the Shark
Channel are repaired and back in business.
2,000 small shrubs were planted, including sea grapes, fire bush,
clusia, fakahatchee, Jamaica caiper and Spanish stopper. Forty
native trees and 60 sabal palm trees are being planted throughout
the park. Walls and roofs have been restored, and everything has
The park will
soon unveil its refurbished sea lion show, Salty and the Reef
Rangers, which will feature the Seaquariums star sea
The Top Deck
Dolphin Show and the Reef Aquarium, with over 2,000 tropical fish,
They were both
under construction for the past two years and were not affected by
the storm, Martinez said.
Also returning to
action is the two-hour Swim With Our Dolphins program, a
consciousness expander of the highest order.
is open 365 days a year. Admission is $27.95 for adults, $21.95 for
information, visit www.miamiseaquarium.com.
reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].