N.C. Zoo reopens after broken pipe forces weekend closure

Posted May 10, 2008 8:28 a.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2008 11:55 a.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Zoo reopened Monday after a broken water pipe forced officials to close the zoo on one of its busiest weekends.

Zoo staffers had to turn away 5,000 visitors Saturday because of the closure, said Rod Hackey, the zoo's public-relations manager.

The 12-inch line, which provides water to the zoo's African exhibit, ruptured on Thursday. Zoo workers initially closed a restaurant, some bathrooms and water fountains in the African section, but water service to the North American exhibit remained normal.

Crews, however, determined late Friday that they needed to completely shut off water service to the entire zoo in order to repair the line, Hackney said.

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience this causes for visitors,” said Dr. David Jones, zoo director. “It certainly comes at an inopportune time with Mother’s Day normally one of our busiest weekends. But we have absolutely no alternative.”

Health regulations also require that the entire water system be flushed and sanitized after it has been shut down for repairs.

Hackney said the zoo staff is using ponds and other temporary sources to provide water for the animals.

The zoo is normally open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week from April through October.