In an effort to conserve funds while awaiting final decisions from Escambia & Santa Rosa County Commissions, The ZOO Northwest Florida will temporarily close to the public on Monday, August 17th through Friday, August 21st. If funding is received, The ZOO will reopen on Friday the 21st. The ZOO will maintain regular hours this weekend, and visitors are encouraged to come to The ZOO before the temporary closure.
On Wednesday, the South End Committee of the Santa Rosa Tourist Development Council voted unanimously in recommendation of the funding. The Council will meet on Wednesday, August 19th to consider the request. If the funding is approved, The ZOO will then ask Escambia County to match the funds. The Escambia County Commission previously delayed a decision on the issue pending a decision by the Santa Rosa County Commission.
“I am optimistic that a positive financial solution for The ZOO can be reached with the support of the TDC & Escambia County,” Danyelle Lantz, Executive Director of The ZOO, said. “This is a temporary hurdle. We have plans in place to insure future financial self-sufficiency for The ZOO. This assistance will allow us the time needed to implement that plan, and get our feet firmly planted.”
Although The ZOO will be closed to the public, essential staff will remain on-site to care for the animals. “The health and well-being of our animals has always been, and remains, our top priority,” Lantz stated. Funding is being provided by Animal Park Inc., the prior owners of The ZOO, to ensure that food, care and full veterinarian services are given to the animals.
“We thank you for all of your continued support and encourage you to communicate your disappointment at our ZOO facing closure to your county commissioners,” Lantz said.
The Light House School, located on The ZOO grounds, will be unaffected by the temporary close of The ZOO and will maintain regularly scheduled classes.