Galveston aquarium survives Hurricane Rita
Rhett A. Butler,
September 26, 2005

The aquarium and other animal facilities at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas appear to have weathered Hurricane Rita according to press reports.

Most of the animals were evacuated from the facilities well prior to the storm's arrival.

According to the Galveston County The Daily News, the Moody Gardens penguins and seals were loaded onto trucks last Tuesday and stayed at Sea World in San Antonio. In addition to the penguins and seals, hundreds of other animals were evacuated from zoos and other facilities in the Texas Gulf Coast area. During the hurricane only fish were left at the Moody Gardens aquarium. A skeleton staff of about 20 members prepared the facility for the storm.

Moody Gardens will reopen on Wednesday, September 28, according to the Moody Gardens Website.

Hurricane Rita made landfall Saturday morning at 3:30 a.m. EDT as a Category 3 storm just east of Sabine Pass, on the Texas-Louisiana line, bringing top winds of 120 mph. By late morning, it had weakened to barely above hurricane status, with its sustained winds at 75 mph as it moved north near Jasper.

There were no reports of fatalities and little damage to the oil industry.

About 3 million people had fled a 500-mile stretch of the Texas-Louisiana coast ahead of the storm, motivated in part by the destruction that Hurricane Katrina inflicted on New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast just three weeks ago.

Hurricane Katrina did not cause much physical damage to the New Orleans zoo or aquarium, but the loss of power that followed the storm killed virtually all the aquarium's fish. Surviving animals -- penguins, sea otters, and a few fish -- were transported to other aquariums.

The New Orleans Zoo was well prepared for the storm. The facility is also located on some of the highest elevation ground in New Orleans.

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Houston aquarium, Houston zoo

Rhett A. Butler, (September 26, 2005).

Galveston aquarium survives Hurricane Rita.