Hutchinson Zoo still closed weeks after flooding

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KAKE) -

Weeks after flooding devastated parts of Kansas, the Hutchinson Zoo is still closed.

Thursday, Ryan VanZant, Hutchinson Zoo's director, took KAKE around the grounds.

"Where that sidewalk is," VanZant points, "yesterday was underwater."

The water is finally starting to go down at the zoo, but sidewalks are still covered and buildings have standing water inside.

Most importantly, many animals aren't in their usual habitats.

"That's where our bobcats normally live," VanZant shows us. "They've been moved to our off-exhibit housing."

When storms first rolled in late May, the Hutchinson Zoo seemed to miss the worst of it.

But a few days later, the groundwater rose, and so did a retention pond, flooding the grounds.

"From something that was a bit of an annoyance, it became a challenge pretty quickly. Fortunately we had already moved the animals that were in the water's way to higher ground," said VanZant.

The animals are safe, and VanZant says they are even enjoying some new scenery.

But staffers are eager to get the zoo back open.

"I suspect we'll be closed probably another three to four weeks ultimately. We'll rush as soon as the water's receded to get things cleaned up and safe and secure for our public to come back and visit us."

In the meantime, the zoo is keeping its gift shop open and its train running as scheduled.