Audubon Zoo to Reopen November 25, 2005

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ — After weeks of clearing debris left by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ most beloved family attraction will reopen later this month. Officials with Audubon Nature Institute and tourism leaders announced today that Audubon Zoo will open its doors the day after Thanksgiving, making it the first major family tourist attraction to reopen in New Orleans.

“Reopening the Zoo is a symbol that the heart and soul of New Orleans survives,” said Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO. “Families have been enjoying Audubon Zoo for 120 years, and we’re proud to be part of the history of New Orleans. While we all work to rebuild our city, we know that spending time with family and enjoying visiting the park and zoo will help build new memories for generations to come.”

City tourism leaders echoed Forman’s optimism, saying the reopening of Audubon Zoo will spark a return of families to New Orleans. “This is a major step toward the rebirth of New Orleans,” said Stephen Perry, President of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Every day brings new revitalization and having one of the nation’s top zoos ready to welcome people back to our city sends a powerful message that New Orleans is open for business.”

The first official visitors to the zoo were 39 first graders from a local elementary school.

“Before Katrina, National Geographic Traveler and Yahoo!Travel named New Orleans the #1 destination in America for family travel. The fabulous Audubon Nature Institute attractions were a major force behind this designation. By announcing the upcoming reopening of Audubon Zoo today, the world will know that New Orleans is welcoming families back to our city,” said Sandra S. Shilstone, President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

Audubon facilities will reopen throughout the next few months, beginning with Audubon Zoo and Audubon Golf Course. More details can be found at http://www.auduboninstitute.org/ .

Audubon Nature Institute has a total economic impact of $330 million, and operates nine parks and museums in New Orleans dedicated to Celebrating the Wonders of Nature, including Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy IMAX(R) Theatre, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Wilderness Park, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Park.

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