Nightly News   |  April 05, 2013

Hit by Hurricane Sandy, NY Aquarium now poised to reopen

In the immediate aftermath of the storm the staff at the aquarium on Coney Island boardwalk had to come up with creative ways to keep the animals safe in the face of no power but now they’re preparing to welcome the public once more. NBC’s Katy Tur reports.

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>>> finally tonight, as we mentioned earlier, those up and down the still crippled parts of the east coast five months after hurricane sandy are hungry for signs of recovery. we have found some coming back, returning home, including those with gills and whiskers. our report tonight from coney island and nbc's katy tur.

>> reporter: they may not be the most graceful at times. but you can't question their dedication. the new york aquarium and all of its creatures are in a mad rush for the partial re-opening may 25, seven months after super storm sandy nearly wiped it off the map. walk around the beach front amusement and for a moment you will feel it's frozen in time. halloween decorations, water pooled on storms and windows into what were once worlds of wonder still blurred by dirt. john dolan is the director.

>> in the immediate after math of the storm i thought we lost everything.

>> reporter: with no power staffers were forced to improvise. salt water mixed in cans. a baby walrus found orphaned and nearly dead off the coast of alaska arrived here weeks before sandy when 14 feet of water floodeded everything. he rode it out in a hallway with a trainer. was he okay? was it nerve wracking for him?

>> at the time we stayed really calm. you know. just focused attention on him. playing with him throughout the duration. so i think he did pretty well.

>> reporter: the aquarium on coney island 's famous board walk is estimated to bring in $58 million a year. these sea creatures are the area's biggest attraction. today didn't think, oh, finally a vacation here.

>> i don't think they did. i think they missed people.

>> reporter: and the people have missed them.

>> wave!

>> reporter: katy tur, nbc news, coney island , new york.