Zoo and Mega Cavern open again after sinkhole scare

Louisville Zoo, Mega Cavern back open after sinkhole closed both for nearly two weeks

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A lot of Louisville families and out-of-town visitors are excited as two major city attractions - the Louisville Zoo and Mega Cavern - reopened after a giant sinkhole closed their doors for more than a week.

Parents lined up with their children to get zoo tickets on the Friday.
Parents lined up with their children to get zoo tickets on the Friday.

Engineers told the Mega Cavern the 90 yard by 60 yard sinkhole was likely caused by an overabundance of surface water eroding limestone.

Parents and kids WAVE 3 News talked to couldn’t wait to get back into the zoo and Mega Cavern, saying while the sinkhole was a shock to see on TV, they have no concerns about coming back.

As Moms with toddlers in strollers lined up for zoo tickets at 10 Friday morning, Mega Cavern visitors were already hitting the ropes after the popular attraction opened its doors at 8:30.

As for any fears over that massive sinkhole? None we could find, the reaction was just the opposite.

“I’d like to be able to walk back there and see what’s going on,” smiled mom Cynthia Haynes.

Haynes knew she couldn’t do that. The sinkhole is on unoccupied zoo property. But she’s not alone -- Mega Cavern co-owner Jim Lowry has gotten the question.

“Oh, yes,” Lowery said. “And right now it’s not accessible. You can’t see it and you can’t get anywhere near it because we have it all blocked off, but someday that might change.”

For now, Lowery said he’s thrilled to see guests back after losing some big business. He didn’t disclose numbers, but did say March is one of Mega Cavern’s busiest months. Still, they stayed closed this week as a courtesy to the zoo, so the two could re-open together.

Parents like Haynes are happy.

“It’s just amazing for them (children) to be seeing animals that they can’t see anywhere else,” she said. “They love learning about them, seeing them roam around and it’s just fun to get this new experience.”

Animals they plan to see are far from the sinkhole site.

The engineering reports indicated that over-abundance of water infiltrating the soil included heavy rains over recent years. It also noted there was also a concrete pipe discharging uncontrolled flow right above the area. The zoo has already plugged that pipe and built a diversion berm to direct surface run-off to Beargrass Creek.

Zoo officials are nearly finished with putting up fencing around the area as an added safety measure.

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