Most of the visitor attractions that did experience damage are located south of Miami near the path taken by the hurricane. Biscayne and Everglades national parks which were both in Andrew's path, remain closed because of damage to facilities and the lack of utilities.
Immediately after the storm, park officials estimated the parks would be reopened in about two months. But now they fear it may take longer. They expect to make a new estimate sometime this week, according to Jim Howard of park service's southeastern regional office in Atlanta.At Biscayne, a new $8 million visitor center and maintenance facility was about 80 percent completed before Andrew hit, but it may have been totally destroyed. As many as 100 families of park employees who lost their homes in the hurricane are temporarily sheltered in the parks.
At the western end of Everglades. the visitor center at Everglades City is closed because the staff is assisting in recovery efforts. Boating and tour concessionaires outside the park are operating. Metrozoo, a city zoo set in lavish gardens, lost trees and shrubs as well as some of its structures. Some animals have been transported to other zoos for safekeeping.
The zoo "was terribly damaged," says Merrett R. Stierheim, president of the convention and visitors bureau, and it isn't expected to open for at least six months or longer.
On Key Biscayne, a lush, flatland island linked by bridge to Miami, some hotels had water damage. The eight-story Sonesta Beach Hotel does not expect to reopen until Dec. 15. At Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area, a popular beach destination, many of the trees are down, and the beach and other facilities are expected to be closed for several months.
The Seaquarium a 50-acre tropical marine garden, suffered uprooted trees and damage to its canopies and other structures. It hopes to reopen by Thanksgiving. Parrot Jungle and Gardens, a tropical jungle that is home to 1,200 exotic birds, was expected to reopen this weekend. Andrew caused about $1.5 million in damage to the gardens, but all the parrots and other animals as well as many rare plant species survived.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens expects to reopen by the first of October. The museum, an elaborate 34-room villa filled with antiques, was not damaged, but trees and statuary in the classical garden were toppled. Fairchild Tropical Gardens, a lakeside botanical-research center, is littered with the fallen branches of trees and plants that made it one of America's most spectacular tropical gardens. A massive clean-up is under way, and the gardens is expected to reopen about Oct. 3.