After closing its doors in August 2010, the Nassau County-operated on the Seaford-Massapequa border reopened to the public this past Saturday after renovations and the addition of a new animal exhibit and outdoor classroom.
Located on the historic 84-acre Tackapausha Preserve, the museum offers an educational showcase of the ecology of Long Island along with animal exhibits and interactive shows and activities for children. The 3,000-square foot museum was set to reopen in January, but when no sign of restoration was in sight by the next month, local residents banded together through the formation of a for the community landmark.
Saturday's grand opening event attracted more than 100 visitors as well as elected officials who were proud to see such an important part of the area's history open again to the public.
"I lived in Seaford for 25 years before moving to Bellmore and the museum was always a landmark," said Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla. "The kids in our community will now truly realize how much history there is here."
"One thing I always say, and I think it's especially true in government, is that nothing worthwhile is ever easy," Bonilla added. "This took a lot of work and a good number of people, but it came out phenomenal."
Kelly Capolongo, head of animal care at the Tackapausha Museum and Preserve, said she was happy to see how many people care about the role the facility plays in the community.
"Besides having 84 acres of natural history, we do educational programs with the schools and we work very closely with the boy scouts and girl scouts," she explained. "It was great to see more than 100 people show up and support."
Along with colleagues, Capolongo hosted live animal shows for Saturday's guests and introduced the new nocturnal creature wing. The museum is now open permanently Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and teens and $2 for children ages 5-12.