The in Seaford, which has been closed for about a year due to renovations, is expected to reopen in late September or early October, county officials said.
The wildlife museum, located on Washington Avenue, was closed on Aug. 16, 2010 and was originally scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2011, according to a press release put out by the museum last year.
The renovations included upgrading the electrical system, rehabilitating the plumbing, as well as removing asbestos, said Katie Grilli-Robles, a spokeswoman for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. She added that the project cost about $300,000.
The project first encountered delays when in-house staff was used to disassemble exhibits and displays.
“Due to the number of exhibits and displays, the disassembling project took longer than was originally anticipated,” said Grilli-Robles.
The project also experienced some Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) problems, she said.
“During the demolition phase, we began to discover that some vents and other HVAC items had to be revisited to meet some of the climate needs of the museum and the location of the exhibits,” she said. “This was only discoverable upon demolition.”
When the museum reopens, it will contain new exhibit cases and exhibits, Grilli-Robles said. Some of the new exhibits include a mural that depicts the four seasons and the animals that would make Long Island their habitat during these seasons. In addition, there is an interactive hollow tree and a variety of insect exhibits that did not exist before.
The project was funded with proceeds from hotel/motel monies, which are collected from taxes on visitors staying in hotel and motel rooms throughout Nassau County, Grilli-Robles said.
The museum is a 3,000-square-foot space with animal exhibits as well as activities for children. It offers a window into the varied natural habitats of Long Island, including plants and wildlife in different seasons. A popular exhibit features live animals in a reversed day-night cycle. The museum also provides educational programs.
Located behind the museum is the Tackapausha Preserve, the oldest preserve in the county. It’s an 84-acre tract of glacial outwash plain that serves as a wildlife sanctuary, consisting of wet, deciduous woods, swamps, streams and ponds, and a small well-drained grassy area reminiscent of the Hempstead Plains.
In addition to renovation work taking place inside the museum, improvements around Tackapausha's pond area with funds from the 2004 Environmental Bond Act passed by Nassau County voters. These planned improvements includes new pathways, lighting, benches, plantings, improvement to the pedestrian bridges and modification/repair of the inlet and outlet channels of the pond. A Nature Explore Playground that will serve as a hands on exploratory experience designed for children of all ages to learn about nature is also planned for construction adjacent to the museum with Bond Act funds in the coming month, according to Grilli-Robles.
A variety of small mammals and 170 species of birds, such as the ruby-throated hummingbird and the Egyptian fruit bats, have been seen at the preserve in the spring. These species live amongst the plentiful oak and maple forests, ponds and streams.
The preserve and museum are both operated by the Nassau County Department of Recreation. The county acquired the land in 1938 and since has been one of the most popular preserves on the South Shore. It was named after Chief Tackapausha of the Massapequa Band of Algonkian-speaking peoples.