Zoo Announces Plans for Phased Openings

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Zoo Announces Plans for Phased Openings

The Zoo has announced a phased approach to continue opening more areas and exhibits. These decisions are based on the most recent health and safety guidelines provided by the governor’s office. With capacity limits increasing to 10,000 for the Zoo as a whole and indoor spaces increasing to 50 percent of rated capacity, the Zoo is preparing to open indoor exhibits for guests. 

As the Zoo waits for official approval of building opening plans by the Douglas County Health Department, guests will begin to see changes next week. Two-way pedestrian traffic will be allowed on pathways, which also means the Main Entrance can be used for both entry and exit of the Zoo, while the North Gate will remain exit only for now. The Gift Shop will open and concessions will increase operations. Drinking fountains and water refill stations will remain unavailable, as well as the tram service. A limited supply of stroller, wagon, ECVs and wheelchair rentals will be available. Skyfari will begin operating on a limited schedule this weekend, with increased sanitation and cleaning.

“One careful step at a time in moving us forward is exciting for guests and staff,” said Dennis Pate, President and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “Much care and consideration has gone into our planning to keep the animals, visitors and staff safe and healthy at the Zoo.” 

A risk assessment of the animal areas has been completed. As a result, some changes are being made including additional Plexiglas barriers to keep the animals healthy. The Zoo will also be requiring masks for guests entering buildings to protect the animals. Children under five are exempt from this rule, as well as those who have medical concerns. The mask requirement is temporary and will depend on how well hospitals and policymakers are able to manage and treat COVID-19.

As additional areas and exhibits open next week, please check the Zoo’s website at OmahaZoo.com and social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for details and the most current schedule of available attractions and exhibits.

To limit contact, encourage social distancing and adhere to capacity requirements, guests will continue to make a reservation for a time to enter the Zoo in advance of their visit at OmahaZoo.com/Hours-and-Admission. Reservations can be made up to 2 days in advance of the visit. Timeslots are available every half hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. 

The Zoo is committed to the safety and well-being of our guests, animals, and employees, and will make changes as needed based on actual operating conditions and guidance from public health experts and elected officials. 

When the Zoo gates closed due to the Coronavirus crisis on March 16, 2020, dedicated staff continued to care for over 30,000 animals every day. Because of the closure, there is a significant revenue shortfall expected. In response, the Omaha Zoo Foundation has launched an Emergency Fund campaign to support ongoing Zoo operations. Members of the community who would like to contribute can visit the Zoo’s website, OmahaZoo.com.

Posted by Diane Kohout at 10:37 AM