Cincinnati Zoo reopens for members only, Columbus Zoo to reopen Friday

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Fiona's 3rd birthday is on Jan. 24, 2020. The world-famous hippo celebrated in style.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden rolled out the red carpet for some of its members Wednesday, the first day it reopened since the COVID-19 shutdown that began in March.

During the first week of the zoo’s reopening, only members with reservations will be able to enter the Cincinnati Zoo. Starting June 17, general admission ticket holders with reservations will be able to visit.

“It’s clear that people are ready to come back to the Zoo,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard in a news release. “In fact, all of the available entry times for the first week that we’re open were snatched up by members within hours of making our reopening announcement! Don’t worry, there are more reserved spots available through the end of June.”

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will reopen for members on June 12-14 and all guests beginning June 15.

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Fiona - photo courtesy Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
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Fiona - photo courtesy Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

CINCINNATI ZOO

Throughout the first phase of the reopening process, maximum visitor capacity will be reduced by 50 to 75 percent and reservations will be required to enter, which can be made up to seven days in advance of your desired visit by heading to the zoo's website. Reservations will be limited and spaced 30 minutes apart to ensure that guests maintain appropriate social distancing. A specific time and and information about where to park, wait and enter the zoo will be included in the reservation.

The first group will be welcomed into the park at 9 a.m., while the last group will be allowed to enter at 4 p.m. The zoo will maintain these times and close at 5 p.m. every day of the week for the foreseeable future.

Members should bring digital membership or physical cards and ticket holders should have their printed tickets or eTickets ready when they arrive. The zoo will be unable to print any tickets for guests.

Indoor spaces, rides to remain closed

“It might be a while before visitors can see reptiles, insects, manatees and other animals in indoor habitats, but there’s still plenty to see and do here while walking around the grounds,” Maynard said in the release. “Just being outside in the Zoo’s natural setting offers mental and physical health benefits.”

Indoor spaces and rides will be closed, though visitors will still be able to see their favorite animals in their outdoor habitats.

Food/Drink

There will also be walk-up window food offerings with line markers in place to help people maintain appropriate social distancing. Mobile food ordering will also allow for touchless transactions with food pickup at Hops.

Beginning June 10, the Cincinnati Zoo and other wildlife centers in the area will begin reopening their gates to visitors with new procedures in place to protect the health of guests and animals.
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Beginning June 10, the Cincinnati Zoo and other wildlife centers in the area will begin reopening their gates to visitors with new procedures in place to protect the health of guests and animals.

Face Masks

“Face coverings will be required for Zoo employees and recommended for visitors,” said Maynard. “The more we do to keep each other safe and healthy, the sooner we can welcome more visitors back.”

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Parking

Visitors should park in the surface lot on the corner of Vine St. and Louis Ave. The new walk-in entrance is located on Erkenbrecher Ave.

For more information about the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's reopening strategy and their new policies in place, pay a visit to their website and Facebook page.

THE COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM 

The zoo will reopen for members only June 12-15 and all guests June 15, with reserved tickets required. The zoo will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., and all zoo visits (including for Members) will require a dated, timed ticket to help ensure that social distancing and other precautions are followed appropriately, the zoo shared on its website and social media Friday morning.

“Your visit to the Zoo will look different, but know that these new policies and procedures are there to provide a safe and fun experience for all of our guests. The health and safety of our guests, employees, volunteers and the more than 10,000 animals in our care remain our top priority and we thank you for helping us with these efforts.,” according to the website.

Advanced tickets/reservation times required

— Visitors must have a dated, timed ticket to enter, including members. All tickets must be purchased in advance prior to the date of visit. There will be no day-of ticket sales.

— Columbus Zoo Members can select reservation times of: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Other guests can select reservation times of: 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

— On Wednesdays, the Zoo will offer a “high risk” time slot and be open from 9-11 a.m. for guests with high-risk considerations, such as senior citizens or immuno-compromised individuals.

— Only one date and timeslot can be booked at a time. The maximum party size is 10.

— Tickets can be purchased up to three weeks in advance. If changes need to be made to a reservation, this must be done over the phone by calling the Zoo at (614) 645-3400.

— Guests will be asked by pay be credit card as much as possible to reduce handling of cash.

— Outdoor habitats and viewing areas will be open with modifications to adjust spacing and improve flow. Gorilla viewing will be pass through only.

— One-way direction has been implemented in smaller areas.

— Some indoor viewing areas will be open, subject to change, with increased disinfecting and limits of the number of guests allowed inside at a time.

View a complete list of new policies and procedures here.