The Philadelphia Zoo reopens this week after pandemic shutdown

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The past few weeks have marked a slew of re-openings for many establishments in the Philadelphia area, and with the opening of doors also comes a plethora of new safety regulations and a “new normal’ way of being. That definitely is the case with the Philadelphia Zoo. The landmark cultural institution in the city reopened to members this past Monday and plans to open fully to the public this Thursday, July 9—but of course with new precautions and regulations in place to help keep everyone safe, healthy and happy. 

“We are thrilled to welcome our members and guests back to the Zoo,” says Vikram H. Dewan, the zoo’s President and CEO in a statement. “On the first visit back, guests will find that some of the procedures look a bit different, but with more than 1,300 rare and endangered animals in our care, and many visitors onsite, the enhanced procedures will help with maintaining a delightful, clean and safe experience.” 

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Members of the zoo will be the first to experience the fun with three full days open to check out everything the oldest zoo in the country has to offer before it officially becomes available to everyone. Tickets went on sale at the end of June for both members and the public, and although you do need to book before arriving in advance, you’re not out of luck if you still haven’t reserved your spot. 

Tickets can be reserved online and will come with specific time slots, so there isn’t an option to walk up and buy them on a whim such as before. However, this allows for the zoo to keep everyone at a safe distance while operating at limited capacity. Masks are also a requirement for everyone visiting the Zoo for ages 2+ and when walking throughout the grounds, social distancing will be enforced as well. 

What will guests be able to see when at the zoo? 

According to the release, Philadelphians who head to the popular destination will get to see all outdoor exhibits, including Zoo360, a first-in-the-world system of see-through trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways and connecting habitats, giving animals like big cats, primates and meerkats the opportunities to travel and explore. Visitors can also experience more grab and go food selections and touchless transactions at food locations like The Urban Green, Impala Plaza and Eagles’ Roost for mobile order scheduled pick-up as well as window service and Dippin’ Dots (as always, guests can also bring their own food to the zoo as well.) 

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However, there will be a few attractions at the zoo that for the time being, will remain closed such as indoor animal exhibits and attractions including the Rainforest Carousel, Wildworks Ropes Course, SEPTA PZ Express Train and Swan Boats. 

To help keep everything under control safety-wise as well, the zoo will be adding in touchless toilets, faucets, paper towel and soap dispensers; hand sanitizing stations throughout the campus; new procedures that allow public safety officers to check bags without touching and also a Clean Team of staffers dedicated to sanitizing and cleaning high touch areas.

“We are committed to creating a great environment for everyone. With 42-acres of beautiful gardens, the zoo is the perfect spot to connect with loved ones while enjoying the outdoors,” adds Dewan in the release. 

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If you still aren’t feeling up for a visit to the zoo, there are still ways that you can help the establishment from the comfort of your own home. According to the release, while closed to the public, the zoo launched the Spring Back Fund where supporters can help fund zoo operations, launched a new, limited-edition shirt and hoodie line purchased at dsgntree.com/philadelphia-zoo, and joined Cameo, a website and app that creates personalized videos starring the zoo’s famous penguin flock. To support the zoo directly, visit PhiladelphiaZoo.org/donate.

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