Powell, OH – The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is pleased to welcome back Columbus Zoo Members beginning on June 12, 13, and 14, and all guests starting on June 15. 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 has been closed to the public since March 16 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and to support efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus within the community. Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that Ohio zoos could reopen beginning June 10. The Columbus Zoo will use June 10 and 11 to provide more time to hire and train seasonal staff.
“From the kind messages and financial gifts we received to facial coverings made by our dedicated volunteers, we have been deeply moved by the support we have received from members of our community during our closure. We look forward to welcoming our guests again and continuing to work together in making a positive difference in saving wildlife and wild places,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.
In accordance with local, state and federal health and safety guidelines regarding COVID-19, and as part of the Zoo’s continued commitment to the well-being of guests, staff and the animals, the Columbus Zoo is implementing carefully-planned and enhanced protocols and procedures that also still allow for an enjoyable and memorable wildlife experience.
Some of these modifications include:
Timed Ticketing. All Zoo visits will now require a dated, timed ticket, including all Members. Tickets must be pre-purchased or pre-registered online prior to date of visit. Each ticket will also have an entry timeslot. To help minimize crowds in our entrance plaza, guests cannot arrive prior to their timeslot to enter the Zoo. Timed tickets will be available for purchase beginning immediately so guests can begin planning their visit starting June 15 and beyond.
Experiencing the Outdoors! With more than 3 miles of open-air pathways available and admission at a limited capacity, this will allow our guests to be able to maintain social distancing. The majority of the outdoor habitats and viewing areas will be open and available to guests. Some modifications have been implemented, including spacing in front of viewing windows to minimize contact with glass surfaces, and removal of some seating and objects to encourage guest flow and social distancing. One-way direction has been instituted in certain Zoo regions that contain smaller pathways. If a viewing area is too narrow and social distancing is not possible, then that viewing area will be closed. Some indoor habitats and areas may be open during the Zoo’s reopening while animal encounters, some rides, trams, playgrounds, group programs and events, and interactive stations will be unavailable at times. Availability is subject to change due to operational considerations.
Health and Wellness. Face coverings will be mandatory for all Zoo team members in accordance with state regulations. Face coverings for our guests are highly encouraged, but not required. Employees’ temperatures will be checked daily before beginning work at the Zoo. At this time, guest temperature checks will not be required prior to entering the Zoo; however, we ask that guests stay home if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms outlined through by area health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 50 hand sanitizing stations and 14 sets of restrooms are available throughout the park to encourage handwashing and personal hygiene. All restroom facilities and high-touch surfaces, including picnic tables, benches, railings and trash cans, will be frequently disinfected throughout the operating day. Additionally, all rental equipment (strollers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters) will be disinfected before and after each use.
Care and Cooperation. While guests’ visit to the Zoo will look different, these policies and procedures are in place to provide a safe and fun experience for all guests. The health and safety of our guests, employees, volunteers and the more than 10,000 animals in our care remain the Zoo’s top priority and we appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation in helping us with these efforts.
Full details about the Columbus Zoo’s reopening plan and guidelines can be found on the Zoo’s Reopening Plan page on the Zoo’s website. For additional updates about the animals, events and more, be sure to follow the Zoo’s social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
In addition to the Columbus Zoo, two of the three other properties also managed by the Zoo—the Safari Golf Club and The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio, are open. Reopening details can also be found at SafariGC.com andTheWilds.org. The waterpark, Zoombezi Bay, does still intend to open this season once approval is announced by Governor DeWine to do so. Updates will continue to be provided as they become available.