WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Zoo is going to reopen May 21 after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The zoo is using a phased plan to reopen under state and local government guidelines with the goal to keep animals, employees and guests safe.
The first difference guests will notice involves admission. Both members and non-members will have to reserve tickets in advance online so the zoo can limit how many people are at the zoo at any given time. Tickets for members will still be free.
Tickets will be sold in half-hour blocks from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Zoo members and senior citizens will be able to get early-bird tickets at 8 and 8:30 a.m. Guests must arrive within their scheduled 30-minute block.
Once inside the zoo, there is no time limit for their visit.
Guests are encouraged to wear masks. The zoo will be selling masks.
The zoo is adding hand-sanitizing stations. Workers will clean restrooms every two hours and disinfect frequent touchpoints.
There will be markers in high-traffic areas to encourage social distancing. Paths will also include directional suggestions with the goal of keeping guests moving in one direction.
Some of the extras at the zoo won’t happen, like Keeper Chats, Animal Extras, and Wild Encounters. Playgrounds, water fountains, Farms contact yards, boat rides, giraffe feedings and trams will be closed.
The Beastro and other restaurants will operate from outdoor service windows only.
Due to the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from humans to great apes, the KOCH Orangutan & Chimpanzee Habitat and the Downing Gorilla Forest will be closed.
This is the timeline of the phased in opening:
Monday, May 11: Tickets will go on sale at scz.org
Monday, May 18: Soft opening for members only
Thursday, May 21: Open to the public with a total capacity of 1,000.
Monday, June 1: Daily capacity increases to 2,000 guests
Dates to be determined: the possible reopening of closed attractions/extras