KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville is reopening Monday, May 18 after being closed for two months. It's implementing new safety precautions to protect families.
The zoo will be open for passive use only in this phase. Guests are able to walk through the zoo on designated paths, but buildings and playground areas will remain closed off.
The zoo recommends families wear masks while visiting to protect other visitors as well as staff members who care for the animals.
Tina Rolen, Zoo Knoxville spokesperson, said the staff and animals are excited to have people back, but it will be a group effort to make sure everyone stays safe.
"You'll see that we've tried to think of everything we can to make it as normal a visit as possible," Rolen said. "That's why we're so happy to offer the community a little feeling of normalcy at this time"
The staff installed more than 30 hand sanitizing stations as well as placed social distancing stickers all throughout the property to remind guests to stay at a safe distance from others.
Areas where people are typically allowed to ride camels and fee giraffes will remain closed during the first phase of reopening. Glass enclosures have barriers set up to discourage people from touching the surface and getting too close.
Zoo Knoxville is limiting the number of people allowed in the zoo at one time. Guests will be required to buy tickets online ahead of time.
"It's a great way to support your zoo by coming out for a visit and actually right now to say thank you because of the amazing concern and care that our community showed us during the closure we're offering a discounted ticket price right now too," Rolen said.
The zoo is offering tickets at a reduced price of $14.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 4-12 and seniors over 65. Kids 3 and under are free. Tickets and entry times can be purchased and reserved at www.zooknoxville.org.
Circle of Friends members and annual passholders will still get in free, but they must reserve their spot and time.
The ticket offices at the front of the zoo have transitioned to touchless service. When guests walk up, they will simply need to show the ticket confirmation on their phone to get in.