A much different Toronto Zoo reopens to the public today after months-long closure
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Saturday, July 4, 2020 9:57AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 4, 2020 2:49PM EDT
The Toronto Zoo will reopen to the public today but it will look a little different with visitors required to purchase timed tickets in advance and stick to a one-way trail when on the grounds.
The zoo closed to the public back on March 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remained completely off-limits to visitors for more than two months.
On May 23 it launched a new drive-thru program dubbed the “Scenic Safari” in order to welcome back some visitors but there was a strict policy preventing people from leaving their vehicles and there was only a limited number of tickets available.
Today the zoo will open its doors for the general public again, becoming one of the first major tourist attractions in the city to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CN Tower has said that it will reopen on July 15th while the Royal Ontario Museum has announced plans to reopen to members on July 9 and the general public on July 11.
The Art Gallery of Ontario reopened to members this week but isn’t scheduled to open for the general public until July 23.
“Our mission is connecting people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction but it gets really hard to do that when you don’t have any people coming through your door,” Toronto Zoo CEO Dolf DeJong told CP24 on Saturday morning. “We are really excited to get guests back into our zoo.”
DeJong said that zoo is being “really diligent” about monitoring the number of people it lets onto its grounds at any one time and for that reason is requiring all visitors to book their tickets in advance for a specific admission time.
He said that zoo goers will also be expected to use a one-way path that goes around the interior of the zoo grounds, connecting with a number of major pavilions and exhibits.
“It will allow guests to hop into buildings and go on some side trails but really uses our massive physical site to help ensure that physical distancing and minimize folks being in close proximity to each other,” DeJong said.
While the zoo itself is open a number of amenities remain closed, including its splash pad, all of its rides and its most of its gift shops.
All zoo goers will also be required to wear a face masks when indoors in keeping with a city bylaw that will go into effect on Tuesday.