SALISBURY – The Salisbury Zoo will open during the weekends throughout the month of July.
The zoo will be open Friday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m. throughout the month.
“After a variety of discussions with associates from other zoos and our own keepers, we’ve come up with a few alterations to our normal routine,” Zoo Director Leonora Dillon said. “All of these are being put in place with the safety of our animals, our keepers and of course the public in mind.”
The Salisbury Zoo closed to the public this spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, the zoo has increased its online presence with virtual programs and social media interactions.
Now, the zoo will enter its first phase of reopening with several safety and social distancing measures.
Masks or face coverings will be required, and hand-sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the zoo. Officials have also created a map for one-way foot traffic and have blocked off a few paths to select animal exhibits.
“We are aware there will be a lot of guests that want to watch our Andean Bears, especially Sinchi,” Dillon said. “We’ve created viewing stations at the exhibit to help family groups to be able to safely space out and view.”
Dillon noted the zoo has also established two timeframes during which guests can visit.
“This allows us to easily control the number of people in the zoo at one time as well as provide us time between the groups to sanitize areas easily,” she said. “We will have set times within the ‘open’ timeframes where we will sanitize the bathrooms.”
Dillon said expanding hours of operation will largely depend on public cooperation and case numbers.
“We want to have guests come back to the zoo and us be able to resume some version of our normal routines,” she said. “We know we have animals that like to people watch as much as the guests like to watch the animals so they will love getting to see all the guests. ….”
Dillon encouraged the community to come visit the zoo.
“We have been told the zoo is a place where people reconnect a little with nature, a safe place they can come with the family and get to see some beautiful animals, an escape from the normal routine,” she said. “We want to provide that opportunity for our community. With the respect of our guests following safety precautions, we hope everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy our little slice of nature.”