ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WLNS) – Lions and tigers and face masks and appointments and limited capacity, oh my! The Detroit Zoo is about to reopen after being in hibernation for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. These are the noticeable changes you’ll see on your next visit.
Members only: The zoo will first reopen to members only by reservation on Monday, June 8. Memberships have been automatically extended by the Detroit Zoo for three months. If you don’t have a membership, you can purchase one here.
Reservations: All members must schedule a time slot before visiting the Zoo due to new capacity limits. You can make reservations beginning on Friday on the Zoo’s website here. For the first few weeks, members will only be able to make reservations for the people currently listed on their membership. General visitor ticket reservations will open up early next week for visits June 12 onward. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance.
After scheduling the visit, members will receive an email with their digital ticket, safety details and digital map of the Zoo. There will be no paper maps provided.
Limited capacity: A maximum of 1,000 guests per day will be allowed into the Zoo with no more than 500 guests permitted on grounds at any one time. This is phase one of the Zoo’s reopening. Eventually, general admission guests will be able to book a timed ticket when capacity is increased to 2,000 people per day.
Health measures: You must wear a mask or you won’t be allowed inside. That rule is for all visitors ages 2 and older. If you forget to bring yours, masks will be available for purchase at the gate. You’ll also be asked to follow posted routes and maintain social distancing.
Parking and entering: Parking will be available in the surface lots and only the ground level of the parking structure so you won’t need to touch elevator controls or stair rails. The members-only entrance at Rackham Fountain is currently closed. All guests must enter through the main admission gates at the front of the Zoo.
Entry booths will be in single-lines only with physical distancing markers keeping individuals or groups six feet apart. The attendant will scan your ID and membership before your digital or printed timed ticket.
Food and gifts: Buddy’s Pizza will be open with seating allowing for social distancing of at least 10 feet between groups. Walkup food locations: Pure Greens, Boardwalk Station, American Coney Island, Dippin’ Dots and Cup & Cone, will also be open. The Zoofari Market will be closed, but there will be outdoor kiosk carts for merchandise, and online ordering is also available.
Cleaning and sanitizing: Enhanced cleaning procedures will be in place with employees disinfecting areas regularly around the Zoo. There will be 50 (with 100 soon) accessible hand sanitizing and handwashing stations located at the entry booths and throughout the zoo.
Temporary closed areas: All outdoor areas of the Zoo are accessible with the exception of the playgrounds. Indoor viewing areas, including but not limited to the Barn, Wildlife Interpretive Gallery and the Butterfly Garden, will be unavailable to guests in the beginning. The Holtzman Wildlife Foundation Red Panda Forest canopy walkway, prairie dog bubbles, and giraffe viewing deck will be closed. When the Tauber Family Railroad opens, it will operate with modifications at a reduced capacity. Other rides will open in phases.
Restrooms: The facilities will have exterior doors propped open. Attendants will be monitoring capacity limits and disinfecting the restrooms regularly. Every other toilet stall and urinal will be unavailable.
Events and camps: All public events are canceled or postponed through at least mid-July.
Leaving: The Zoo asks that you properly dispose of your gloves, masks and other personal items in the waste receptacles.
This article is adapted from MLive.