CINCINNATI, OH (June 4, 2020) – Governor Mike DeWine announced this afternoon that Ohio Zoos could reopen as soon as June 10. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, which has been closed since March 15, has been working on a phased reopening plan for several weeks and is excited and ready to welcome guests, starting with members, on that Wednesday. New protocols, including the implementation of reserved entry times to limit the number of people coming into the Zoo at one time, have been put in place to provide the safest possible environment for staff, guests, and animals.
“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome visitors back,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “They have missed this place, and we have missed them. Fiona is ready to greet her adoring fans!”
In phase one of reopening, maximum visitor capacity will be reduced by 50-75% and reservations will be required. During the first week of operations, only members (with reservations) will be allowed to enter. After that, a limited number of general admission tickets may be reserved online. All tickets must be purchased/reserved online in order to manage attendance and provide a touchless transaction. Reservation confirmations will include a specific time to arrive and information about where to park, wait, and enter the Zoo.
“It might be a while before visitors can see reptiles, insects, manatees and other animals in indoor habitats, but there’s still plenty to see and do here while walking around the grounds,” said Maynard. “Just being outside in the Zoo’s natural setting offers mental and physical health benefits.”
Visitors will be able to enjoy the beauty of the botanical garden and see their favorite animals in their outdoor habitats, but indoor spaces and rides will be closed. There will be walk-up-window food offerings with line markers in place to help people stay a zebra length apart! New mobile food ordering option will allow touchless transactions with food pickup at Hops.
“Face coverings will be required for Zoo employees and recommended for visitors,” said Maynard. “The more we do to keep each other safe and healthy, the sooner we can welcome more visitors back.
Being closed for 2 ½ months has had a significant financial impact on the Zoo due to loss of admissions, food and retail, rides, corporate events such as meetings and picnics, membership, school field trips, camps and special events, and it’s going to take a while to recover from that. Nearly ½ million people would have visited the Zoo from Mid-March through early June.
The Zoo is actively engaging with local health officials and following state guidelines. It will amend protocols for staff and visitors and remain adaptive as the situation evolves. Visit the Zoo’s Reopening FAQ page for more information about pricing, reservations and entry procedures.