LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Eager families lined up Tuesday to be some of the first guests at the L.A. Zoo, which has reopened to the public after being forced to shut down due to COVID in early December.
In order to reopen safely, significant changes have been made to operations and the ticketing process, with online reservations required for both guests and members to limit attendance.
"We have a 2400 person capacity each day with time ticketed entry, 400 persons per hour, every half hour entry," said Mei Kwan, the zoo's deputy director.
Reservations can be made on the zoo's website, LAZoo.org. That's where guests can select a date and a time, which becomes your 30-minute entry window. Once inside though, guests can stay as long as they want.
This and new traffic flows throughout the zoo will allow for physical distancing.
Face coverings are required for people two and up, except when eating or drinking.
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"Some of our spaces are closed, like our indoor lair building, the carousel, our play park, spaces that are difficult to keep safe and sanitary and then our outdoor dining is limited, 25% capacity and then indoor retail also has limited capacity," said Denise Verret, the zoo's CEO and director .
Although it's not the same experience, guests are happy to be one step closer to some kind of normalcy.
"As long as everybody's smart and follows the CDC rules for health you know, get through it," said Brian Kernan, a Burbank resident.
The zoo is open seven days a week with the last entry time daily at 3 p.m. Admission is $22 for adults and $17 for children between the ages of two and 12.
- Visitors should expect to be asked not to put their hands -- or noses -- against the glass
- An online reservation-based ticketing system for all visitors, including members
- Limited capacity within the zoo
- Face covering requirements for all staff and guests who are 2 years old and older (with animal-themed masks for sale in the gift shop)
- Enhanced cleaning procedures for high-contact surfaces and restrooms
- Hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo
- One-way traffic pathways throughout the zoo to allow for physical distancing among guests
- Signs reminding people to physically distance, as well as markers and physical barriers placed throughout the zoo
- The closure of high touch areas, including the Papiano Playpark, the contact yard at the Winnick Family Children's Zoo, and the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel
- The closure of indoor and enclosed exhibits
- The closure of indoor dining
- Suspension of in-person talks, presentations and events
For more, visit www.lazoo.org.
City News Service contributed to this report.