Central Florida Zoo welcomes guests with enhanced safety procedures

Visitors strongly encouraged to wear masks

SANFORD, Fla. – After being closed for nearly two months during the coronavirus pandemic, the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens reopened on Wednesday with enhanced safety procedures.

Modifications to the park include limited attendance to 50% of outdoor capacity, required online timed ticketing for all guests, one-way pathways, additional barriers around certain animal habitats and closure of indoor venues. Guests are also “strongly encouraged” to wear masks, officials said.

“We’re thrilled to be able to reopen following all state, local, CDC and Association of Zoos and Aquariums guidelines,” said Dino Ferri, CEO. “We want to be a place for the public to come, burn off that cabin fever and just get back to a little bit of normalcy.”

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Betty Greene and her brother were among the first to arrive as the park opened at 10 a.m.

"Just being out is great. Enjoying the fresh air, being able to see the animals and seeing different faces," she said.

The changes were obvious for families as they walked through the zoo entrance.

“They are taking their precautions and we’re going to take as much precautions as much as we can,” Greene said. “I think it’ll be a good thing, as long as everyone else abides by the rules.”

Prior to the zoo’s closure on March 14, additional antibacterial hand sanitizer dispensers were placed at key exit and entry points throughout the zoo. Additional signage to promote handwashing and best hygiene practices has also been posted throughout the park.

Currently, the zoo opens an hour early on Tuesdays from 9-10 a.m. to accommodate vulnerable guests.

The zoo operates at reduced hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow for additional cleaning and sanitation.

Zoo officials said the precautions are temporary and subject to change at any time based on the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local leaders.

For more information on what’s reopening in Seminole County, click here.

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