Animal lovers can once again look forward to visiting their finned, furred, and feathered friends at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham.
Zoo New England announced Tuesday that both facilities will reopen in June with new health and safety measures in place. Like many zoos across the globe, they opted to close in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both facilities plan to reopen to the general public on Thursday June 4. However, the process will be done in stages.
During the first phase, indoor displays and play structures will remain off-limits, and strollers and wheelchairs will not be available for rental. While the bathrooms will be open, there will be a max capacity limit monitored by a staff member.
“Care is at the heart of everything we do here at Zoo New England, and our team has been spending a lot of time over the past many weeks planning for how to re-open as safely as possible to protect the health and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and animals,” said John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England, in a press release.“
Which animals can you expect to see during Phase One?At Franklin Park Zoo: lions, tigers, giraffes, red kangaroos, emus, prairie dogs, red pandas, zebras, ostrich, warthogs, and more.
"Both Franklin Park and Stone Zoo offer expansive outdoor spaces with plenty of room for social distancing while learning about many of the incredible species that call our Zoos home," Linehan said. "While all of our animals have continued to receive excellent care during the closure, both our staff and animals have missed our guests, and we are all very excited to open our gates to visitors once again with new protocols in place.”
Additional changes you can expect during your zoo visit include designated time slots, groups no larger than 10 people, and no re-entry. Guests age two and up must wear face coverings, remain six feet apart, and follow a marked one-way path through the zoo.
Grab-&-Go food items will be available via a walk-up window at Franklin Park Zoo, but there will be no indoor seating and outdoor seating will be limited.
According to Zoo New England, the staff have completed COVID-19 training and will follow a new “strict” cleaning schedule for high-contact surfaces and restrooms.
They are also required to wear face coverings, and have their temperature checked each day when they report to work.
Ready to head back to the zoo? Get your online tickets here.