Well, 2020 sure hasn’t turned out like any of us thought it would. While my family is still taking pretty extreme precautions, I am happy that the world is starting to open back up so we can acclimate to the “new normal”. The long awaited summer weather is here in New England and I was absolutely thrilled to hear that Zoo New England was opening back up after their temporary closure in mid-March due to the global health pandemic.
After some “Member Appreciation Days”, both the Franklin Park Zoo and the Stone Zoo reopened to the general public on June 4th. We visited the Franklin Park Zoo this past Saturday and our visit was seamless.
New health and safety measures have been implemented to ensure everyone’s safety while visiting the zoo. These measures include online and timed ticketing, guest capacity limits, one-way paths to control guest flow, clearly designated 6-foot distance markers, enhanced cleaning protocols, more hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoos, and COVID-19 training for all staff.
Guests of the Zoo will be required to purchase tickets online for a designated time slot, and there will be no re-entry once admitted into the Zoo. Members are also required to reserve their time slot prior to their visit. Online tickets are available on their website: www.zoonewengland.org.
Both guests and staff are required to wear face coverings, and adhere to 6-foot social distancing while on Zoo grounds. Most all of the pathways at Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo are now one way with clear path markers for guests to follow. For the first phase of opening, guests can enjoy an Outdoor Safari Walk at the Zoos, but indoor buildings remain closed.
At Franklin Park Zoo, guests will be able to see the lions and tigers at the Kalahari Kingdom/Tiger Tales exhibit; red kangaroos and emus at the Outback Trail; the prairie dogs and red pandas at the Nature’s Neighborhoods Children’s Zoo; the zebras, ostrich and warthogs at Serengeti Crossing; the giraffes and Grevy’s zebra at the Giraffe Savannah, and much more.
At Stone Zoo, guests can see the flamingos and bush dogs at the Caribbean Coast; the black bears, arctic fox and reindeer in Yukon Creek; the snow leopards and markhor goats in the Himalayan Highlands, as well as the new pack of Mexican gray wolf brothers, North American river otters, white-cheeked gibbons and more.
While these have been challenging and unprecedented times, Zoo New England remains committed to their mission to protect and sustain the natural world for future generations. The Zoos’ animal care staff has been on grounds at Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo every day since the closure, providing healthy diets, enrichment activities, veterinary care, and the human interaction the animals look forward to when the gates are open.
To make sure you understand all the guidelines that the zoo is following this summer, please be sure to review the following FAQs before your visit: https://www.zoonewengland.org/franklin-park-zoo/re-opening-faq/