Philadelphia Zoo Ready to Reopen in Green Phase

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Zoo is getting ready to welcome families back in a few short weeks.

Once the city enters the green phase, the zoo says it gets the green light to reopen.

"This might be one of the most exciting things we've ever been able to do," said Dani Hogan, the manager of education programs at the zoo.

One of the biggest changes the zoo made is in ticketing. Customers will have to pre-register online and reserve a time and date. The zoo says that's how it plans to keep a cap on how many people are inside.

"Because we have so much acreage for you to be able to spread out, it's going to feel like you have the zoo to yourself," said Hogan.

The capacity limit is set at 2,000 people, but the zoo says with 42 acres, it should never feel crowded.

"The outdoor gardens and experiences will be open and available so you'll be able to walk through the zoo at your own pace and your own leisure in whatever direction you choose as long as you adhere to social distancing," said Hogan.

Staff will also be circling the grounds reminding people to social distance.

"I know we're all pretty familiar with what six feet looks like, but it never hurts to have some additional reminders," said Hogan.

There will be other changes for safety as well. Masks will be required for anyone over the age of eight, indoor exhibits like the small mammal house will be closed, and hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the park.

The zoo estimates it lost between $12 million and $15 million during the shutdown, and it's excited to welcome people back. The staff believes it's one of the safest places people can be.

"There is an abundance of studies that state that being outside with your family is an incredibly healthy experience and helps us all increase our physical, emotional and mental health," said Hogan.

Zoo members will be able to come back starting July 6. It will open to general public on July 9.
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