BY EMILY DAVENPORT
After months of being closed down due to COVID-19, the city’s zoos and aquarium finally have a reopening date.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) zoos and aquarium announced plans to reopen the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo on Friday, July 24. From July 20 to 23, there will be special preview days for WCS members only.
The New York City Region is scheduled to enter New York State’s Phase 4 on Monday, July 20, barring any new directives from New York State. Should the city be deemed not ready for Phase 4, the reopening date will be adjusted.
“One of the best things about what we do is introducing people to animals and nature and we have missed that during the closure.” said Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny. “The pandemic continues to impact our communities and our country. We are pleased that the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium and our other parks will again serve as retreats where guests can connect with animals and nature when we open on July 24 after being closed for 130 days.”
All outdoor and ground exhibits will be open, as well as major indoor exhibits. Masks or face coverings will be required all zoos and the aquarium for all visitors ages 3 and up.
To ensure the safety of guests, the zoos and aquariums will be limiting capacity and tickets must be purchased ahead of time for a specific date and time. Tickets will not be sold at the gates. At the Bronx Zoo, tickets will be sold for entry at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. At the other parks, entry time slots will be sold on the hour all day until closing. The Bronx Zoo’s traditional Free Wednesday will begin on July 29, and will still require advanced ticketing online.
Social distancing measures will be put in place in all the parks, and will be monitored on lines, in stores, and at food concessions. Day camp and education programs will be available online, and cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the park system.
Starting July 24 and through Labor Day, healthcare workers will receive free admission at any of the zoos and aquarium. Health care heroes can use promo code HERO2020 and need to bring healthcare identification cards to show at the gates. Healthcare workers can get tickets on the WCS website.
“We will follow all guidelines from New York State and if we need to adjust plans for our opening date, we will. We are hopeful that all the city’s COVID-19 indicators will continue to improve, ensuring New York City will continue on its path to reopening,” said Breheny.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the WCS website.
This story first appeared in amny.com.