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Virginia Zoo will alter operations due to the pandemic, heat wave

‘Get wild’ with the Virginia Zoo’s GrowlFest 2018
Posted at 9:51 AM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 09:59:15-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Zoo says they've seen many visitors since its reopening in late June, however attendance numbers have apparently started to decrease as COVID cases and temperatures increase in Hampton Roads.

The Zoo will be adapting new operating procedures Saturday, August 1.

“We can ensure you the safety of our staff, animals and guests are our number one priority,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “As we learn more about the virus, watch local trends and deal with the circumstances Mother Nature gives us, we decided to make these proactive changes to our daily operations,” Bockheim added.

During its second stage, the Zoo is adhering to these guidelines:

  • The Zoo will still limit capacity – about 30 percent of its normal visitorship. All tickets must be purchased and reserved in advance for a specific time slot – this even applies to Zoo members. Reservations are available beginning at 10 am with the last reservation at 2 pm.
  • The Zoo will return to its original days of operation, opening to the public seven days a week. However, the new hours are 10 am to 4 pm. This allows for an added hour of deep cleaning without the public on grounds, in addition to the increased sanitizing measures the Zoo has already implemented. Member Mornings are happening through September 6, 2020 and allow Zoo Members an early 9 am entry to the Zoo on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are still required.
  • All Zoo staff and volunteers continue to wear masks while on grounds. Per mandated regulations in Virginia, all visitors ages 10 and up are required to wear a mask upon entry into the Zoo and indoors. When social distancing cannot be maintained on Zoo grounds and when within 6 feet of those from a different group, visitors are required to wear a face mask or face shield to protect all visitors, staff and volunteers.
  • Newly opened amenities with limited capacity include: Gift Shop, Africa Restaurant and the Zoo Train when weather permits. The Membership Office will soon offer a walk-up window to purchase memberships, allow pickup of cards and offer other assistance.

The World of Reptiles, ZooFarm, Enrichment Playground and Water Plaza are all still closed. Keeper Chats, ZooLive! Stage presentations and other animal encounters are postponed until further notice. Senior Wednesdays have been canceled.

Food and beverages can be purchased throughout the Zoo. Strollers and wheelchairs will also be available for rent on a first-come, first-serve basis. Run Wild! Nature Discovery Zone is open.

For more information on the opening status, updates and to reserve or purchase tickets, click here.