The San Diego Zoo is hosting ‘Preview Days’ as it prepares to open next weekend

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Zoo is getting ready to reopen its gates to visitors!

KUSI’s Jason Austell visited some of the animals on Good Morning San Diego to learn about the new protocols and what guests can expect as they finally get to walk back through the gates of the world famous San Diego Zoo.

The full press release detailing the reopening is below:

After being closed to guests since mid-March, San Diego Zoo Global has announced that the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park will reopen to the general public on Saturday, June 20th., ending the first major closure in the conservation organization’s 103-year history. Before the official reopening, the Zoo and Safari Park will hold a series of special Preview Days to express San Diego Zoo Global’s deep appreciation for its vast dedicated membership base and committed donors. These invitation-only preview events will begin this Sunday (June 14, 2020).

“We’re thrilled to once again welcome guests back to San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park for the first time in three months,” said Paul Baribault, president/CEO for San Diego Zoo Global. “There’s no better way to celebrate the occasion than to invite our faithful members and donors, who have been steadfast allies helping us by continuing to support our mission to save wildlife worldwide.”

Guests will have the opportunity to once again experience the wonders of wildlife with their families, stroll among diverse habitats, take part in fun, educational activities, and visit with a few of the Zoo and Safari Park’s newest residents—including koala joey Omeo, Andean bear cub Agapito and a 1-month-old pigmy hippo calf at the Zoo; and 3-month-old giraffe calf Zahara at the Safari Park. Guests are also encouraged to stay connected online by viewing the 13 available wildlife cams, including the new Hippo Cam presented by Mattel Playroom and Platypus Cam presented by Animal Crossing™: New Horizons game.

“Through both our wildlife sanctuaries, we offer an important service to the community by providing a safe outdoor experience that is family friendly, where they can learn about wildlife, connect with nature and find ways to join us on our mission to save species,” said Shawn Dixon, chief operating officer of San Diego Zoo Global. “Although the next visit by our guests may feel a bit different from their past treks through the Zoo and Safari Park, I’m confident our San Diego Zoo Global family—first-time guests, members, donors, volunteers and staff—will help us make ‘different’ great.”

To ensure a safe and healthy guest experience, Zoo and Safari Park officials have enacted an extensive range of temporary changes that comply with guidelines outlined by local and state health authorities. Both parks will resume operations in stages that will start with limited dining and shopping experiences, reducing the number of guests on grounds at a given time, increasing the number of handwashing and sanitizing locations, maintaining robust cleaning routines, adding one-way path modifications and barriers, encouraging the wearing of face coverings and observing social distancing practices. During the initial reopening phase, the Zoo’s Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Bus and Skyfari Aerial Tram, and the Safari Park’s Africa Tram will be unavailable. Activities that traditionally include larger numbers of guests—including some shows, tours and Safari experiences—will also be temporarily unavailable.

“As the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reopen to guests, it’s true that we will be faced with a new normal,” said Baribault. “However, within this new normal, I have no doubt we will be able to showcase our strength, our resilience, our dedication to community, and our continued mandate to save wildlife around the world. Welcome back!”

For more details on the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reopening—including yearly membership options and important information for guests planning their next visit—go to SanDiegoZoo.org/Reopen. To help maintain San Diego Zoo Global’s mission-based programs that save species around the world, go to SanDiegoZoo.org/Donate or SDZSafariPark.org/Donate. Those wishing to help via traditional mail can send a donation of any amount to San Diego Zoo Global, P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, CA 92112.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to over 1 billion people annually, reaching 150 countries via social media, our websites and the San Diego Zoo Kids network, in children’s hospitals in 12 countries. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible with support from our incredible donors committed to saving species from the brink of extinction.

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