*** To catch up on COVID-19 related news for restaurants and local businesses, please check out our archives here ***
Many family friendly activities are about to re-open in the coming weeks. We set aside three that we intend to check out this summer.
Sedgwick County Zoo
Upon reopening, the most notable difference will be scheduled admission for all guests. Tickets must be purchased online prior to arrival, allowing not only for the total daily capacity to be limited, but also for guests to be evenly spaced throughout the day. Members, who enjoy unlimited free visits, will also be required to reserve tickets online using their member ID.
Tickets will be sold in half-hour blocks from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Zoo Members and senior citizens will have the opportunity to purchase early bird tickets at 8 and 8:30 a.m. A limited number of tickets will be sold during each block. Guests may arrive anytime within their scheduled 30-minute block. Once inside the Zoo, the duration of their visit is not limited to a certain amount of time.
Increased Sanitization and Safety Measures
Guests will be encouraged to wear masks, with the opportunity to purchase masks upon entry if needed. Hand sanitizing stations will be added, restrooms will be cleaned every 2 hours, and a “Clean Team” will be focused on routinely disinfecting frequent touchpoints. Zoo staff will be required to wear masks and other appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
Social distancing inside the Zoo will be encouraged with markers in high-traffic exhibit areas and capacity inside buildings will be monitored and limited based on square footage. Paths throughout the Zoo will include directional suggestions, with a goal of keeping guests moving in one direction.
Alterations to Zoo Experience
Additional limitations will be put in place in order to ensure the safety of everyone at the Zoo. Keeper Chats, Animal Extras, and Wild Encounters will not take place. Playgrounds, water fountains, and Farms contact yards will be closed. The Beastro and other restaurants will operate from outdoor service windows only. Attractions including boat rides, giraffe feedings, and trams will be closed. These restrictions will begin to be lifted in the final phases of the reopening plan.
Due to the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from humans to great apes, the KOCH Orangutan & Chimpanzee Habitat and the Downing Gorilla Forest will be closed.
Timeline for Phased Opening
Monday, May 18: Soft open, MEMBERS ONLY
Thursday, May 21: Open to the public
The Zoo will reopen for members only on Monday, May 18. This “soft open” will give Zoo staff time to troubleshoot and respond to any issues that may arise with the new scheduled admission procedure.
On Thursday, May 21, the Zoo will reopen to the public, with a total daily capacity of 1,000.
Tickets will go on sale at scz.org on Monday, May 11.
Monday, June 1
Daily capacity will increase to 2,000 guests.
Final phases will be determined based on ongoing guidance from State government, Sedgwick County, and local health officials
Tanganyika Wildlife Park
The Wildlife Park reopened last week on May 4 and will have their hours from 10am to 4pm. They will also be doing a phased approach.
From their website:
We plan to open the Park in phases as we work to put in place extra precautions to ensure the safety of our animals, guests, and team. don’t have the slightest idea. Below are a basic timeline and description of the phases.
Phase 1 (May 4th – May 8th)
We will reopen the park for admission only for named season pass holders and their guest passes. There will be no encounters stations open. Also, the pavilion deli, Kangabrew Coffee shop, and the gift shop will be closed. We know many of you are excited to visit the Park, so we have set up an online reservation system to spread out the visitation times. and limit the number of guests in the Park. We don’t want everyone showing up at 10 am to see our fabulous animals. The tickets will be free for season pass holders.
Phase 2 (May 9th – TBD)
We will begin selling general admission and encounter passes to the Park for anyone; All-Access passes will still be unavailable. We will have a few encounter stations open, and we will begin to offer some of our animal experiences (i.e. Penguin Swim, Otter Meet & Greet, etc.) The pavilion deli will open and the gift shop will be available in some form. All tickets will need to be made via the online reservation system to ensure our guest arrival and visitations are still spread out and that the Park doesn’t get too crowded.
Phase 3 (TBD)
All admission levels will be available and all encounter stations will be open. Park hours will return to normal. All wildly different experiences will be available. The gift shop will be fully open as will all food services. We will continue to use the online reservation system to ensure proper social distancing until further notice.
Why is the first phase only for season pass holders? We are opening exclusively for our Season Pass holders as a special thank you for their support through this difficult time. We know zoos that have had to lay off half their team and even some smaller zoos like us that have had to close permanently. It’s because they chose to purchase a pass and stick with us that we are able to provide top-notch care for our animals and make it through this difficult period together. In other words, it’s a huge thank you to all of our season pass holders because they are amazing.
What precautions will you be taking? We will be following the recommendations put forth by the CDC, state, and local health officials. That is why we are phasing our opening, requiring online reservations, scheduling extra cleanings of bathrooms and public spaces, wearing masks and gloves when appropriate, etc.
How will online reservations work? We want to avoid everyone showing up at one time and a large crowd forming, so we have staggered the entry times and required everyone to reserve a time. For the general public, they will purchase tickets online like they normally would. We have set up a special site for season pass holders, so they can reserve an entry time for the day they want to visit (Please have the primary account holder check their email). Currently, we are allowing 50 people per 30 minutes to enter the Park. However, you are allowed to stay as long as you like or until closing, whichever comes first. As the number allowed increases, we will update this blog.
Field Station: Dinosaurs
The Dino Park in Derby, KS will be reopening June 1. Their trails & shows will be open from 10am to 6pm and Jurassic Golf will be open from 10am to 9pm.
For more, you can check out their website:
Have some news to share? Please email us with your information for consideration. We are always open to suggestions.
Want to help support the continuing content of Wichita By E.B.?