CORONAVIRUS

Hogle Zoo Reopens With Social Distancing Measures In Place

May 2, 2020, 7:34 PM | Updated: 7:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After six weeks, Utah’s Hogle Zoo reopened under revised Salt Lake County health guidelines, becoming one of the first zoos in the nation to do so.

Hogle Zoo officials stressed their new format makes it easy for people to maintain appropriate social distancing.

“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” said Brad Parkin, director of marketing at the Hogle Zoo. “Our number one priority is to keep our staff safe, our guests safe, and of course our animals safe.”

Visitors now must purchase tickets online where they choose a specific time slot to arrive.

Parkin said on an average Saturday, the 42 acres that make up the Hogle Zoo see anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 visitors.

“We have capped that number at 3,000 today,” Parkin said.

Officials were not letting in more than 400 people each hour. Zoo officials also said guests are asked to move through the one-way walking path within two hours.

“We love that it’s not busy,” Zack Corbett said. “We just wanted to get out and see the sun.”

The Corbett family, from Santaquin, pushed two of their children in a stroller while their oldest boy held their hands.

“I want to see the tigers,” their little girl squealed.

Zoo employees were disinfecting high touch surfaces three times a day. Under county guidelines, it is recommended guests wear a face mask.

“The vast majority of our guests today have been wearing a mask. It is comforting to know people are taking into account not only their safety, but the safety of others as well,” Parkin said.

The carousel, sit down dining and train remain closed until further notice.

Parkin said the consequences of closing have been heavy.

“It costs the Hogle Zoo $40,000 each day, to remain afloat,” he said. “Feeding our animals, grooming the grounds and paying our employees adds up.”

This is the first phase in the zoo’s reopening model. They hope to invite more guests to the grounds in the coming months.

You can see all the visitation information on their website.

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Hogle Zoo Reopens With Social Distancing Measures In Place