Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Virginia Zoo sets reopening date

(WYDaily/Courtesy of the Virginia Zoo)
(WYDaily/Courtesy of the Virginia Zoo)

After more than three moths being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Virginia Zoo will reopen its gates to the public on June 25 with some modifications and a new schedule.

During its first stage, the zoo has implemented some changes to its operations:

  • The zoo will limit capacity – about 25 percent of its normal visitorship – to ensure no overcrowding. All tickets must be bought and reserved in advance for a specific time slot – this even applies to zoo members. Reservations are available beginning at 10 a.m. with the last reservation at 3 p.m.
  • The zoo will be open to the public and its members, Thursday to Monday. Tuesday and Wednesdays will be for members only. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and reservations are required.
  • Tickets and reservations will be available, Tuesday, June 16 at 10 a.m. and can be made up to two weeks in advance.
  • The zoo will be a one-way, one-mile loop. This includes Asia, the Animal Wellness Campus, Africa and Flora Point. 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 Play will be open for visitors to enjoy. Some amenities and exhibits will be temporarily closed, including the World of Reptiles, ZooFarm, ZooTrain, Enrichment Playground, Gift Shop, Water Plaza and Membership Office. Keeper Chats, ZooLive! Stage presentations and other animal encounters will be postponed.
  • To help ensure the safety of all guests, and to comply with all state and local regulations, all zoo staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks. Per mandated regulations in Virginia, all visitors ages 10 and older will be required to wear a mask upon entry into the zoo, indoors or when within 6 feet of those from a different group. Increased cleaning protocols have been mandated and hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the zoo.

The zoo will have a soft opening for its members, staff and volunteers June 22-24, according to a news release.

Memberships will be extended for any that were current on March 13 or have been purchased or renewed since then. Zoo staff is the process of adding time to memberships and temporary membership cards will be emailed with the new expiration dates.

When it is safe to do so, capacity will be increased, and walkups will eventually resume. Indoor exhibits will open with limited capacity and amenities will return.

Visit the zoo online for opening status and updates, and to reserve tickets beginning June 16.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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