Posted June 8, 2020
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley is pleased to announce that the Milwaukee County Zoo will open as an “outdoor experience” for visitors on Saturday, June 13.
“The Zoo is one of the Milwaukee County’s finest assets, and an attraction that has been sorely missed by visitors during the current health emergency,” said County Executive Crowley. “And on June 13, we’ll be excited to welcome them back. The “outdoor only” experience is Phase I of the reopening transition for the Zoo.”
The Milwaukee County Zoo was temporarily closed March 15 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and will reopen to the public with only the outdoor habitats open, and a limited daily capacity for visitors and Zoo Pass holders.
With the staff, visitors and animals’ safety as the priority, and to adhere to physical distancing guidelines, Zoo admission and parking will be available for all visitors online only. Visitors will enjoy an “outdoor only” experience during this first phase of the reopening plan.
“We know our visitors and Zoological Society members have been patiently waiting, and anxious for the Zoo to reopen,” said Zoo Director Chuck Wikenhauser. “We’ve put together this first phase as a careful and thoughtful plan for a limited reopening, with everyone’s safety as the top priority. Visitors can see the animals outside, walk the 190-acre grounds and enjoy favorite attractions like the train, carousel and the summer exhibit Dinosaurs Unearthed.”
“We are grateful we can welcome back our loyal fans, supporters and members to the Zoo, just in time for the summer season and warmer weather.”
Timed, electronic tickets that can be scanned at a safe distance, will be issued to visitors after they make their online reservations. Online reservations are required for all visitors and Zoo Pass holders. If a visitor feels sick before their reservation, we ask that they not visit the Zoo.
Physical distancing among all Zoo staff and visitors is critical during Phase I of reopening. The Zoo will have visual signage and staff members in place to remind visitors to maintain a 6-foot physical distance along all pathways, and in ride queue lines, boarding and seating. Visitor safety is paramount, and here’s how things are changing:
* Phase I: Mask Policy
We understand that there are underlying circumstances in which not everyone is able to wear a face mask while visiting. Visitors exempted from wearing a mask:
-Anyone with a disability that makes it difficult to put on, wear, or remove a face mask
-Anyone consistently interacting with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing and primarily relies on lip reading
-Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face mask because of personal health issues
-Anyone who has difficulty breathing or is incapacitated
Though the types of species visitors may see could change daily, featured animals include elephants, giraffe, zebra, tigers, grizzly bears, camels, flamingos and many more.
“During this uncertain time, the Zoo is a refuge for many of our visitors, says Wikenhauser. “Participating in outdoor experiences and making a connection with wildlife and nature serves as a comfort and healing activity for people. We are happy to provide that for our visitors, employees, members and our entire community.”
During this first phase, the Zoo is open from 10 a.m.to 3 p.m. daily; timed entry for visitors will be available from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at shop.milwaukeezoo.org/#/Admission.
The Zoo is dedicated to the well-being and safety of its patrons, staff and animals, and will continue to follow the required guidelines related to COVID-19. Changes to Zoo operations and protocols may occur at any time. Current guidelines are temporary, and when appropriate, the Zoo will transition to reopening Phase II, with additional portions of the park open to visitors.
Before visiting, check the Zoo’s detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the Phase I reopening.
For further questions, please contact the Zoo’s Marketing and Communications Department at 414.256.5466.