Idaho Falls Zoo opening this weekend with restrictions
The following is a news release from the city of Idaho Falls.
IDAHO FALLS – Idaho Falls Zoo is excited to announce the zoo’s reopening on Saturday, May 16. The zoo was originally scheduled to open in early April. However, in following with Governor Little’s statewide COVID-19 shutdown, the opening date was delayed. We’re pleased to announce starting May 16, as part of the next phases of the state reopening, your zoo will be open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to safely reopen the zoo and welcome our wonderful patrons back for another great season,” says Zoo Director David Pennock.
The foremost goals of the zoo staff are for you to enjoy your zoo visit and at the same time keep you, zoo representatives and the animals safe and healthy. As such, we are working to put measures in place in response to COVID-19 that will include:
- The zoo entrance is being modified to accommodate social distancing and the number of people inside the zoo at any one time will be limited. See the zoo’s social media feeds on Facebook, Instagram, and the zoo’s website for the most up-to-date information.
- The zoo gift shop will be closed until further notice. However, you can still get those great zoo souvenirs! Select merchandise will be available via a temporary mobile gift shop near the front of the zoo.
- While in the zoo, patrons are expected to respect social distancing at all times and remain at least 6 feet away from other zoo guests to which they are not related.
- All in-person education programs including EdZOOcation camps and classes, the Penguin Interaction Program, Meet a Zookeeper talks, Behind the Scenes tours, and public penguin feedings will be canceled until further notice.
- Playground-type structures including the tiger and lion statues, lion drinking fountain and “Eggsperience” play area will be closed to the public.
- Zoo representatives will wear masks whenever they’re in direct contact with the public. Zoo guests are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.
- For the safety of the animals as well as visitors, the goat yard and petting areas of the Children’s Zoo will also be closed to the public. However, guests are still encouraged to walk around the Children’s Zoo and enjoy seeing those animals.
- Zoo memberships will ONLY be available for purchase online, not at admissions. We hope you’ll support your zoo by purchasing a membership online. Once your online purchase has been verified, we’ll mail your membership packet to you.
- If your zoo membership expired between January and May 2020 and you haven’t yet been able to renew it, your zoo will honor it through May 31, 2020. But, now is the time to renew. Please go online and complete your renewal before June 1 to continue your uninterrupted access to the zoo.
- Call (208) 612-8420 if you have questions or problems when purchasing memberships. Leave a message if your call isn’t answered so we can better serve you.
“The measures we’re taking are precautionary for the health and safety of our zoo guests, staff, and of course the animals,” says Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation Director PJ Holm. “The current health crisis has hit zoos and cultural organizations throughout the world particularly hard. We ask for everyone’s help in supporting the zoo this summer in a safe, positive way.”
This year, you’ll also have the option to interact with the zoo in a whole new way! Enhance your zoo visit by downloading the brand-new interactive zoo app here.
“We are really excited about our new app,” states Education Curator Sunny Katseanes, “We’ve been working with Liiingo, a digital experience design company out of Boise, on the perfect zoo complement for some time. This app will enable you to explore some of the individual animals at the zoo and learn about them from those who know them best—the zookeepers.”
The best part? The new app is completely free.
“Yes, the app is free and it is truly amazing. You will definitely want to download it. It will provide you the opportunity to really get to know some of our animals and will blow your zoo visit out of the water,” Katseanes says.
But, the zoo staff hope you’ll help the zoo a little when you use the app. There are options built into the platform to allow you to donate to support the zoo, and we hope our patrons will show us some love and be generous. Even small donations add up to big help for the zoo and the maintenance of this cool new app.
The zoo is featuring several new animals this year which they’ll be announcing in the coming weeks. One very exciting addition this season is the birth of two new sloth bear cubs. These adorable little girls will be in the outdoor sloth bear exhibit in the northwest corner of the zoo, weather depending. When the weather is poor, they will be inside their den off-exhibit for their health and well-being. Please remember to respect social distancing guidelines while at all exhibit viewing areas.
As we’ve all come to recognize during these times, things are subject to change at a moment’s notice. The very best way to stay informed about the latest information is to follow Idaho Falls Zoo on Facebook, Instagram, and the zoo website. You should also subscribe to zoo notices under “Notify Me” on the city’s website.
We hope to see you at the zoo beginning on May 16.