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Zoo and Safari Park to reopen

In keeping with the latest guidance set forth from the Governor’s Office, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park will reopen to the public on Saturday, January 30, ending an almost two-month-long closure that began December 7, 2020. 

Guests will have the opportunity to once again experience amazing wildlife with their families, stroll among diverse habitats and visit with the Zoo and Safari Park’s many unique residents, take part in fun, educational activities, and learn about ways to contribute to wildlife conservation at home and abroad.

Similar to their previous reopening plan, both parks will resume operations in stages that will start with outdoor dining only, 25 percent capacity in our retail outlets, a reduced number of guests on grounds at a given time, one-way path modifications and barriers, required face coverings (regardless of vaccination status), observed social distancing practices, an increased number of handwashing and sanitizing locations, and robust cleaning routines by staff. 

Currently, the Zoo’s Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Bus and Skyfari Aerial Tram, and the Safari Park’s Africa Tram will be unavailable. Activities that traditionally include larger numbers of guests — including some shows, tours and Safari experiences — will also be temporarily unavailable. 

For added safety, both facilities will implement a reservation system, required for entry. All visitors ages 3 and up are required to have either a ticket, or a membership and a reservation. Guest tickets will serve as their reservation and must be presented to enter the Zoo or the Safari Park. Members with a valid membership only need to make a date-specific reservation, and can secure their reservation online.

For more details on the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reopening — including yearly membership options and important information for guests planning their next visit — go to SanDiegoZoo.org/Reopen.

Safari Park gorillas recovering from COVID

The gorilla troop that the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reported had contracted COVID-19 is getting better, according to Paul A. Baribault, president/CEO San Diego Zoo Global. He wrote: 

Over the past two weeks, we have been humbled by the outpouring of support for our gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Today I am happy to share with you that the troop is eating, drinking, interacting, and on their way to a full recovery from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.” 

Baribault added, “Winston, the troop’s silverback, was experiencing symptoms including a cough and lethargy. Because of his advanced age and a concern for underlying medical conditions, he underwent a diagnostic examination under anesthesia. Our veterinarians confirmed that he had pneumonia and heart disease and, in consultation with specialists, began treatment including heart medications, antibiotics, and monoclonal antibody therapy. The monoclonal antibody therapy originated from a supply that was not permitted for human use. Treatment with these synthetic versions of the body’s natural defenses is thought to be effective in diminishing effects from the virus. Indeed, the veterinary team who treated Winston believe the antibodies may have contributed to his ability to overcome the virus.”

In addition, the Zoo’s network of collaborators have provided its veterinarians with a limited amount of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that originated from a supply strictly intended for nonhuman use. “Our diligent teams have already begun identifying animal candidates for vaccination at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park,” said Baribault.

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