The Naples zoo is reopening Friday with new precautions

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

Many staple attractions of spring and summer have been closed due to Covid-19, including the Naples zoo. As a way to protect workers and visitors, the zoo closed in an effort to limit large crowds and stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We can’t have people gathering in numbers so we’ve had to close temporarily,” said Jack Mulvena, President of the Naples Zoo.

Not only has it been hard for normal visitors, but the temporary closing has taken a toll on the zoo financially, as well. “The big challenge is really the finances… taking care of the animals is not the challenge because we have expert staff to do that so we continued. We lost over a million 5 in revenue… we’re benefited through a paycheck protection loan,” Mulvena mentioned.

But now that businesses are reopening…so is the zoo! And just in time for the Memorial Day weekend! On Friday, May 22, the Naples Zoo plans to invite guests back but with a few precautions to keep people safe.

Mulvena explained, “We created a one way path to the zoo as opposed to keeping it open so visitors can go back in fourth, won’t be face to face so they can keep 6 feet apart or more.”

And people in the community, like Naples resident Natalie Rhodes and her son, Lincoln, can’t wait to get back to the zoo! “It’s great to be out in the fresh air, to see the animals, they’ve done a good job with one way paths, timed tickets,” she said. Rhodes says she’s impressed with the job the zoo has done since “everybody is practicing social distancing” and there’s “lots of hand sanitizers.”

President Mulvena says that visiting the zoo “even safer with some of the temporary steps we’ve taken.”

The Naples Zoo has staggered times now. “You can purchase a ticket to come at 8:30, 9 or 9:30, it’s just a way to keep people separate but once you’re here you can stay as long as you want,” Mulvena said.

Zoo hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and tickets may be purchased online for both members and general admission at discounted prices.

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