ST. LOUIS – Fox 2 has learned the reopening of the St. Louis Zoo is about to expand.
One of the city’s most popular attractions will be back next week amid complaints zoo staff is doing too much or too little in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone on staff—up to 1,000 workers per day—is on mask and social distance duty.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re selling Dipping Dots, if they’re patrolling the parking lot, or if they’re feeding the tigers, we all are in this together,” said Billy Brennan, the St. Louis Zoo Director of Public Relations. “So, if you see something and you don’t feel safe, you need to tell one of us. We’ll take care of it.”
Reminders about social distancing and mask wearing requirements are everywhere: from signage to workers wiping down tables to the pre-marked viewing stations at the Stingray exhibit.
Thirteen days into reopening in uncharted territory, zoo staff is learning as they go and adjusting on the fly. With that in mind, we’ve confirmed one of the zoo’s most popular attractions, the Penguin & Puffin Coast, will reopen next week.
“What’s going to be different, is when you come to the zoo you’re going to have get a timed ticket to go into penguin-puffin coast,” Brennan said. “So, we’re going to limit the number of people going in there every 15 minutes.”
The Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium, which people call the “snake house,” is now limiting the number of people inside because laying out a directional path for them to follow wasn’t working.
The overall number of daily visitors to zoo will remain the same – about 8,000. That’s about a third of the typical crowd on a peak summer day. There’s more than enough room with the zoo’s 96 acres and 10 miles of walking paths to accommodate social distancing.
The price of admission is the same, too: free.
Online reservations—and masks—are required.