By Sandra G. Leon
The San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park in Escondido re-opened their gates on Tuesday in a soft opening for annual pass members through Thursday before they both open to all visitors on Saturday.
Crowds were light as members lined up outside the gates and were asked health questions before being allowed through the turnstiles.
Staff asked visitors if they or any members of their households had any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, or had been been in contact with any infected persons. No temperature checks or other exams were conducted, but face coverings are required
Throughout the park, signs reminded visitors to maintain social distancing and hand sanitizer dispensers were available at numerous locations. Most food and concession stands were open, as were gift shops and cart vendors
Visitors seemed happy to be back at the Zoo after it had been closed for more than two months during the mandatory health closures issued by the State and County.
“It’s nice to able to enjoy the Zoo again,” Andres Zavala said as he walked with his family. “We used to visit at least once a month and really missed seeing the animals and getting some exercise,” he added.
Zoo officials announced the re-openings last week and set a limit of 50% of capacity until further notice.
The reopenings come after the first major closure in its 103 year history and the first for the Safari Park in its 48 year past.
The hours of operation for Tuesday through Thursday are 9:00am to 5:00pm, then from 9:00am to 8:00pm beginning on Saturday.