Arts and Culture

Denver Zoo Reopening With New COVID-19 Rules in Place

Tonks awaits the public's return.
Tonks awaits the public's return. Denver Zoo
Denver Zoo employees have been telling the press that the animals can't figure out why people stopped stopping by to visit. That's about to change.

The zoo, which has been closed since March 17, will be reopening for Member Gratitude Days on Wednesday, June 10, and Thursday, June 11, and then to the rest of the public on Friday, June 12.

“We are beyond thrilled to welcome back our community of friends and neighbors who have stood by our side and provided such crucial, meaningful support while we were closed,” notes Bert Vescolani, president and CEO of Denver Zoo.

To keep those friends and neighbors safe, the Zoo will take the following precautions:

Online Ticketing: All tickets must be purchased/reserved online at, including complimentary Member Gratitude Days Tickets, and will not be available for purchase at Denver Zoo. Online tickets are required for all guests, including members (free) and children 2 and under (free).

Limited, Timed Admissions: To support safe physical distancing, the Zoo will limit the number of visitors per day. Timed tickets with staggered 15-minute entry windows will limit the number of guests entering the Zoo at any one time. Admission lines will also be marked for distancing.

Sanitation and Hand-Washing: Restrooms and high-touch areas will be disinfected frequently on a set schedule. Other high-touch surfaces, like tables and chairs, will be cleaned immediately after use. Hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations have been placed throughout campus—including at restrooms, the main Zoo entry and exit, the entry and exit doors of all buildings and all dining areas.

One-Way Campus: A one-way path around the entire campus has been created to allows guest to view a majority of its animal habitats and gardens while maintaining appropriate physical distancing. A “short cut” highlighting a smaller area for shorter visits will also be available.

Zoo Employees: All Zoo employees are required to follow strict protocols in order to maintain the safety of everyone on campus. They will have their temperatures checked prior to starting work, and be required to wear masks and maintain distance of at least 6 feet from guests, volunteers and other employees.

Guest Responsibilities: Guests are asked to do their part in keeping Denver Zoo a safe environment, including staying home if anyone in their family feels sick, maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet, washing their hands often, respecting the one-way traffic flow and remaining on approved pathways. All guests ages 3 and over will be required to wear face masks or coverings as mandated by the City and County of Denver.

Attractions, Exhibits and Encounters: Regularly scheduled Animal Demonstrations and Encounters have been modified to minimize contact and provide for physical distance. Buildings, attractions, exhibits and play areas will be closed to keep guests, staff and animals safe with the exception of our newest attraction, Stingray Cove, opening in mid-June.

Shopping and Dining: The Zoo has modified its dining service to comply with all government-mandated COVID-19 safety procedures with regard to preparation and service of all food and beverage items. Its gift shop, Kibongi Market, will remain open with safety modifications, including one-way traffic flow, distanced displays and available hand sanitizer. Guests can also purchase anytime from the Zoo’s new online gift shop.
“We remain vigilant in our obligation to protect this community, and have gone through exhaustive planning and preparation so that our guests can feel safe and comfortable while connecting with our 3,000 animals," adds Vescolani.

For more information about ticketing and policies, go to the Denver Zoo's website
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris