PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- The Phoenix Zoo is ready to reopen its gates and welcome visitors once again.

The zoo will be open to members on Saturday and Sunday during a "Welcome Back Weekend." The general public can visit starting on Monday, June 15. Zoo hours are 7 a.m. to noon.

During the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the only way to visit was to "Cruise the Zoo," a drive-through program that lets guests see the animals from the comfort of their cars. In fact, it was so popular, the experience will continue. You can Cruise the Zoo for the first Thursday – Monday of June, July and August. Hours will be limited to 7 a.m. – noon, with all cars needing to be in line by 11 a.m. The zoo will accommodate up to 450 vehicles per day.

When the zoo reopens, you will notice lots of changes, as staffers work to make it a safe experience for everyone. From sanitizing strollers to washing windows, zoo employees are making cleanliness a priority. You'll also see clever animal-related signs posted around the zoo, reminding people to stay 6 feet apart. Signs posted near the hand sanitizer stations remind folks to "clean your paws." Masks are suggested but not required. Outdoor concession stands will be open.

The staff will be managing capacity each day at the zoo to allow for recommended social distancing. The zoo has established an initial attendance cap of 2,500 guests each day. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance for a specific day. This can be done online at phoenixzoo.org.

Members also must reserve a specific day in advance to visit. This can also be done online at phoenixzoo.org. Have your membership card ready when reserving your visit online as you will need to enter your “Visual ID” to reserve your member tickets. Zoo members will still need to present their membership card and ID along with their member tickets upon entry at turnstile.

If you have a pre-purchased or complimentary ticket, you MUST contact Guest Services in advance by calling 602-286-3800 to exchange your ticket and reserve a specific day to visit.

Not all the attractions will be open. The following encounters will reopen at a later date:

  • Camel Rides
  • Endangered Species Carousel
  • 4-D Theater
  • Stingray Bay
  • Giraffe Encounter
  • Monkey Village Walk-Thru (squirrel monkeys are visible from the upper viewing area)
  • Orangutan Bilik (inside viewing area)
  • Harmony Farm Goat Yard
  • Savanna Grill (indoor dining)
  • Savanna Overlook at exhibit
  • Enchanted Forest Playground
  • Leapin’ Lagoon & Yakulla Caverns splash pads
  • Playground and structures on Children’s Trail
  • Windmill House
 

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