Rolling Hills Zoo sets reopen date, adds safety measures

Published: May. 11, 2020 at 3:30 PM CDT
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After being closed since March 18th due to COVID-19, Rolling Hills Zoo plans to reopen to the public on May 22, under the current guidelines set by Governor Kelly.

“The zoo will open with a three phase plan that adheres to the guidelines of the Governor’s AD ASTRA plan while also ensuring that the safety of our guests, staff and animals is our top priority”, shared Bob Jenkins, Executive Director of Rolling Hills Zoo.

Zoo hours and prices will look different during Phase One of its reopening plan. Zoo hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning on Friday, May 22nd. New prices will be: adults - $10; seniors (65+) - $9; children ages 12 – 3 years old - $5; and children 2 & younger are Free.

Visitors will be encouraged to wear masks. Rolling Hills says its staff will be wearing masks and other personal protective equipment when appropriate.

Rolling Hills also says restrooms, outdoor restaurant tables and seating, and all high touch areas throughout the zoo will be cleaned and disinfected on a continuous basis during the day. Social distancing inside the Zoo will be encouraged with signage and 6’ spacing markers in high-traffic areas, along with frequent hand washing signage.

Rolling Hills says there will be changes to the Zoo experience. Animal feedings and keeper encounters will not take place during Phase One, and multiple buildings will be closed, including the Wildlife Museum, Great Apes Building, Reptile Building, Giraffes indoor viewing area, along with the Green Playhouse and the Coati’s pop-up tunnel.

Other buildings, like the Kids Country barn, Rhino Barn and the Anteater/Aardvark Building will close on an as needed basis. Rolling Hills says while the buildings may be closed, most of the animals can be viewed in their outdoor habitats.

Trams will not run during Phase One, but stroller, wheelchair and electronic scooter rentals will be available.

Rolling Hills says all special events planned for May and June have been cancelled, and educational experiences, including summer camps, are still in development to adhere to the current guidelines. Those will be announced at a later date.

Rolling Hills says these restrictions will begin to be lifted in the final phases of the reopening plan, which will be determined based on the guidance of the State and local government.