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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's reopening a 'roaring' success

 Photo courtesy Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Photo courtesy Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. (KKTV)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 9:51 PM MDT
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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's reopening weekend was a

wild

success!

The zoo reopened to the public Saturday for the first time since mid-March when the COVID-19 epidemic forced its closure -- the longest shutdown for the zoo in its 94-year history.

"The zoo brings people so much joy, and we are thrilled our community will be able to enjoy this local attraction again," said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health director. The county health department was among those at the local level to approve a variance to permit the zoo to reopen early.

The variance had to get ultimate approval by the state, which issued its OK Friday.

Based on the number of tickets sold for the next two weeks, it appears the public is thrilled to be back! The zoo announced tickets for members are sold out through June 19. Non-member tickets are still available, though because the zoo is reopening in phases, non-members will not be allowed to visit until Thursday. Because tickets must be reserved ahead of time, if you're a non-member hoping to visit after Thursday, be sure to reserve your spot ASAP!

It wasn't just the humans who were thrilled to see the animals -- based on their behavior during the forced closure, the animals appeared to miss their humans just as much! The zoo said animals like giraffes and bears showed genuine signs of missing the thousands of guests they were accustomed to seeing on a daily basis.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, the zoo has put several measures in place to protect staff and guests:

- The zoo is following a phased opening. For phase one (June 6-10), the zoo is open for members only; during phase two (June 11-19), non-members may also visit. The third phase (June 20 onward), is TBD since the variance only covers through the 19th.

- As stated above, tickets must be purchased online ahead of the visit in order to control the number of guests. Three hundred tickets are available per hour, though once you're there, you may stay as long as you like.

- Guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks. Employees are required to wear masks when within 6 feet of others.

- High-touch areas will be frequently sanitized.

The zoo urges the public to keep an eye on

for the latest updates.

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