MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Zoo Miami is welcoming guests back on Tuesday after being closed for more than two months.
“Oh we’re so excited just to be able to be back out here, we love the zoo,” said Monica Araya.
Araya and her two-year-old son Luca were some of the first people through the gates when the zoo re-opened at 10 a.m.
“He was telling us all morning, he was growling like the dinosaurs all morning. And the monkeys, right? You’re excited about the monkeys,” she asked him.
Zoo Miami was forced to close earlier this year and briefly reopened in May, only to close again in July due to the pandemic.
The months of closure resulted in a $6 million loss in revenue.
Now that the gates are open again, there are some changes at the 750-acre zoo.
“Everybody two and above has to wear a mask and you have to wear a mask the entire time you’re in the zoo. The only exception will be when you’re in designated food areas when you’re actually eating,” said Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill.
The indoor exhibits are closed and things like animal feedings, the monorail, and tram tours are also not an option right now. Playgrounds, rides, and water play areas are also closed for the time being.
“But all the animals will be out on exhibit. We ask that you maintain your social distancing, there’s hand sanitizer available throughout the park,” said Magill.
The zoo has also limited its capacity to 3,5-hundred people per day.
Before heading out to the zoo, visitors will have to pre-purchase tickets online.
Even with the changes and restrictions, the animals, and the people who care for them, are ready to welcome visitors back.
“I think the community has yearned to get out and do something different, to see some sort of normalcy. And I think the zoo affords one of the best opportunities while being safe because we’re such a huge park, we have three miles of walkway here,” said Magill.
“To get my son out of the house, it’s just wonderful,” said Araya.