Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Have You Missed the Detroit Zoo?

If you're looking for a fun way to get out of the house and spend the day outside, consider planning a trip to the Detroit Zoo. The Detroit Zoo just recently reopened its gates after being closed since March. However, if you take a trip to the zoo now, it won't be quite the same as a normal zoo trip was in the past. The Zoo has some new guidelines and protocols to help ensure the safety of their animals, employees, and visitors.

First, the Detroit Zoo is only allowing a limited capacity. The good news about this is that it isn't going to be packed, like on a normal summer day. It will be a much more intimate experience without crowds of people around. In order to achieve this, the zoo is requiring guests to make reservations for their visit. Reservations can be made online here. If you're pretty open on the date and time, you can usually get a reservation fairly quickly and sometimes even on the same day. However, early entry on the weekends seems to sell out faster. So if you want to spend the entire day on a Saturday or Sunday at the zoo, book in advance.

Once you arrive at the zoo, things will seem familiar and different at the same time. You'll still be a the same zoo that you know and love, however it will be a little more empty and some attractions may not be open. For instance the train isn't running, however it seems as though there are more benches set up around the zoo if your legs get tired from all of the walking. If you're worried about the cleanliness of the benches, there are employees going around the zoo sanitizing and cleaning surfaces all day long. Also, some of the indoor attractions may not be open, while others are. You can still go inside to see the otters swimming and diving, limited amounts of guests can also go inside the Great Apes of Harambee exhibit, the reptile house, the aviary, and some other indoor areas of the zoo. However, other favorites like the indoor exhibit at the Arctic Ring of Life and the Prairie Dog Bubbles are closed to the public. It is important to also mention that masks are required when going indoors at the zoo and patrons are asked to wear them outdoors as well.

As far as facilities that are at the zoo for your convenience, on our latest visit most restrooms were still open. Doors are propped so you don't have to worry about touching the handles on the way out and the zoo has switched back to paper towel for the time being. Drinking fountains were not available, but some water bottle refilling stations were. There are also hand washing and hand sanitizing stations set up throughout the zoo. If you're hungry, some outdoor stands and cafes such as American Coney Island and the Dippin' Dots stands were open, while the Arctic Cafe was closed. The new Buddy's Pizza that opened last year is also open daily. Check out a list of eateries that are open here. If you plan to bring a lunch or a snack, there also seemed to be more picnic tables available than in the past.

Overall, things are definitely a bit different at the Detroit Zoo, but in this case different is good. It was nice to visit the animals, get outside, and stroll through the 125 acres that the zoo has to offer. Based on our visit, if we could make any suggestions to make your trip easier, it would be to bring water with you and maybe a snack, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Other than that, it was really nice to get back to the zoo and see the animals that we love.


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