TORONTO — The Toronto Zoo is now open again—but for members only.
The tourist attraction has been shuttered for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a significant financial hit.
In an effort to offset the revenue loss, the zoo launched a drive-thru “safari” in May that allowed guests to catch glimpses of the animals while adhering to COVID-19 public safety measures.
Saturday marked the first day that visitors will be able to enter the zoo on foot, but access has been restricted to members exclusively.
“When you return, your zoo experience will look a little different as we work to flatten the curve and take the steps required to look after everyone’s well-being,” the Toronto Zoo’s website says. “Our new one way experience with additional safety precautions is a great first step to reconnect you with your favourite zoo residents as we move towards a full re-opening over the next weeks.
Members will be asked to pre-book the date and time of their visit before arrival. The zoo will be open between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, with the last time-slot booked for 4 p.m.
Visitors will be able to walk along a series of one-way routes throughout the zoo and visit the African Rainforest Pavilion.
Masks or face coverings must be worn when inside pavilions, gift shops or washrooms.
What’s open and closed?
- Restaurants such as the Peacock Café, Tim Hortons, Dairy Queen, Smokes Poutinerie, Caribou Café and Grill, and Beavertails will be open
- Only the African Rainforest Pavilion and Giraffe House will be open. All other pavilions will be closed.
- The Zootique gift shop will be open but the rest of the zoo’s shops will remain closed.
- There will be no access to the rides, souvenir penny presses, or the Zoomobile
- There will be no rentals of wagons, strollers and wheelchairs
- Drinking fountains and ATMs will be closed
The zoo is also encouraging all visitors to remain two metres away from other groups and to wash their hands often.
The drive-thru “Scenic Safari” will also continue to operate.
The zoo says that more details will be released shortly about when non-members can plan their visits.