Following Boris Johnson’s announcement that zoos and safari parks can reopen from Monday 15th June, Blackpool Zoo is preparing to welcome visitors back through the doors in the near future.
Management had been working towards opening in early July, but are now doubling efforts in order to open at an earlier date, which will be announced soon.
A wide range of measures to keep visitors, staff and animals safe are being implemented and extensive consultations with industry bodies such as the British and Irish Associations of Zoos and Aquariums and local authorities have taken place to ensure that all possible action is taken.
A visit will look very different for a while, but people will still be able to see their favourite animals, enjoy the beautiful parkland, reconnect with nature and leave their worries behind.
A new Visitor Services Hub and Visitor Services Team have been set up to help with queries and questions. Visitor numbers will be limited each day and everyone, including members, must book online to guarantee entry.
People will be required to follow social distancing guidelines, onsite signage and make regular use of the additional hand sanitation points that have been installed.
There will be enhanced and increased cleaning and disinfecting of all areas and toilets will be open and manned by attendants to manage numbers within the facilities.
All indoor animal houses will be closed and short podcasts will replace the suspended daily talks, feeds and displays.
Play areas, activities, the miniature train and children’s rides will also be closed but new, imagination-driven play trails around the zoo have been developed to keep little ones busy. They can be downloaded on the website or collected from the Visitor Services Hub.
The main café and some kiosks will be open with a reduced menu on a takeout only basis. Outdoor eating areas have been increased and redesigned to ensure social distancing can be carried out.
Screens have been installed at all staff interaction points and the gift shops will be open with limited capacity.
Keepers at the zoo have been busy looking after more than 1000 animals since the attraction temporarily closed in March.
From feeding to cleaning and health checks to enrichment, the teams have continued to give the best possible care to their furry, feathered and scaly friends.
Darren Webster, Zoo Director, said: “Our dedicated teams have worked extremely hard since we closed our doors in March and following the government’s announcement today, we will be confirming our reopening date as soon as possible.
“The senior management team has worked long hours and conducted a huge amount of research into how we can safely reopen and welcome our visitors back in a Covid-19 secure manner.
“It will be different, for all of us, but that doesn’t mean people cannot enjoy themselves. We look forward to seeing people coming through the doors soon.”
More information about the new measures and the opening date will be posted on www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk in the coming days.