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Memphis Zoo enters its Phase Two of reopening

Capacity has increased to 5,000 guests, and guests and staff are required to wear face coverings.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 5/20/2020 - (MEMPHIS ZOO NEWS RELEASE) - Memphis Zoo is pleased to announce it is moving into Phase 2 of Memphis’ Back to Business Plan. 

The zoo has increased its capacity to 5,000 guests at any given time. Guests and zoo staff are still required to wear facial coverings. 

The following protocols also remain in place: 

Not allowed in the zoo: 

  • Food  
  • Drink  
  • Coolers  

 Acceptable forms of payment, no cash:  

  • Credit Card 
  • Membership with Proper ID 
  • Apple Pay

Guests will continue to see markers placed around the zoo to make sure everyone remains six feet apart. Directional markers are also provided to guide guests throughout their visit.  

The following remains unavailable during your visit: 

  • All Rides 
  • Playground  
  • Giraffe Feeding Deck  
  • Camel Rides  
  • Water Play Areas 
  • Keeper Chats and Shows  
  • Some indoor exhibits remain closed at this time.  

 We continue to follow current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by asking employees and guests to stay home if they are sick, encouraging respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, and routinely cleaning all surfaces and public areas. For more information please visit MemphisZoo.org.

Credit: Memphis Zoo


5/13/2020 - The thousands of furry friends at the Memphis Zoo are eager to welcome back visitors when the zoo opens its gates for the first time Wednesday morning since closing two months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Memphis Zoo is reopening in phases. The first phase includes a lot of changes and restrictions for guests starting with masks.

Masks or facial coverings will be required to be worn by guests and staff to keep not only people safe but the animals too, zoo officials said.

"We want to protect our guests and staff and also our animals. Our animals can't wear the face coverings so that's why we're asking people to wear face coverings right now," Chief Marketing Officer Nick Harmeier said.

The number of people allowed in the zoo at one time will also be limited to a 25% capacity of 2,500 people. Currently, once the zoo hits capacity, the parking lot will close down and guests will be turned away at the gate.

Guests are encouraged to buy tickets online or otherwise to pay with card because the zoo will be going cashless.

Inside the zoo, there will be directional markers to guide guests through the exhibits rather than being able to just roam around. All rides, indoor exhibits and play areas will remain closed. No outside food or drinks will be allowed to be brought in.

The zoo will increase its cleaning schedule and sanitizing stations have been added through the 80 acres of property.

Harmeier said the zoo is eager and anxious about reopening. The zoo took an estimated $10 million financial hit during the two months of being closed. The zoo operating at a 25% capacity will only continue to be a loss during its busiest time of the year.

"There's a lot of numbers that are better than zero. The last eight weeks we've been not generating any revenue at all other than some people who have been supporting us through donations and memberships," he said. "Even though it is at 25% capacity, it'll help to ease the financial burden that's been on us for the last eight weeks."

Credit: Memphis Zoo

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