Amid pandemic paralysis, a bright spot: The Detroit Zoo is open for visitors

March 16, 2020, 1:25 PM

Somethin' tells me it's all happening at the zoo.
-- Paul Simon, "At the Zoo," 1967

An already-popular destination at Woodward and 10 Mile gains added appeal now. A four-letter word that's not a curse -- open -- applies at the Detroit Zoo.

It invites cooped-up pandemic refugees "to pay a visit to our 125-acre park," adding at its site: "We want to be here for anyone in our community who may need us."

(Photo: Detroit Zoological Society)

A Facebook post says: "We appreciate all of the inquiries we’ve received about spending time outdoors at the Detroit Zoological Park during this current public health situation. We've taken a number of precautions and continue to monitor advisories from officials."

The penguin display, reptile house, butterfly enclosure and other indoor spaces are shut at the regional attraction in Royal Oak, which also cancelled private events and education programs. Playscapes and rides are off-limits.

But lions, tigers, bears, wolves, elephants, seals, giraffes and dozens of other species remain on daily view from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entry costs $14 for ages 19-64, $10 for ages 2-18 and over 65. Parking is $8.

A new attendance limit has a cutoff of 1,250 guests at one time to assure smooth social distancing. "Our daily max will be roughly 5,000 guests," posts the zoo, which adds:

  • 50 hand sanitizing stations are available.

  • All staff at the front gate wear gloves.

  • Enhanced cleaning protocols are in effect.

  • Only outdoor options for food, gifts and seating are available.

We urge people to use their best judgment, avoid tight, crowded spaces and stay home if they are sick. We ... encourage everyone to be proactive when it comes to their own health and safety.

The Detroit Zoological Society also operates the Belle Isle Nature Center, which is closed through April.

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