In response to the overwhelming demand from guests eager to return to the Louisville Zoo, the organization’s webstore, which is the third-party purchasing website, experienced technical difficulties and will remain down for member ticket reservations until 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 11. During this time, the Zoo will be reviewing and testing the online store in an effort to make future online purchases easier.
The technical issues were caused by a system overload from an influx of Zoo members in the Louisville community trying to purchase tickets, following the Zoo’s 12 week-long closing in response to COVID-19.
“At the Louisville Zoo, we value the support from our members and thank them for their patience during this frustrating time,” said the Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak. “Our team is working diligently to resolve these issues and establish a solution that will improve future online transactions.”
On Friday, June 5, the Louisville Zoo announced their initial reopening plan, which included two weeks set aside for members only. In order to ensure a visit to the Zoo, members and guests are required to reserve tickets online at LouisvilleZoo.org/tickets, with their chosen date and arrival time. Reserving tickets online is an effort to help reduce contact and manage guest capacity.
Per the Mayor’s office and the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, the Zoo will operate with a reduced average capacity of 100 guests per hour, which requires a limited number of tickets. Average admittance prior to the COVID-19 pandemic during this time of year was 1,000 people per hour, with 8,000-10,000 total guests each day. Over the next two weeks, only 12,700 tickets will be available for member reservation, based on capacity restrictions for the over 130,000 Zoo members in the Louisville community. More tickets will be released and capacity increased as we proceed through this opening phase.
The Zoo has remained in communication with the Mayor’s office and the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness throughout the COVID-19 response and has closely worked with them on the reopening. The Zoo will be following the latest safety guidelines.
Staff will have mandatory temperature checks as they arrive to work. All staff in public areas will wear masks. We will be strongly encouraging guests to wear masks as well. Zoo keepers will continue to wear masks around vulnerable animal populations.
The Zoo will be cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas frequently. All of the restrooms will be open with step-and-pull entry or touchless access. Zoo staff and markers will be present to help encourage social distancing.
In order to encourage social distancing, guests will be asked to follow one route. Indoor exhibit areas will not be open during the initial reopening phase. The Wild Walk trail will take guests through popular exhibits like the Islands, the Americas, Glacier Run and Gorilla Forest. Along the way, guests will be able to see Sunni and Sebastian in the Zoo’s new sloth exhibit and the elephant calf, Fitz. In the coming months, the Zoo hopes to reopen indoor exhibits, rides and playgrounds.
There will be limited menus available at select outdoor food kiosks throughout the Zoo, as well as water bottle refill stations. Guests can still bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Outdoor picnic areas have been arranged to ensure social distancing.
The Get Healthy Walking Club presented by Norton Healthcare will also return on Friday, June 26, 2020. Walking Club hours are 8 – 9:15 a.m., before the Zoo opens. This program will also operate on a reduced capacity and first-come basis. It will be closed to new members during this initial reopening phase.