**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
Oakland Zoo Reopening to Public with Exclusive Preview Days for Donors and Members
With new health and safety protocols in place, Oakland Zoo reopens to donors and members with special preview days on July 27 and 28, and to the general public starting July 29.
Oakland, CA – July 15, 2020… After being closed since March 17th due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland Zoo is reopening on July 29 to the general public, with donor and member special preview days on July 27 and 28. Tickets will be available for sale starting July 26th at oaklandzoo.org.
The unprecedented 121 day closure makes Oakland Zoo the last major zoo to reopen in the state, with enhanced protocols and procedures onsite to ensure the health and safety of all guests, staff and animals.
“We’re excited to be able to reopen the Zoo and welcome back our guests. Providing a safe and fun outdoor experience for our visitors’ return has been the focus during this closure, and we’re confident that we’ve gone above and beyond to protect the health and safety of every guest, staff member and animal,” said Joel Parrott, DVM, President & CEO of Oakland Zoo.
Since the closure, there are many new residents for visitors to see, including Kijiji the giraffe, Aluna, a newborn Hamadryas baboon, and seven newborn American buffalo calves. As previously reported, many of the animal species at Oakland Zoo have noticed the absence of visitors - and zookeepers are excited to see all of the animals’ reactions to families strolling the pathways once again.
Guests are invited to enjoy the majority of the Zoo, with over 750 animal residents, with specific areas closed for health and safety precautions.
Zoo officials have instituted an extensive range of new protocols that comply with county and state health authorities. The Zoo will resume operations in stages that, including the aforementioned closed areas, will start with limiting the number of guests at the Zoo at any given time through a new online reservation-based ticketing system for all visitors, limiting dining and shopping experiences, frequent cleaning and sanitization of high-touch areas, making sanitizing stations available throughout the Zoo, requiring face coverings for guests 3 years and older, and enacting social distancing practices.
Hopes are, that as the pandemic evolves and infections decrease, to soon be able to reopen closed areas of the Zoo, reinstitute onsite education programs, overnight programs, facility rentals, indoor dining and shopping, and ultimately restore the 7,000 record-breaking attendance numbers that existed pre-closure, in 2019. With admissions now limited to one-third of normal Zoo capacity, revenue will fall short of meeting the Zoo’s normal operating costs of $2M monthly.
In order to help offset the budget needs, Oakland Zoo is now busy planning a live virtual fundraiser / reopening celebration, “LollapaZOOla” to stream on oaklandzoo.org on July 25 @7PM. LollapaZOOla will entertain viewers, live from the Zoo with silent and live auctions, musical guests, and more. The virtual event’s guests include zookeepers, Oakland Zoo’s President & CEO Dr. Parrott, the Golden State Warriors’ hype man Franco Finn, and Facebook fundraiser 6-year-old Andy Soulard—plus musical guests Dirty Cello and Steel Jam will be performing live from the Zoo.
“The closure has been difficult for us, and we’re hopeful that the coming months will help restore the Zoo’s financial health to what it was before the closure. We thank our donors and supporters out there for helping us through this challenging time,” Nik Dehejia, CFO & Executive Vice President of Oakland Zoo.
To help maintain Oakland Zoo’s mission-based conservation programs to rescue wildlife and save species globally, go to oaklandzoo.org/donate-to-oakland-zoo.
Oakland Zoo — Conservation Society of California
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO AND THE CONSERVATION SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA:
Oakland Zoo, home to more than 850+ native and exotic animals, is managed by the Conservation Society of California (CSC); a non-profit organization leading an informed and inspired community to take action for wildlife locally and globally. With over 25 conservation partners and projects worldwide, the CSC is committed to conservation-based education and saving species and their habitats in the wild. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.