Visitors arrived at ZSL London Zoo to enjoy the official reopening of the historic attraction – three months after it closed to the public for the first time since WW2 Lucky visitors who secured one of the 2,000 sold-out tickets to the reopening formed a socially-distanced queue to enter the iconic 36 acre park, before safely following one of three carefully mapped out nature routes laid out across the site – which was blooming in the summer sunshine.
Standing 2 metres apart, the public enjoyed visiting the Zoo’s popular zoo residents, including Critically Endangered Western lowland gorillas Mjukuu, Effie, Gernot and Alika, Sumatran tiger Asim and Asiatic lions Heidi, Indi, Rubi and Bhanu – alongside the lively Humboldt penguin colony at Penguin Beach.
Zookeeper Daniel Simmonds said: “It’s been a really surreal, and quite anxious, time at the Zoo without visitors on site, but we are all so excited that our efforts have paid off and we can finally welcome them back – in fact, the demand for tickets was so high on the day they went on sale that our website had a bit of a wobble, but it’s all fixed now!”
The Zoo is limiting visitors to 2,000 people per day, with pre-booked tickets only. A one-way system is in place, with three prescribed routes ensuring guests remain socially-distanced, while getting to explore the whole zoo. Catering outlets are takeaway only, and all payments will be contactless. Some indoor exhibits, including the Reptile House and BUGS House will remain closed for now.
Kathryn England, Chief Operating Officer for ZSL London Zoo added; “While the reopening news is certainly worthy of a big celebration, it’s not the end of our fundraising efforts yet. The increased safety measures mean London Zoo will be limited to just 2,000 visitors a day - well below the numbers needed to recoup the charity’s lost income, so we really hope that we’ll continue to receive the amazing support from the public we’ve seen so far.”