Zoos Find Solutions for Reopening

May 27, 2020, 6:30 p.m. ·


Nebraska’s updated directed health measure sets out guidelines for zoos to reopen starting June 1st. Different zoos are taking different tacts to keep customers safe.

The new directed health measure limits zoos to 25% of their capacity.

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and the Lincoln Children’s Zoo will reopen with outdoor-only, one-way walking trails.

In Scottsbluff, the Riverside Discovery Center reopened May 11th. They added plexiglass guards at the entrance and gift shop and traffic arrows in walkways and on paths to encourage people to keep moving in one direction.

Executive Director Anthony Mason said the zoo has tried to make their coronavirus precautions fun.

“We have this really big sign that has the full size of a lion on it and it says ‘an adult male lion can reach eight feet in length,'" Mason said. "'And we recommend keeping at least one lion between you and other guests.’”

Mason said the discovery center has closed some areas, but is allowing guests into indoor areas by propping open doors to decrease the number of surfaces guests have to touch.

He said guests have been good about adapting to the new normal at the zoo.

“We have not really had any problems, any complaints," Mason said. "Luckily our paths in our zoo are wide enough, big enough, that it’s pretty easy for people to stay apart from each other.”

Mason said around 50-70 % of visitors to the zoo wear masks during their visit.