St. Louis Zoo will reopen next week, starts taking reservations Monday

Visitors have to make reservations in advance to comply with social distancing


Photo by Robin Winkelman

Visitors enjoying the sea lion show at the St. Louis Zoo sea lion arena

The St. Louis Zoo will reopen to the public Saturday, June 13, after being closed for nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The zoo, located on Government Drive in Forest Park, said it has implemented enhanced protocols and procedures to protect visitors from COVID-19.

In order to better ensure good social distancing, the zoo will limit attendance and require timed, free reservations in order to enter the zoo. The zoo will be open seven days a week and guests can make reservations at beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, June 8. The zoo also will provide a phone number for those unable to access the zoo’s website. 

“I am excited to share the news about our reopening and I hope everyone knows that the Saint Louis Zoo values safety,” zoo President and CEO Jeffrey Bonner said in the announcement. “I am amazed at the incredible care our staff has provided to the animals during this pandemic as well as the diligent work underway in preparation to provide our guests with safe and memorable experiences.” 

Zoo leadership said they have closely monitored the developments of the global outbreak of COVID-19, following regular updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), as well as information provided by federal, state and local authorities and health officials.

The unique characteristics of the zoo campus and vast outdoor experiences provide the opportunity to safely implement numerous safety measures, zoo officials said.

Although they said specific details pertaining to those measures as well as zoo policies and protocols for guests will be shared closer to reopening, there are a few the zoo released in addition to the timed reservations: 

Next, at the direction of the Department of Health for the city of St. Louis, it is mandatory for zoo staff to wear masks/face coverings and the zoo will require all guests over the age of 9 to wear masks/face coverings while visiting. Guests with preexisting health conditions unable to wear a mask/face covering for medical reasons are exempt.

Guests are allowed to remove or lower their masks/face coverings when practicing good social distancing of 6 feet or more when eating or drinking. 

“Face coverings can help minimize virus transmission from asymptomatic individuals. Keeping our animal and veterinary care staff safe and protected is the best measure to keep our animals safe and at minimal risk of exposure to a virus that we know very little about,” Bonner said in the release.

“On behalf of everyone at the Saint Louis Zoo, we appreciate your support and we look forward to seeing you soon,” Bonner said. “Until then, we encourage you to follow us on social media or on our blog to stay connected as we do our best to share stories and photos.”