ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – Governor Abbott announced Monday all Texas zoos will be allowed to re-open on Friday. Despite opening its doors to the public on Monday, the Abilene Zoo will remain open, but officials say they are working to comply with guidelines.
For its first official day of re-opening, the Abilene Zoo saw a lot of foot traffic. Most visitors were families who were cooped up inside their homes.
Jase Beard and his family are members of the zoo.
“We’re sick of being at home, so it’s nice to get out,” said Beard. “My [daughters] love animals, love the zoo, love the train but the train is closed today.”
Jennifer Pacheo is the marketing director for the Abilene Zoo. She said staff has been anxiously waiting to re-open, but everyone has stayed busy. Ahead of re-opening, the zoo promoted its new capybara exhibit on social media and constructed a game plan to keep visitors safe from the virus that forced the zoo to shut its doors for two months.
“We couldn’t wait to see the community again, and I couldn’t sleep last night personally,” said Pacheo. “I was so thrilled.”
The zoo has implemented a safety infrastructure, building sneeze guards to protect workers, making prices flat at concession stands to avoid touching coin change, creating a disinfecting schedule, and encouraging visitors to purchase tickets online. Pacheo said some of these protocols could become more permanent.
“You’re going to see some new guidelines here at the zoo, and it’s part of the new, and it’s going to be OK,” said Pacheo.