Houston Zoo moves into next phase of reopening during pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Zoo is moving into its next phase of reopening after opening its doors to the public back in June.

In the next phase, that started on Monday, guests will be able to enjoy some of their favorite areas, including air-conditioned buildings, an extension of Wortham World of Primates and bears pathways, and the Wildlife Carousel.

The reopened indoor buildings will offer guests a place to cool off from the summer heat as they visit the animals.

The carousel is back open and to comply with social distance guidelines, zoo staff will clean and disinfect the carousel between every ride. Hand sanitizer will also be available for guests to use as they enter and exit the carousel.

If you want to go to the zoo, you'll need to follow health and safety guidelines in the midst of the pandemic.

SEE ALSO: Line stretches at Houston Zoo as guests are welcomed back

During the first month of reopening, the zoo saw a large and excited crowd. ABC13 was there at the reopening and the line of families stretched past the train at Hermann Park.

"We have been eagerly awaiting the time when we can reopen with the support of our local and state government," said Lee Ehmke, president and CEO of the Houston Zoo, before the reopening. "During this time, we have been establishing new protocols to ensure we welcome Houstonians to the Zoo in the safest way possible."

Some of the guidelines revealed before opening include making online reservations. This is required for all guests and members. Guests are now able to reserve their spots at the zoo.

A few of their safety modifications include free hand sanitizing stations along the path, at restrooms, and food locations. While food will be available for purchase, guests are welcomed to bring in their outside food and non-alcoholic drinks.

High-touch areas will remain closed, this includes the water play.
For more information on reservations and the safety guidelines, visit the Houston Zoo's website.

The Houston Zoo is a non-profit organization hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility was closed to the public, but the animals still needed to be cared for and the staff needed to be paid. As a result, the Houston Zoo started an emergency fund during the pandemic and will continue to take donations. For more information, click here.

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