Zoo Fall Update 2020

This update was written by Associate Director of Communications and Exhibits Pamela Baker-Masson and was sent to members of the Zoo Neighborhood Council Oct. 2, 2020.

Dear Zoo Neighborhood Council Members:

I hope this finds you well and healthy. Autumn is a lovely time to take a stroll through our beautiful park, and we hope you and your constituents will visit in the near future. Free timed entry passes and paid parking passes—as well as detailed information about our new safety measures—are available on our website. Kindly note that we continue to observe limited capacity of 5,000 guests per day, although we are far from capacity for the majority of days. Masks are required and we’re implementing a behavior study to address mask compliance. Our hours remain 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with last admittance at 3:00 p.m.

As you may have seen in the news, the Zoo’s giant panda team recently welcomed a healthy cub Aug. 21. The miraculous arrival reverberated all over the world, and we are thrilled to share our conservation success. Many virtual visitors have remarked that this cub gives them a reason to smile in an otherwise tumultuous year. If you need a moment of joy, I highly recommend you check out our heartwarming #PandaStory online.

In considering the health and safety of our visitors, we have made several significant changes to the events that traditionally occur this time of year. Boo at the Zoo, managed by FONZ will take place Oct. 24 and 25 from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. It will be a timed-ticketed drive-thru experience this year (the event has sold out). Night of the Living Zoo, FONZ’s annual Halloween event for adults 21 and older is canceled. ZooLights, which typically would begin the Friday after Thanksgiving and run through New Year’s Day, will not be on site this year. We are exploring options out in the city, but we will be sure to share that information with you once confirmed. We’re sharing this news with our Business neighbors across the street.

We remain committed to open lines of communications with our neighbors. If you would like to submit feedback, please email NZP-CommunityOutreach@si.edu or to me directly.