LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A summer staple in Lafayette is set to open this coming week. On Friday June 12th the Columbian Park Zoo will open to the public. According to a press release, the zoo will open at half capacity in accordance with stage four of Governor Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana Plan.
“We are thrilled to finally open the gates for the 2020 season. Over the last several weeks, we have been working hard to be able to safely reopen to the public,” said Neil Dale, Zoo Director. “We will be implementing a number of heightened safety and cleaning measures as we enter the new season.”
The press release also states the hours of the zoo will be changed to 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The extra time will allow staff to properly sanitize high contact areas.
Among the implemented changes to expect this season, guests will be asked to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines, all educational programs and presentations will be no-contact/viewing only experiences, including the IU Health Arnett Family Farm, which will be closed off for viewing only. High contact areas such as viewing windows, handrails, and benches will be cleaned at regularly scheduled intervals.
“The health & safety of our staff, patrons, and animals is our number one priority,” said Dale.
Dale says the much-anticipated penguin exhibit is on track to open later this summer and the new Columbian Park carousel project is slated for completion in the fall of 2020.
Additionally, Dale notes that with the many construction projects underway in Columbian Park such as the new Loeb Stadium and Memorial Island Phase III, the Columbian Park Express Train will not operate this year.
“The train will be sorely missed this summer, but we think the many improvements to the park and Zoo will be well worth the wait!”