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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego Zoo OK'd to reopen, along with hotels for tourism

Tourism is San Diego's second leading industry.
Credit: KFMB

San Diego Zoo Global officials have announced that both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park will reopen on June 20, ending the longest closure in the organization's 103-year history.

Both parks were shuttered in mid-March to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Before the official reopenings, the Zoo and Safari Park will host a series of "Preview Days" for the membership base and committed donors, according to San Diego Zoo Global. Those invitation-only preview events will begin on Sunday.

Both parks will reopen with reduced capacity, limited dining and shopping options, more hand washing and sanitizing locations and one-way path modifications and barriers. Guests will be encouraged to wear face coverings and observe physical distancing at all times.

All shows, tours and Safari experiences will be temporarily unavailable and numerous attractions will be closed during the initial reopening phase, including the Zoo's Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Bus and Skyfari Aerial Tram.

"We're thrilled to once again welcome guests back to San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park for the first time in three months," Paul Baribault, president/CEO of San Diego Zoo Global, said Tuesday. "There's no better way to celebrate the occasion than to invite our faithful members and donors, who have been steadfast allies helping us by continuing to support our mission to save wildlife worldwide."

The zoo encouraged visitors to check out some of the park's newest residents, including a koala joey named Omeo, an Andean bear cub named Agapito, an unnamed one-month-old pigmy hippo calf and a three-month-old giraffe calf named Zahara.

Animal enthusiasts can also experience the zoo online using the 13 available wildlife cams, including the newly added hippo cam and platypus cam. 

San Diego County is also allowing hotels to welcome back tourists just as summer vacation starts for many.

San Diego County officials say community pools, gyms, museums, galleries, aquariums, card rooms and wineries will also be allowed to reopen Friday, June 12.

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