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Photo essay: COVID brings big changes to Zoo Boise

COVID-19 Idaho

Last month, Zoo Boise started welcoming visitors again after several months closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular attraction in Julia Davis Park implemented a host of changes to open up.

  • Advance tickets are now required.
  • Visitors must reserve a timeslot online.
  • Masks are now required, within the guidelines set forth by the City of Boise.
  • The zoo now operates as a one-way street – with a single path through the zoo.
  • Some areas remain closed off.

We visited on July 3rd. Here’s how it worked.

Each group of visitors is given a time-slot to enter. Zoo Boise annual members get in free, while non-members can purchase a ticket and reserve their time online.

Once inside the zoo, instead of entering into the usual ‘choose your own adventure’ plaza with many different routes – you instead start down a one-way path.

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Throughout the zoo, markers on the ground indicate your path through .

Play areas like slides, the prairie dog exhibit and other exhibits that might have invited kids (and the occasional adult) to climb on are closed. All indoor exhibits are also closed, like the bat house, penguin area and others.

Hand sanitizer stations appear throughout the zoo. Even on trees.

But many animals are still on view. Diana the tiger came up and visited our party several times. Because of the controlled access, you almost feel like you are getting a private zoo tour.

The zoo even has a few new things to see, like Ursula and Vlad the Impaler – a pair of new sea eaglES.

Even though the zoo has seen some big changes, one thing didn’t: the zebra hasn’t changed its stripes.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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