Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo members will enjoy three weeks of access to the zoo before the Sherman Boulevard attraction opens to the public July 4.
In a statement released May 16, the zoo said the opening is in keeping with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s schedule for getting the state back on track. The zoo, which usually opens in mid-April, had to postpone opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From June 14 through July 3, the zoo will offer member-only access. Current zoo members will need a free, timed ticket available only at kidszoo.org/membersonly. This system will allow the zoo to spread out the number of guests, speed the flow at entrance lines, and encourage appropriate social distancing as the zoo operates at the mandated half-capacity.
“Half of our attendance annually is from our zoo members,” said Jim Anderson, executive director. “Before they visit, zoo members need to visit our website to get their timed tickets. That’s the only way to secure their entry ticket from June 14 through July 3.”
The zoo also plans to extend the 2020 season with more days in October.
“The delayed opening has presented the zoo with unprecedented financial challenges,” the zoo said in a statement. “Even if the zoo experiences the greatest summer after opening to the public on July 4, we are projecting a $5 million revenue loss.”
“The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is one of just a few zoos who does not receive tax support for our daily operations, and we rely on guests, but especially our zoo members,” Bonnie Kemp, director of Communication, said in a news release.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is northeast Indiana’s largest tourist attraction, hosting more than 600,000 guests annually.