Taronga Western Plains Zoo to reopen on 1 June

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo will reopen its gates on Monday 1 June.

The Zoo initially closed on 25 March to ensure the safety of its guests, staff and animals and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has continued to work with the advice provided by NSW Health and the State and Federal Governments, and will now reopen in a controlled and responsible way.

Daily visitor numbers will be capped to ensure social distancing throughout the Zoo and all guests will be required to pre-purchase tickets online for a specific date and time.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is looking forward to once again welcoming guests into the Zoo and continuing to provide families with vital connections to animals and nature.

“Our region has faced incredible hardship, uncertainty and stress in recent years. We’ve dealt with severe drought followed by a global pandemic that has impacted our lives in ways we could never have imagined,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director Steve Hinks.

“During the temporary closure our team has been working hard to ensure our Zoo remains at its absolute best, with keepers caring for over 700 animals and our works and trade team going above and beyond to maintain the grounds and animal habitats. This work means that we’re ready to reopen safely and once again provide memorable and unique family adventures on our 300 hectare site.”

Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders MP said the Zoo’s imminent reopening was great news for the Dubbo region, following the announcement this week of the return of regional travel.

“Tourism makes a significant contribution to the Dubbo region of over $300 million annually, and the Zoo as our major attraction is a very big part of that,” Dugald said.

“Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a much loved institution and I am so pleased that local families, children and animal lovers will once again have access to the Zoo’s beautiful surrounds and wildlife.”

The Zoo’s foremost priorities on reopening are for individuals and families to enjoy their visit, whilst at the same time keeping them, Zoo staff and animals, safe and healthy.

As such, Taronga Western Plains Zoo has put the following measures in place:
• Taronga Western Plains Zoo will continue to carefully follow all social distancing guidelines;
• Additional cleaning will be undertaken, particularly around bathrooms, food service areas and hard surfaces in frequently visited areas;
• Daily visitor numbers will be limited to remove any risk of overcrowding, with a fixed number of tickets available per session;
• Zoo Friends members and complimentary ticket holders will be required to register their visit online before attending the Zoo;
• Indoor spaces, exhibits and dining areas will be restricted in line with current guidelines;
• Keeper Talks, Animal Encounters and Tours will not resume at this time, however guests will for the first time be able to view virtual Keeper Talks on their hand held devices whilst in Zoo grounds;
• The Zoo’s overnight experiences, Zoofari Lodge and Savannah Cabins, will reopen on 4 June (bookings already open), however Billabong Camp will remain closed to the public.
• For the safety of animals as well as visitors, the Deer Walkthrough and Goat Kraal Walkthrough will be closed to the public;
• Signage encouraging social distancing and hygiene measures is being installed throughout the Zoo along with sanitizing stations.

Guests visiting Taronga Western Plains Zoo following reopening will be treated to something extra special – a newborn male Hippo calf named Kani, meaning strength. The calf is one month of age and is growing in size and confidence. In the coming months, five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups born in late April will also start to emerge from their den and are sure to be a highlight for guests.

“We have missed our guests and being able to share our wonderful location and wildlife with the community,” said Steve.

“Whilst we have been keeping people at home up to date with Zoo happenings via Taronga TV and social media, our reopening will no doubt be a welcome opportunity for families to enjoy some time outdoors.

“We are so excited to welcome guests from near and far to Dubbo and the Zoo from 1 June to visit the amazing wildlife in our care and even stay the night.”

For more information about Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s reopening and the safety measures in place, visit taronga.org.au.

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