Lake Superior Zoo Plans ‘A Walk on the Wild Side’ Reopening
Indoor Exhibits Will Remain Closed as the Zoo Takes a Phased Approach to Reopening
DULUTH, Minn. – Under the latest phase of Minnesota’s ‘Stay Safe’ executive order, many public facilitates are allowed to reopen with health restrictions in place.
On the list to reopen is the Lake Superior Zoo.
Staff is breathing a sigh of relief after losing roughly $500,000 in earned revenue since being forced to close doors almost three months ago.
Before the closure on March 18, the Lake Superior Zoo was seeing record attendance numbers in January, February, and the first half of March.
“We’re really optimistic for what the rest of the year looks like,” said Haley Cope, Director of Marketing and Development at the Lake Superior Zoo.
Since historic flooding in 2012, the zoo has faced many roadblocks on the road to recovery with the latest being COVID-19.
Starting Thursday, June 11, the nation’s 19th oldest zoo will reopen to members, and those who have made a financial donation to the facility during a more than two month closure.
On Friday, June 12, the zoo will open to the general public, and they’re excited to debut what they’re calling, ‘A Walk on the Wild Side.’
“Your ticket when you come to the zoo is so much more than being able to walk around the grounds and see our animals. It pays for the animal’s food; it pays for their medicine, the veterinary care,” said Cope.
The reopening comes as a phased approach.
Staff will wear face coverings, but it’s optional for others.
Visitors are asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines and follow a new one way path through the zoo.
The biggest change will temporarily cut into your experience. Only outdoor exhibits will be open.
The facility is also bouncing back from 12 full-time staff layoffs. They were able to apply for and receive a portion of the paycheck protection loan.
“We were able to bring those people back on and bring together a solid pandemic operating plan that has been passed through the city and has allowed us to open with the executive order changing,” said Cope.
When asked about a potential deficit zoo officials said, “We have taken the appropriate measures during this unprecedented time to manage our cash flows. Those measures help us continue to feed our animals and provide them the absolute best care. However, due to the nature of the situation and the estimated half a million dollars in revenue lost, we will at the end of the year be in a deficit due to COVID.”
The Lake Superior Zoo will be open Thursday through Sunday from ten until five. Due to exhibit limitations, tickets will be less than normal general admission.
COVID-19 didn’t impact ongoing construction work to revitalize the zoo.
Governor Tim Walz deemed construction workers essential from the start of lockdown restrictions.
The expansion is already paid for through state bonding dollars, and the St. Louis River Corridor Tax from the City of Duluth.
Click here for more information regarding the Lake Superior Zoo, and how you can make an impact today.
New Pricing: Adults (13+): $10, Kids (3-12): $5, 2 & under are free