Staff at Dublin Zoo welcomed visitors on Monday as the Government announced the reopening of outdoor attractions in Ireland. Taoiseach Micheál Martin joined members of the public visiting the Zoo after four months of closed doors.
To avoid overcrowding, the Zoo will allow 20% of its standard capacity, and a one-way ‘Outdoor Safari Trail’ system has been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. There are hand sanitising stations and signs reminding people of social distancing rules and how to practice good hygiene.
Tickets to the Zoo are currently only available to buy online. Due to the high demand for ticket reservations, the Dublin Zoo website temporarily crashed on the first release date.
Anxious to book a slot, customers eagerly awaited for the site to reboot, describing the experience as similar to “trying to get Glastonbury tickets.”
Dublin Zoo is a registered charity working in partnership with Zoos worldwide, contributing to the conservation of biodiversity, first opening its doors to the public in 1840. Located in Phoenix Park, the Zoo is home to over 400 animals from around the world within the 28-hectare attraction.
With over 1 million visitors every year, Dublin Zoo is Ireland’s most prominent and popular family attraction.
“Many of the animals living at Dublin Zoo are extremely rare species whose very survival is under threat in the wild.” states the Dublin Zoo website.
Due to the pandemic, the Zoo has been closed for 244 days throughout several lockdowns. With no ticket sales, the charity had no option but to turn to the public to plead for donations, initiating the #SaveDublinZoo campaign to keep the attraction running and cover the €500,000 monthly costs.
The campaign raised almost €3 million, and after successful lobbying, the Government contributed a further €2.5 million to support the Zoo.
Senior Zoo Keeper Brendan Walsh tweeted that he was “Over the moon that our Zoo is reopening.”
As the gates opened on Monday for the first time since Christmas, visitors shared photos and videos of their experience online.
Click here for more information on the current lockdown restriction in Ireland.