APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Zoo announced it is opening next weekend for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to close to visitors in March.
The zoo will be open to the public beginning July 24, although members will be allowed in earlier for a special preview from July 19-22. Visitors, including those with zoo memberships, must reserve tickets online in advance.
The zoo says it will have "stringent measures in place to ensure a safe and enriching experience with the natural world."
The loss in revenue combined with the upkeep of caring for its 5,000 animals left the zoo in a tight spot financially. Gov. Tim Walz told lawmakers last month the zoo faced permanent closure if it did not get financial help from the government.
The zoo briefly offered a drive-thru experience called the “Beastly Boulevard” to raise money to cover its revenue losses. Beastly Boulevard allowed visitors to take a leisurely drive through the zoo grounds and observe the animals along the Northern Trail, but visitors were not allowed to leave their vehicles.
The Walz administration eventually gave the zoo a $6 million bailout to help keep its doors open.
Ticket sales for the zoo’s reopening begin Thursday, July 16 at 10 a.m.