As Atlanta families are looking for more opportunities to get out and have fun, parents are searching for safe destinations where they can feel comfortable again. At the top of your list should be COVID-friendly Zoo Atlanta, who is clearly committed to the safety of their guests. The zoo is a fantastic outdoor venue, with the majority of the attractions still available to guests, and they’re following enhanced safety protocols.
Zoo Atlanta graciously hosted our family to experience what’s new at the zoo this fall. We were curious to see what’s changed and our kids love going. Here’s everything you need to know about your upcoming Zoo Atlanta trip – from reserving tickets to wearing masks.
COVID-Friendly Zoo Atlanta: Planning Your Trip
Some of the new safety protocols are actually put in place because of City of Atlanta ordinances. Call ahead of time if you have any questions about possible changes. This information, and review of our experience, is about a September 2020 visit. Zoo Atlanta is working hard to ensure the safety of guests, as they continue to open more experiences. So it’s always best to reach out prior to your visit or checking the Zoo Atlanta website.
Does Zoo Atlanta Require Guests To Wear Masks?
Yes and No! This new precaution comes from the City of Atlanta. Per City of Atlanta ordinance, guests 10 and older are required to wear masks. Exemptions include: any person younger than ten (10) years of age, though strongly recommended; any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents the wearing of a mask or face covering; any person while the person is consuming food or drink.
Our kids did not wear a mask, since they’re under the age of ten and we felt comfortable being outdoors with social distancing. However, up-close experiences (like the Giraffe Feeding) will require that kids under 10 wear a mask too. Pro Tip: Bring a child’s mask, just in case, even if you don’t end up using it. They also have masks to purchase.
How Does Zoo Atlanta Promote Social Distancing?
The neatest part our COVID-Friendly Zoo Atlanta experience was the one-way path that they’ve set up. Guests can easily maintain social distancing and foot traffic flows well, thanks to the designated pathway. All guests have the opportunity to see every exhibit that the zoo currently offers (Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience is opening in October).
Park maps are scanned on your smartphone via QR Code, which pulls up a digital version. However, we never felt like we needed to look at the map because of the guided path. We got to see everything!
At each individual exhibit, there are boxes painted on the ground where each group can stand to observe the animals. With the timed ticketing system, it was easy to avoid crowds all together.
How Do I Purchase 2020 Timed Tickets?
Guest capacity is limited through their timed ticketing system. Guest can purchase tickets online, ahead of their visit, and select a time during the day. Walk up visits can purchase tickets on their smartphone. We really enjoyed the lower capacity and parking wasn’t an issue at all. We chose to arrive upon Zoo Atlanta’s opening, in the morning, to see the animals being “more active.” Pro Tip: Monday – Thursday tickets cost slightly less than the weekend ticket price.
Atlanta CityPASS tickets are available for guests to purchase as well. The CityPASS includes a mobile ticket and 30 days to visit the following attractions:
- Georgia Aquarium
- World of Coca-Cola
- Zoo Atlanta OR National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History OR College Football Hall of Fame
What Should I Pack For My 2020 Zoo Trip?
Obviously, you’ll want to pack your adult masks at least. Zoo Atlanta does a great job with hand sanitizing stations all throughout the park (tons of them), but I still like to pack my own hand sanitizer. Cash transactions are no longer an option, so be sure to bring your credit or debit card for transactions. Here are some other things to consider:
- Either print your Zoo Atlanta timed ticket or have your ticket ready to scan on your smart phone.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The pathway ensures that you’ll see every exhibit – but you’ll be walking around almost all of the zoo grounds.
- Current Zoo Atlanta Food Options are slightly more limited than usual – the Nourish Cafe is temporarily closed. Food and souvenirs are sold at outdoor kiosks. Keep that in mind when you want to plan snacks for the kids.
Temporary 2020 Zoo Atlanta Hours
Days are a little shorter at the zoo, so they have adequate amount of time to clean and sanitize guest areas. We started our day early and arrived upon opening, which worked well for our young kids. Here are the temporary hours:
- Weekday hours are 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Last entry is 3:30 p.m.
- Weekend hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Last entry is 4:30 p.m.
Food stands shut down one hour prior to close time and the animals come in one hour prior to the close time as well. That’s definitely something to keep in mind, so you get the most bang for your buck!
Hopefully your family can go support our local Atlanta economy and have a great experience at Zoo Atlanta. It’s great to see all of the safety measures that they’re taking to ensure guests feel welcomed. Overall, I think they’re doing a fantastic job and it’s a great Covid-friendly Atlanta destination.
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