El Paso Zoo walk-through amid closure due to COVID-19

El Paso News

KTSM 9 News got the opportunity to take a look inside and check up on the critters we care about.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Wednesday, multiple Quality of Life services with the City of El Paso were supposed to reopen to the public on July 1, but it is now at another standstill because of rising COVID-19 cases in El Paso County.

One of those services being a community favorite – The El Paso Zoo.

KTSM 9 News got the opportunity to take a look inside and check up on the critters we care about.

“Well we’re a little disappointed obviously, but it’s for the protection of the animals and the staff and the people. You have to wear masks when you come to the zoo,” Joe Montisano, Director of the El Paso Zoo shared.

During the walkthrough, KTSM 9 News got to explore the Chihuahua Desert which is relatively new for the El Paso Zoo and the public, “All of this has been new since November. If you haven’t been to the zoo since November, you haven’t seen anything in the Chihuahua Desert that’s here.”

Montisano shared employees and staff at the zoo have been working really hard despite the closure, “So our animal staff still has had to come in every day and take care of the animals,” Montisano said.

KTSM 9 News also got to visit an El Paso favorite, the Orangutan exhibit, “Well they’re some of our favorites, you’re right. They’ve been doing fine, Khaleesi is getting pretty big you can see her on the edge of her little hammock. We’ve also had to mark off the viewing scopes so people can’t use it. It’s too touchy and we can’t clean it in between every person.”

When the zoo can reopen its gates to the public, El Pasoans can expect to reunite with their favorite critters in a safe way. However, some amenities will remain closed, “The train, Carousel, and the Ropes Course are the three big ones that people come for and enjoy,” Montisano said.

“It’s 90% of the animals that are going to be on display in their normal habitats so you can get that zoo experience, just some of the extra things that’ll be closing,” Montisano explained. “We’ll have a restaurant open and we’ll have a lot of food sales as well. Outside food sales available, and our picnic tables still. We had to spread out and limit them but it’s still available for use as well.”

The El Paso Zoo also shared that it updated it’s hours once it’s able to reopen “We’re going to be closed Monday’s and Tuesday’s to-do extra sanitation and take care of the things we need to do. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday we’re opening at 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. Saturday and Sunday will be the same, it’ll be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

The zoo doesn’t have an official reopening date as of yet.

Stick with KTSM for the latest updates.

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