Little Rock Zoo planning to reopen this summer with changes in place

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock Zoo will soon submit a reopening plan to the Arkansas Department of Health, but it comes with some changes.

Visitors ages 10 and older will be required to wear a face mask.

There will also be a limited amount of people that can enter the zoo at a time. To make sure zoo-goers can visit when they want, the zoo will start selling advanced tickets to reserve a spot. 

Plus, some of the zoo favorites will remain closed including, the petting zoo, train, carousel, and the cafe.

“What we are looking into is how we can do some of that dining outdoors,” said Little Rock Zoo Director Susan Altrui. “There’s a lot of apps and online ordering systems that allow you go get food ordered and brought to you.”

The Little Rock Zoo was already seeing a financial burden before the pandemic hit, and now it’s looking at losing even more money.

RELATED: Little Rock Zoo discusses how shortened hours impacted the budget

It is estimated by the end of May, the zoo will lose between 1.2 to 1.4 million dollars since the start of this year. 

The director says the zoo will not lose its accreditation, and is getting some help from the city. 

“It’s more than just the loss of revenue,” said Altrui. “It’s the loss of being able to spread our message about conservation. It’s the loss of being able to share these wonderful animals that we have here with the public.”

“That’s what it’s about is the mission of conservation and that’s what we really want to get back to more than anything,” said Altrui.

The Little Rock Zoo director hopes to have the reopening plan submitted to the Arkansas Department of Health by Friday. If the plan gets approved, the goal is to have the zoo reopened to visitors by mid-June.

RELATED: Little Rock Zoo needs your donation to help keep caring for animals