Brevard Zoo

‘Little Frank’ is a tawny frogmouth chick that hatched in April. Visitors might be able to get a glimpse of Little Frank starting May 23 when the Brevard Zoo re-opens to the public.

BREVARD COUNTY — After closing its doors to the public for nearly two months, the Brevard Zoo is ready to accept visitors starting this weekend, as long as they follow certain guidelines.

Guests planning on visiting must reserve their tickets online and choose a time slot for when they want to attend, as to limit the number of entrants per hour.

All guests seven years of age and older must have a mask or face covering to enter the zoo, and zoo staff will check cars in upon arrival to ensure guests have their mask and timed ticket.

Early arrivals will be asked to wait in their cars.

Although certain areas and experiences will remain temporary closed, zoo guests can visit some of their favorite animals, who are equally excited to see people again, according to Keith Winsten, executive director of Brevard Zoo.

“I think there are some introvert animals that have probably enjoyed the break, but there’s some extrovert animals that every time I bring a group of people by, they’re so excited,” Mr. Winsten said.

Additional safety measures have been put in place for the protection of the zoo’s animals, such as a barrier in front of specific exhibits to keep visitors from getting too close.

After a tiger in the Bronx Zoo was diagnosed with the COVID-19 earlier in the year, the Brevard Zoo has been cautious with its staff and animals to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

“There were three or five cats at the Bronx that all had the symptoms, a dry cough was the really noticeable one, so they appear to be similar to human symptoms,” Mr. Winsten said. “All of their cats have recovered, as far as we know. We have some geriatric cats here, so we’re taking extra precautions.”

Behind the scenes, the Brevard Zoo has been keeping up with its conservation efforts from taking care of sea turtles to Indian River Lagoon restoration.

In April, the Brevard Zoo took in an abandoned black bear cub named “Brody” from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. While Brody will not be making a public appearance in the near future, he has been featured in videos on the zoo’s Facebook page.

The zoo also welcomed a tawny frogmouth chick, two lorikeet chicks and a giraffe calf within the past two months.

“We really bring joy to people and improve their quality of life by being here and seeing the settings with these amazing animals,” Mr. Winsten said. “We’re really excited to do that again for our community.”

The Brevard Zoo’s hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admission for nonmembers is 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. for members.

The Brevard Zoo will not be accepting cash at this time, and a $5 minimum for every credit card purchase. Drinking fountains are closed, except for refillable water bottle stations. Vending machines are available for drinks and do accept cash.

For more information, visit brevardzoo.org/support/opening-guidelines.

Associate Managing Editor

I have been a Viera resident for 15 years and a writer my whole life. I love to travel when the opportunity presents itself, as well as try new things.

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