Cancel your weekend plans, the Denver Zoo is reopening June 12

After closing in March, the zoo will open to members on Wednesday before opening for general admission on Friday.
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The call of Adelaide the kookaburra lasts nearly a full minute. She came to the zoo as a hatchling 16 years ago. Zookeeper Katie Krantz holds her. April 19, 2020. (Sonya Doctorian for Denverite)

The Denver Zoo will welcome back members starting on Wednesday, June 10, and allow general admission starting Friday, June 12, after being closed nearly three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A release from the zoo on Monday said it will reopen for Member Gratitude Days on Wednesday and Thursday before opening for all guests on Friday. The zoo closed March 17 due to the coronavirus. The zoo's reopening aligns with Denver easing up on restrictions it put in place for businesses to help curb the spread of the disease.

In a release, the zoo said it will implement enhanced cleaning procedures, limited lines and crowds; encourage social distancing for all guests; and follow strict guidelines for employees. All guests three years and older will need to wear a face mask or face covering, in accordance with the city's rules.

"We are beyond thrilled to welcome back our community of friends and neighbors who have stood by our side and provided such crucial, meaningful support while we were closed," Bert Vescolani, President and CEO of Denver Zoo, said in the release. "But we remain vigilant in our obligation to protect this community, and have gone through exhaustive planning and preparation so that our guests can feel safe and comfortable while connecting with our 3,000 animals."

That three-month closure wasn't easy for the Denver Zoo -- taking care of the animals and paying staff still costs $100,000 a day, guests or no guests, and the zoo had to lay off 100 employees.

The zoo will only allow online ticket sales and will limit the number of visitors per day. Guests will have staggered 15-minute entry windows for tickets. Admission lines will be marked for distancing. Hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations will be available throughout the zoo and in restrooms.

All guests will follow a one-way path, created to let visitors see most of the animal habitats and gardens while keeping social distancing, according to the zoo's release. The release said animal demonstrations have been modified to minimize contact.

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