Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo Sold Out on First Day of Public Reopening Since Shelter Order

Oakland Zoo
NBC Bay Area

All available tickets to the Oakland Zoo sold out for Wednesday, the first day the zoo has been open to the public since closing amid COVID-19 shelter orders in March.

Attendance was limited to 2,500 people, one-third of its capacity, to be sure visitors were safe amid the pandemic, zoo's officials said.

Following a variance Alameda County public health officials secured earlier this month from the state, the zoo reopened for outdoor activities.

The zoo opened to the public at 10 a.m. and is in East Oakland at 9777 Golf Links Road.

"Today is just a fantastic day for us," Nik Dehejia, executive vice president of the zoo, said, standing in the flamingo exhibit.

"We are thrilled," he said. "Everybody is having a really good time."

After warning the public it might have to close permanently because of a lack of revenue, the Oakland Zoo reopened its doors Monday and will continue to operate. Joe Rosato Jr. reports.

Attendance into the foreseeable future will be limited to 2,500 people. Tickets must be purchased online at https://www.oaklandzoo.org/reopening#ticket-reservations.

The zoo is sold out for Thursday as well.

"People are saying they're happy to have a place to come outdoors and have an excursion with their family," zoo spokeswoman Erin Harrison said.

Some of the animals seems to be engaging with the visitors, which primates, giraffes and bears, among others, do usually, Harrison said.

Dehejia said once zoo officials and the public feel comfortable, the capacity may be increased. Wednesday, everybody was complying with efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, he said.

"We're trying to do it safely and responsibly," Dehejia said.

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