Animals at Zoo Knoxville 'eager for attention,' camps resume May 27

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Zoo Knoxville announced that Zoo Camp will start on May 27 after Knox County gave the green light for phase two of its reopening to begin May 26.

(Source: Zoo Knoxville)

"We’re ready to go, we still have spots available. We will be operating our camp with CDC guidelines as our guide and also looking at what area daycares who have had children with them through the closure, we’ve been following their best practices," said Zoo Knoxville CEO and President Lisa New.

According to a release from the zoo, "Classrooms will be disinfected daily and camps will be kept separate from each other. All camp staff and campers will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 each day before being allowed to attend camp."

Zoo Knoxville officially opened to the public on Monday. Guests were asked to respect social distancing guidelines and encouraged to wear masks. "We opened to the rain so it’s been a slow opening but the guests that we have had have been very mindful of each other," New said.

In an interview with WVLT News Anchor Amanda Hara, New said the period of closure didn't seem to have an effect on the animals, "I think it’ll be an easy transition. Of course it has been quiet here but in terms of crowds our crowds will continue to be light and controlled. Some animals I don't think we saw much of a difference in their behavior, but then there were some that seemed particularly attention-starved. So for instance our chimpanzees, our great apes, seem particularly interested when people are walking by. Our rockstar Georgie [the] gibbon definitely has been eager for attention so in a lot of ways our guests are enriching and interesting to our animals and they always have opportunities to get away if it's too much. So I think it’ll be great for our team as well as our animals to have people back in here."

New said she hoped the weather for Memorial Day Weekend would hold up and encourage people to visit, "I think we’re in a really great place to offer a safe environment for our guests."

A reminder, you must purchase tickets online and reserve a time to visit as the zoo is operating on a timed entry system to control crowds.

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