On Saturday 4 July the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), which runs Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk, reopened their doors to the public for the first time since their closure in March due to Covid-19.
Following the government announcement that zoos could reopen from 15 June, staff at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! worked hard to ensure the correct safety measures were put in place before opening to the public. Among the first visitors to Banham Zoo was Liz Truss, Trade Secretary and MP for South West Norfolk.
Gary Batters, joint managing director, said: “Our staff have worked incredibly hard to make sure that Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! are safe for our visitors’ return, so it’s been amazing to see lots of excited and smiling faces at our Zoos this weekend.
It’s been a challenging few months for our charity and we still have a long way to go, but our safety measures are now in place and we look forward to welcoming all our wonderful guests and supporters back to our Zoos.”
The Zoological Society of East Anglia have an ongoing JustGiving page to encourage donations to their charity during this challenging time: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/zsea
5899 guests visited Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! on the first weekend of reopening, with many families and friends enjoying their first outing since lockdown began. Guests were able to see their favourite animals including White rhino Tootsie at Africa Alive!, and Amur tiger Kusma who recently returned to Banham Zoo after a period of loan to Knowsley Safari Park near Liverpool.
Ruth Johnson, an annual pass holder at Banham Zoo, said: “I had no difficulty in social distancing and accessing the food and toilets. It was easy to find seating and the staff on hand to manage the (tiny) queues were all absolutely lovely!
The one-way systems were easy to understand and the 2 metre marks at viewing areas were really helpful. Thank you so much for what you have done to enable us to come back.”
New measures at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! include one-way systems where there are pinch points around in the zoos, over 20 points where guests can wash or sanitise their hands and cashless payments throughout. Tickets can be purchased online by pre-booking a 45-minute timed slot for entry.
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