BYRON, Minn. - The Zollman Zoo had to temporarily close for a little while, just like so many other businesses. But now, they've been open for a few weeks and that's making everyone happy, even the animals.
Park naturalist, Megan Long, told KIMT the staff focuses on a lot of enrichment activities with the animals, so they could tell the difference when they weren't being socialized. The zoo has made some changes since reopening. It's offering virtual educational videos on YouTube instead of in person, signs are placed throughout the zoo reminding visitors to social distance and Long explained staff had to extend the big cat exhibit out further because those animals can contract COVID-19. So to keep everyone safe, the distance went from the usual 4 feet to 6 feet. "We as keepers are always keeping our mask when we're in the exhibits around them so that we are making sure not to possibly transfer anything," Long said. "It was recommended by our vet that we should have at least 6 foot of distance between them and the visitors."
Long said overall, people have been adapting to social distancing pretty well. "We're lucky we have a big enough space so they can do that. Sometimes it's a little hard if you're feeding an animal, that's a popular attraction," said Long. "But I have heard people saying, 'make sure we're staying with our friends or make sure that you're giving space between those people, between your neighbors.' So a lot of people have been conscious about that, which is good."
Long said they do ask that you wear face masks and social distance as best as you can when at the zoo. The Nature Center at Oxbow Park is still closed because they say it's hard to social distance there, but the Zollman Zoo is open every day from 10 in the morning to four in the afternoon.