Belfast zoo reopens as coronavirus lockdown measures ease

Health and safety measures have been put in pace to adhere to current coronavirus guidelines. Credit: Pacemaker

Belfast Zoo reopened its doors to the public on Sunday after being closed for over three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of safety measures have been put in place around the 52-acre site and daily visitor numbers will be limited.

Most of the indoor animal houses remain closed. Credit: Pacemaker

A one-way system has been marked out for visitors to follow and hand sanitiser points have also been set up.

Tickets will have to be booked in advance via a telephone booking system.

Zoo manager Alyn Cairns said: “While the experience will be a bit different for visitors, we are confident that there will still be plenty for people to see on their outdoor trek of the zoo, including the zoo’s newest residents born during lockdown. Among them is Ronan, an endangered Rothschild's giraffe calf, a Southern pudu and two Scottish wildcat kittens.”

Animal feeding times are temporarily unavailable. Credit: Pacemaker

Mr Cairns added: “Although the zoo has been closed to the public, it has been business as usual for the animal welfare team who have been working round the clock to care for the animals and get ready for the zoo to welcome back visitors in a safe way. We are delighted to be able to open our gates again and would ask the public to please show patience and understanding when booking their tickets, and visiting while these necessary measures are in place."

Things to be aware of if you are visiting the zoo:

  • Visitors can visit the zoo during the morning from 10am to 1.30pm, last admission 11.30am, and in afternoon, from 2.30pm to 6pm, last admission 4pm, with a maximum of 500 people in each.

  • All visitors must book tickets in advance for specific 15 minute entry time slots to manage numbers safely.

  • Visitors will have to follow a one-way outdoor system which is clearly marked.

  • All indoor animal houses are currently closed except for the Reptile House.

  • The outdoor children's play park is currently closed.

  • Toilets at both ends of the zoo will be open. One near the entrance/exit and the other at the top of the zoo.

  • Keeper talks and animal feeding times are temporarily unavailable.

  • One cafe will offer takeaway options only.

  • Limited seating is available around the perimeter of the one way system and at the cafe.

  • Hand sanitiser stations have been set up throughout the zoo site.