SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — With Southern California’s stay-at-home order over, coronavirus restrictions have rolled back.
Today this allowed animals and humans to interact once again at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
“Heard that it was opening up, so we went because we go all the time,” zoo member Summer Kearin said. “We love to see the animals.”
Emma Hepworth took a trip from Los Angeles to visit the zoo with her husband and two sons.
“It’s set up well to come and visit as a family, she said. “You can space out and let everyone enjoy.”
While the zoo was closed, the staff remained busy as can be taking care of all the animals.
They also used the shutdown to get going with construction on the new Australian Walkabout exhibit.
“It has been a very quiet place,” Santa Barbara Zoo guest service manager Melinda Morgan-Stowell said. “I’m just thrilled to see all of these folks out here enjoying the zoo again.”
To limit the number of people in the park, visitors are required to make advanced reservations online for their tickets.
Sharon Kearin showed up with her six grandchildren.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “It’s our favorite activity together as a family.”
Even though its’ guests were gone for over seven weeks, the zoo added some animals such as two white-faced saki monkeys, two baby flamingos and fireback pheasants.
“Everytime we’re able to come back out in the public again, it’s a new experience,” Morgan-Stowell said.
As the animals reacted to the return of humans, parents were thankful for another fun family activity.
“The penguins are best part and the giraffes,” Guy Hepworth said. “We love the penguins and the giraffes.”
“Being next to the beach and seeing animals with the kids getting excited, that’s really what it’s all about,” another visitor Jason Burbidge concluded.
The Santa Barbara Zoo is now open everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To book a reservation, you can visit their website.
Watch tonight on KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY News Channel 12 and KKFX Fox 11 news.
(More information, video and pictures will be added here later today.)