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Mill Mountain Zoo plans to reopen June 10

(WDBJ)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 4:59 PM EDT
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UPDATE:

The Mill Mountain Zoo announced Saturday on

that they are making faster progress than originally planned and will reopen Wednesday, June 10.

EARLIER:

Roanoke's Mill Mountain Zoo is preparing to welcome visitors back for the first time since it closed mid-March. It doesn't open until a week from Friday, but staffers are looking forward to the new normal

"Some of our animals started to get a little more lonely because they didn't have their adoring fans coming up to them on a daily basis," Derek Kellogg, co-director of Operations for Mill Mountain Zoo, said.

One such animal is the Zebu, craving that constant attention. But starting Friday, the Zebu and the other zoo animals will get their fans back.

"Pretty nervous and exciting, honestly, there's, you know, we're really happy and excited to be at a point where we can bring people back in and share with them the work that we do," Kellogg said

Mill Mountain Zoo closed to the public in mid-March because of the pandemic, creating a bit of a panic for the staff.

"There's a significant portion of our operational revenue that's actually geared to our attendance right here in the spring, and it all just kind of disappeared overnight," Kellogg explained.

That leaves the staff to question how they can keep the zoo afloat. But the zoo received a Paycheck Protection Program Loan and the community stepped in to help.

"It was really touching, it really helped to inspire me on days when it was kind of feeling a little bit grim sometimes," Kellogg said.

Flash forward to now, the zoo is able to reopen, just with some changes.

"We won't be able to open things like our reptile house and gift shop," Kellogg said.

50 people will be allowed in each hour, and guests will be required to wear masks.

for more on the reopening.

"So there's a little bit of time we need to just get the signs up and make sure everything is squared away," Kellogg said.

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