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Tulsa Zoo Reopens June 1

(May 14, 2020)

The Tulsa Zoo is ready to welcome guests back on grounds beginning with a members-only thank you week May 25, then for the general public on June 1. The zoo closed to the public on March 16 as a precautionary measure as part of the City of Tulsa’s Safer at Home executive order.

The Tulsa Zoo will reopen with key changes in place to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19. These changes include limiting the number of guests on zoo grounds, minimizing touch points, enabling proper social-distancing opportunities and increasing cleaning protocol. One of the more noticeable changes is all guests, including members, will be required to make reservations in advance online for a three-hour visit. Here are the details, including ways the Tulsa Zoo is caring for your herd as we reopen.

When does the zoo reopen to the public?
The zoo is open to the public beginning June 1, 2020. Members will be treated to a special members-only week beginning May 25, 2020.

What is changing at the zoo?
The Tulsa Zoo will reopen with key changes in place to support our need to limit the number of guests on zoo grounds, minimize touch points, enable proper social distancing and increase cleaning protocol. One of the more noticeable changes is all guests, including members, will be required to make reservations in advance online for a three-hour visit.

How do the ticket reservations work?
Beginning with the May 25 members-week and continuing indefinitely, all zoo guests will be required to make a reservation online for a 3-hour window on the date of their choice. ​

  • Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. ​
  • Last entry is at 3 p.m. to ensure a 3-hour window is available for all.
  • Guests will receive color-coded, pre-printed wristbands that indicate their reservation time.
  • Guests will be admitted during the first hour of their reservation window.

Example, guests who purchase tickets for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. may enter from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and must complete their visit by 1 p.m.

When can I start reserving tickets?
Ticket reservations are now available for everyone.


Do members have to reserve a time?
Yes, members must make reservations, up to the number of guests allowed per membership level.

Do members have to pay for tickets?
No, members continue to enjoy free admission for the number of guests designated with the membership level. All guests must be registered.

What if I need to cancel my plans?
Contact (918) 669-6602 to reschedule your visit to a different day. Refunds are available on tickets up to one hour before your reservation time if anyone in your group is feeling ill. Please contact us at (918) 669-6602 to update your reservation.

What if I am late, can I extend my time?
Tickets are valid during the selected reservation window to ensure the zoo can keep its commitment to limit crowds.

What if I want to bring an extra person?
Unfortunately, we have to limit tickets to advance sales only. This system will allow us to schedule guests across the available reservation times.

What will be available when the zoo reopens?
The zoo is situated on an 84-acre campus with animal habitats connected by 4.9 miles of walkable pathways. Available options during this initial stage of opening include:

  • Outdoor exhibits
  • The Rainforest and Lost Kingdom buildings
  • Carry-out, walk-up and vending food service
  • Train (weather permitting)
  • Outdoor gift purchases
  • Amenities, such as stroller, wagon and wheel chair rentals
  • St. John Family Den

Additional options will be reintroduced over time.

Can I still bring my own food and drinks?
Yes, with the exception of alcoholic beverages and glass containers.

What specifically is the zoo doing to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19?
The Tulsa Zoo is opening in stages, in a way that maximizes opportunities for social distancing, reduces the number of touch points, and allows zoos staff to increase our already rigorous cleaning protocol. Here is an overview of the safeguards in place:

  • Zoo staff will wear masks; guests are encouraged though not required to wear masks.
  • Physical barriers have been added as needed to block high-touch areas.
  • The zoo has ordered four disinfecting machines that can disinfect indoor spaces, outdoor surfaces and equipment in 10 minutes; these will be available as the zoo increases the number of guests allowed on grounds.
  • Handwashing stations have been added throughout the zoo, bringing the total to 14 alcohol-based hand sanitizer and 10 handwashing stations.​
  • The Clean Team will conduct spot checks regularly of higher-traffic areas.
  • The zoo main entrance will be designated for entry and West Gate designated for exit. ​
  • Multiple social-distancing signs and messaging have been placed on grounds, pathways, and buildings to remind guests of the requirement and expectation to socially distance. ​
  • Signs and messaging for guests to practice proper handwashing have been placed on grounds and in buildings as well.​
  • Building entry will be metered by staff and switched to one-way entry and exit to support social distancing.
  • Staff will be on grounds to watch for unexpected congestion areas and to answer questions.​
  • Plexiglass barriers have been installed as needed.
  • Benches and picnic tables have been moved to at least 6 feet apart.
  • Public restrooms will be open and cleaned every two hours. ​
  • Air-dryers will be replaced with paper towel dispensers (because of the use of recycled air).
  • Timecards have been added to all restrooms to reflect each cleaning time. ​
  • Train seats, handrails and open attractions will be cleaned every two hours. ​
  • A wipe station will be located at each train station so guests can grab a wipe on their way in and wipe down their own seat if they choose. ​
  • Train will be disinfected and sanitized at the beginning and end of each day. ​
  • Food and gift staff will wear PPE. ​
  • Hand sanitizer provided for guest use. ​
  • Countertops, as well as guest tables and seating (once reopened) cleaned after each use. ​
  • High touch points such as registers and equipment used by staff cleaned throughout day.​
  • Additional staff dedicated to daily cleanings and sanitization. ​
  • Discontinuing refills of souvenir cups.​
  • Discontinuing self-service of items such as condiments.
  • All staff are required to wear PPE in public areas; specific equipment, including masks, gloves and shields, defined by role and circumstance.​
  • Gloves worn when interacting with the public and cleaning.​
  • Proper social distancing when working with the public, peers and animals. ​
  • In some cases, safe animal management practices require staff to work together within six feet; the zoo has protocols in place to safeguard staff in this situation.

Is summer camp open this year?
All camps and classes have been canceled to allow the zoo to meet gathering limits.

What happens to your major fundraising events?
This year’s WALTZ on the Wild Side will be rescheduled. Ascension St. John ZooRun presented by CommunityCare becomes a virtual run this year on Oct. 3. And big changes are coming to HallowZOOeen. Check later this summer for details.

How can I support the zoo?
Thank you! As a non-profit organization, your Tulsa Zoo relies on ticket sales, membership sales, education program revenue and donations. Whether we are open or closed to the public, our animals still require daily care, including food, medical attention and exhibit maintenance. Loss of revenue has a significant impact on our overall operating budget. We know this is an uncertain time for everyone, but hope you will consider a donation to our emergency operating fund to assist us in the care of our animals and staff. No gift is too small to make a big impact. You can make a one-time donation or set up a monthly gift.

You can also help by adding Tulsa Zoo to your personal account on By adding us as your preferred charity, we will receive .05% of all your purchases at no additional cost to you.

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