Prospect Park Zoo, New York Aquarium slated to reopen July 24

Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium will reopen on Friday, July 24, officials announced Thursday.
Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

Editor’s note: This reopening was delayed due to evolving reopening guidelines.

After months of being closed down due to COVID-19, the city’s zoos and aquarium finally have a reopening date.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) zoos and aquarium announced plans to reopen Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium on Friday, July 24 — along with the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo.

The New York City region is slated to enter Phase Four of New York State’s reopening plan on Monday, July 20, barring any new directives from the state. Should the city be deemed not ready for the fourth phase, the zoo’s reopening date will be adjusted — and from July 20 through 23, WCS members will receive special access to the sites.

“One of the best things about what we do is introducing people to animals and nature and we have missed that during the closure.” said Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny. “The pandemic continues to impact our communities and our country. We are pleased that the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium and our other parks will again serve as retreats where guests can connect with animals and nature when we open on July 24 after being closed for 130 days.”

All outdoor and ground exhibits will be open, as well as major indoor exhibits. Masks or face coverings will be required all zoos and the aquarium for all visitors ages 3 and up and for 

To ensure the safety of guests, the zoos and aquariums will be limiting capacity and tickets must be purchased ahead of time for a specific date and time. Tickets will not be sold at the gates and for all parks but the Bronx Zoo, entry time slots will be sold on the hour all day until closing. The Bronx Zoo’s traditional Free Wednesday will begin on July 29, and will still require advanced ticketing online.

Social distancing measures will be put in place in all the parks, and will be monitored on lines, in stores, and at food concessions. Day camp and education programs will be available online, and cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the park system.

From reopening through Labor Day, healthcare workers will receive free admission at any of the zoos and aquarium. Health care heroes can use promo code HERO2020 and need to bring healthcare identification cards to show at the gates. Healthcare workers can get tickets on the WCS website.

“We will follow all guidelines from New York State and if we need to adjust plans for our opening date, we will. We are hopeful that all the city’s COVID-19 indicators will continue to improve, ensuring New York City will continue on its path to reopening,” said Breheny.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the WCS website.

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.