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A Trunk's Length Away: DFW Zoos Reopen Friday, But Call For Social Distancing

Courtesy of the Dallas Zoo
Both zoos will enforce face masks and social distancing when they open Friday.

The Dallas Zoo and Fort Worth Zoo will both re-open Friday — and visitors can expect some new additions and new protocols. 

Both zoos are experiencing something they've never really encountered before: No visitors.

Avery Elander is with the Fort Worth Zoo. She said the animals haven't really noticed.

“Their daily routine hasn't really changed,”Elander said. “It is just a little different for the staff just because it is so quiet around here and this is normally a very busy season for us.”

Spring is the Fort Worth zoo's busiest season, with close to 100,000 visitors usually in the park.

The zoo closed in March, but the staff have been engaging with the public online. They've been hosting Facebook live keeper chats a few times a week.

The Dallas Zoo has also stayed connected with visitors virtually. This time of year, the zoo could have as many as 15,000 guests a day. 

“I know that I have friends from all over the United States that are even engaging with Dallas Zoo animals through our social media accounts,” Senior Director of Animal Care Matt James said. “That's a really neat opportunity, and something we will take advantage of in the future.”

The Dallas Zoo also welcomed a new animal this month — a male giraffe calf named Kendi. And zookeepers are still doing their check-ins with signature residents, like the elephants.

Matt James said they’re also getting a little more creative on how to engage with the animals, doing things like allowing the Kune Kune pigs to roam past the otter habitat.

Both zoos will ask visitors to reserve tickets in advance and will enforce face masks and social distancing when they open Friday.