Fresno Chaffee Zoo is Open!

After three months spent almost entirely at home with shelter in place orders and our own concerns regarding COVID 19, we have gotten pretty stir crazy and were ready for a family outing. As luck would have it, we spent our “school time” this week learning about dinosaurs and then Wednesday night we found out the Zoo was back so we jumped on reserving tickets for Saturday morning at Fresno Chaffee Zoo and Zoorassic Park!

Based on our visit, here’s a quick list of what we recommend you bring:

  • Reserved tickets
  • Masks & hand sanitizer (more on this below)
  • Water, snacks, maybe even a picnic lunch (more on this below)
  • Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses

Zoorassic Park

A visit to Zoorassic Park was number one on our list of areas to visit because of our week spent studying dinosaurs. It was as impressive as the 2019 exhibit and worth the added cost! Kellan was all about it this time. Bridget is rethinking her future career in paleontology 😉….

Despite the suggestion of this pic, the sounds are not loud, but there was no convincing Miss B.
Most of the dinosaurs were the same as the 2019 exhibition, with the addition of this saber-toothed cat and the dire wolf (above my head in picture above) but just a cool as before!

What Else is Open?

The short answer: Pretty much every thing that is outdoors! Any animal exhibit that is fully enclosed is on “paws” (their words not mine 😆) due to Coronavirus, but everything else is up and running. Areas that are designed for climbing and are high-touch have been blocked off to prevent the spread of germs. Some areas like the eating area in African Adventure and the Rainforest Exhibit have employees regulating the flow of visitors to help maintain social distancing. However, all in all, we had a very full zoo experience and have realized it is one of the ideal entertainment venues during a pandemic!

How has the zoo added measures for employee and visitor health during COVID-19?

The zoo has put a lot of time and thought into designing an experience that keeps with the fun and silly feeling of the zoo, while helping direct guests on certain one-way paths to prevent crowding and face-to-face traffic. The paths are marked with footprints and messages to guide traffic and tell guests where to stand while viewing the animals at popular exhibits.

Here was our experience that shaped our recommendations on how you can protect your family and others at to the zoo:

  • Hand sanitizer – they have sanitizing stations around the zoo but they aren’t touch-free and one was empty, sooo… bring your own if you can.
  • Masks – mask wearing is on a voluntary basis but there were definitely areas that social distancing was not possible and we were more comfortable playing it safe to reduce spreading germs. There were lots of people wearing masks and a lot not, so it is up to you to decide what is right for you and your family. Our kids like wearing them, so we encourage it. Here is where I got their fun prints. I highly recommend this Etsy vender!

My favorite tip from this trip!

If you are visiting around lunchtime, pack a lunch and head for the grassy area in African Adventure. This area is typically reserved for events like Breakfast with the Animals and the like, but it is currently open for families to come and relax in the grassy shade. We were visiting on a sold out Saturday morning and the area was practically empty. The large trees create perfect markers to distance from other groups, get some shade, and even catch your breath with a break from the mask.

We will definitely be packing a lunch and heading over there on our next visit!

Soooooo, if you are looking for somewhere to hang out away from the house, we highly recommend planning a visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo!

Remember to make a reservation online and print tickets or download ticket pdf to your smartphone. Entry into the zoo is limited and staggered to help maintain social distancing, but this also made for a really enjoyable visit!

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