Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton is back open for the public after its season was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic in the spring.

Zoo Member & Vistor Services Manager, Rachel Peppard is the guest on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up talking about the experiences of the reopening of the zoo on Morgan Road on July 1.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Peppard details many of the steps that have been taken to protect the public and animals while still providing an essential educational experience for families.

Unfortunately, Peppard says, some parts of the zoo remain off-limits due to the pandemic.  Areas that are enclosed, like the building for multi-level viewing of the otters and penguins must remain closed for now since physical distancing and proper air filtration is not possible.  The barnyard petting zoo area is also still closed over health considerations.

There are extra sanitation steps being taken and routes around the zoo are mapped out and indicated on the pathways for visitors to safely follow.

Ross Park Zoo reopening map

While the issue of COVID-19 is serious, the zoo is taking the opportunity to have a little fun and offer some animal facts by displaying social-distancing signs that use the wing-span of a vulture or the length of two foxes to represent the required 6-foot minimum physical distancing between visitors.

In addition to some exhibits being limited, Ross Park was unable to hold summer Zoo School.  It is, however, able to send activity boxes to families if they wish to have fun, educational activities for children during the summer months.

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With fewer than normal exhibits available, the zoo has discounted admission. For more information, go to rossparkzoo.com or call (607) 724-5461.  The Zoo is located at 60 Morgan Road, Binghamton and is the 5th oldest zoo in the nation.

Southern Tier Close Up is heard Sunday at 6 am on 99.1 The Whale.