BOISE — It's been almost one year since Zoo Boise's Gorongosa exhibit opened to the public.
Zoo Boise typically sees their highest number of visitors around late spring through summer, but that was not the case this year with COVID-19 forcing them to close for a few months.
"Unfortunately, the virus hit us at a time where the Zoo would have been at its peak," Director of Parks and Recreation, Doug Holloway says.
Before the virus hit, the zoo saw about a 30% increase in visitors after the Gorongosa exhibit opened.
"It just demonstrated people were really hungry to see a new exhibit, and when you create almost a 2-acre addition to the park, it really is an attraction that people have really come to enjoy," Holloway says.
An attraction full of wild dogs, hyenas, baboons and more. The estimated 9-million-dollar exhibit was fully-funded before COVID-19 shut down the zoo.
"Between the friends of Zoo Boise and their partnership with the city, we were able to fully fund the entire construction of that exhibit and all of the animals that are in that exhibit as well."
With Zoo Boise's reopening, they limit the number of guests in the park and have them follow directional signage.
"The Zoo is almost 14 acres. There's plenty of space to be able to keep 50 to 100 people moving throughout that entire location to keep everyone safe and keep them healthy," Holloway says.
Hailey and Peter Welzig say they enjoyed the limited capacity and social distancing during their trip to the zoo. They say it was easier to get up close to more of the animals.
"A lot of the animals seemed to be out and about a little bit more. I think because there is less people and so we really go to see them, and they were more noticeable this time."
Tickets for Zoo Boise must be purchased in advance. You can buy them online at their website or call the zoo directly.