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Here's when the lion's share of Ireland's zoos are reopening

Zoos and wildlife parks are allowed to reopen from 26 April.

An elephant at Dublin Zoo
An elephant at Dublin Zoo
Image: Shutterstock/Michal Ficel

MANY OF IRELAND’S zoos, farms and wildlife parks are planning to reopen their gates at the end of the month.

Outdoor visitor attractions like zoos are allowed to accept visitors again on Monday, 26 April.

In his speech on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that “from 26 April, outdoor sports training for Under 18s can begin again, golf and outdoor tennis can be played, and we will be able to access outdoor visitor attractions like zoos and wildlife parks”.

Dublin Zoo is reopening on 26 April with reduced capacity.

In a statement, the zoo said that “after more than a year of having to open and close our gates, we are working hard to prepare Dublin Zoo to welcome back our valued visitors once more”.

Tickets, which are to go on sale in the coming weeks, will only be available on Dublin Zoo’s website and not at its gate.

Inside the zoo, a one-way system is to be in place along with hand sanitising stations and signs reminding people about social distancing and hygiene.

shutterstock_1606512133 Giraffes at Dublin Zoo Source: Shutterstock/Dawid K Photography

In Cork, Fota Wildlife Park is set to reopen on the 26th with health and safety measures in placce.

Similar to Dublin Zoo, tickets for Fota will only be available by pre-booking on its website.

Tickets can be booked a maximum of a week in advance, with pre-booking due to open on 19 April.

Fota Wildlife Park Director Sean McKeown said the park is “absolutely delighted to hear that zoos and heritage parks and of course Fota Wildlife Park can reopen from 26 April”.

“However, we are disappointed that we were not able to open at an earlier date given that we are a 100-acre outdoor attraction with the ability to strictly limit numbers, with our pre-booking online system, we are well set up to manage the Park during the Covid pandemic as we have shown in the past year,” McKeown said.

“As a conservation charity, 95% of our operating income comes from our visitors in gate receipts, annual pass sales and gift shop revenues so the last few months have been very worrying. Tonight, we are all thrilled in Fota Wildlife Park to have an opening date and a plan in sight for the full reopening of the Wildlife Park by July,” he said. 

shutterstock_1432918898 Eastern Grey Kangaroos at Fota Wildlife Park

To visit some farm animals, Kildare’s Clonfert Pet Farm is also reopening next month.

The pet farm confirmed to The Journal that it is reopening on 26 April.

Clonfert is home to cows, ponies, a donkey, pigs, goats and more.

Details on its tickets are to be announced soon.

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Clonfert Source: Google Maps

Further south, Ardmore Open Farm and Wildlife Park in Waterford is reopening on Saturday, 1 May.

“We are very busy at the moment getting ready for reopening, we’ve been building new animal enclosures and we have added lots of new animals,” the Ardmore farm told The Journal.

“We also have a glamping pod site on the grounds of Ardmore Open Farm Mini Zoo and we have added new glamping pods and a new log cabin for the coming season and we are very excited to open these once restrictions allow guests to stay with us.”

The farm will be operating an online advance booking system for tickets.

The National Reptile Zoo, located in Kilkenny, is hoping to reopen on 4 May, pending confirmation.

The Secret Valley Wildlife Park in Wexford is planning to reopen on 26 April with an online booking system.

The park told The Journal that there will be ”lots of measures in place to make sure we are being as safe as possible for our animals, staff and our visitors”.

These include capacity numbers and specific time slots for visits, sanitation stations, and a one-way system.

“Our animals are looking forward to having our visitors back.”

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