THE Monarto Safari Park reopened its gates to the public today after a COVID-19-induced 14-week closure.
The safari park shut its doors on March 25 and will reopen today under government approved restrictions, which will see no more than 1000 visitors enter the 1500 hectare park.
Zoos SA chief executive Elaine Bensted said she's thrilled to be able to welcome visitors back to Monarto Safari Park again but stressed the importance of pre-booking tickets for both sites to guarantee a spot.
"It's been14 long weeks since we closed Monarto Safari Park to the public and we're itching to let people back in to see our four playful lion cubs," Bensted said.
"Since Adelaide Zoo reopened and we announced that Monarto Safari Park will be reopening, we have been inundated with enquiries and demand for tickets. Adelaide Zoo was fully booked out over the weekend and sadly we had to turn many people away.
"That's why it's so wonderful to be able to open Monarto Safari Park today.
However, numbers are still limited so booking in advance is critical to securing your spot.
"As a conservation charity, we rely on the support of our amazing visitors and members. As you can imagine, any restrictions on our visitor numbers directly impacts our ability to save species from extinction and connect people with nature, so we're very excited to open Monarto Safari Park and have our paws crossed we'll be able to increase our capacity very soon," Bensted said.
The Monarto Safari Park has implemented a number of COVID-related measures.
"Social distancing measures will apply through the park's indoor and outdoor areas and visitors will notice sanitising stations, extra cleaning of our facilities and plenty of reminders about hygiene practices during their time at the park," Elaine said.
"The size of our site means the best way to see the animals is by bus. Our Zu-loop buses will operate as normal but with an increased cleaning regime.
"Our keeper talks will continue and our viewing platforms will remain open, but we're asking visitors to make sure they keep their distance from others.
"At this stage, all animal experiences, except for Lions 360, are on hold until further notice. Our popular Lions 360 experience will still operate but with only one session per day.
"Our cafe and shop will be open, but contactless payment is preferred. All our dining areas will operate with limited seating both inside and outside under the advice of the South Australian government."