Effective immediately, we will be closing our public operations due to the Emergency Public Health Order issued on March 18th. Please know that this decision was not made lightly but for the safety of our staff, the animals that live here, and the community, we believe it is the best decision.
In the end, our job is to provide the best care possible for our animals while connecting all of you to them. The best way for us to continue that is to stay healthy so that our core team of employees can continue caring for the animals. The second part of our job, connecting you to them, is a little harder if we are not open but we are determined to continue to provide updates and stories from inside the zoo for as long as we are able. Check here and our other social accounts for this communication.
You've all heard this a hundred times, but this is an unprecedented scenario in our history and decisions are sometimes being made on an hourly basis. At this time we are not sure when we will reopen but know we are with you and we are encouraging you to continue the recommendations set forth by the multiple levels of our governments and health experts. You will hear from us soon!
Effective tomorrow, March 17, 2020, and until further notice, we will be transitioning to Level 2 of its Covid-19 Protocol. While we will remain open to the public, all of the public buildings will be closed. One public bathroom will remain open and will operate on every other hour disinfection schedule. For the time being, the Zoo will operate as an open air park.
“The Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center is a valued asset in our community,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “For those of us that work here, we deeply care about our animals, guests, volunteers, and coworkers. We realize that we are living in an unprecedented situation. We want to assure you that as we go through this situation, our animals, guests, volunteers, and coworkers are our topmost priority.”
In efforts to help keep our community connected to the Zoo during these uncertain times, also beginning tomorrow at 2:00, Zoo staff will post on its Facebook page a story about one of the animal residents that live here.
As a reminder, you can tune into our youtube channel to watch our Patas Monkeys, Giraffes and Tigers LIVE! Follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvff1tmu6KDwchMM6B9MQvg
While our storytime is canceled, we are still accepting book donations. During this time, especially, it is essential for the Boys and Girls Club to give reading materials to students. They are also in need of crayons and activity books. A box will be left at the admissions booth.
The Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center is a valued asset in our community. For those of us that work here, we deeply care about our animals, guests, volunteers and coworkers. We realize that we are living in an unprecedented situation. We want to assure you that as we go through this situation, our animals, guests, volunteers and coworkers are our top most priority.
Topeka Zoo leadership and staff have spent significant time preparing for Covid-19 to make its way to Shawnee County. The Zoo has a three tiered protocol for managing the potential risk that Covid-19 poses for our animals, guests, volunteers and staff. Our protocol uses triggers from the Shawnee County Health Department to determine our level of restricting our operating procedures.
We realize that this is a tense situation. Research shows that outdoor venues like Zoos and Parks have been shown to positively affect mental health. For that reason and others, we will stay open to the public for as long as it is safe to do so.
Right now, the risk of exposure in Shawnee County is low. As such, the Topeka Zoo remains open to the public. As the risk to exposure changes, so will our level of operation. We have plans in place to protect our animals, our guests and our TEAM based on the exposure threat.
Our animals, guests, volunteers and TEAM are and always will be our top priority.
We value our community. This Zoo belongs to our community. We will guard it well. As the next few days and weeks hold uncertainty, as updates present itself we will post on our Social Media our status and what is going on at your Zoo that day.
- Brendan Wiley, Zoo Director