Fota Wildlife Park re-opens today, but visitor numbers limited to allow #SocialDistancing

20 May 2020
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

A seven-year-old female Indian Rhino, Maya, arrived at Fota Wildlife Park earlier this year. Just one of the many attractions visitors have missed since the 24 March 2020 closedown of the park.
Pic Darragh Kane

Fota Wildlife Park reopens today, but visitor numbers will be limited due to try and ensure social distancing

The park closed almost 2 months ago on the 24 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Fota Wildlife Park, is run by a charity which aims to promote conservation. Park management will limit visitor numbers to 500 at a time in their impressive 100-acre parkland. They have also introduced a one-way flow. Opening hours are 9am to 6pm. Last entry 4.30 and 5pm for annual pass holders.

Fota Wildlife Park previously enjoyed an annual attendance of over 465,000 visitors which made it one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions. It is expected that this years stats will be dramatically reduced but a message on the FotaWildLife.ie website indicates that health must be a top priority.

A new page on FotaWildLife says

Please note that we are requiring all our visitors to pre-book a time and date in advance of their visit as part of our re-opening protocols and procedures. Times/dates are available to book a few days in advance.

The website message continues

  • Online timed booking required for all guests, to ensure safe and comfortable capacity and limited contact admissions. Please select a date and time slot for all the members of your party. Please arrive at the time/date stated. Please use cards and not cash if possible.
  • We are promoting a one-way experience that reinforces social distancing guidelines at all locations where it is feasible.
  • We are frequently cleaning and disinfecting throughout the park.
  • Based on current government and HSE guidelines, the limited indoor venues will remain closed, including the Shop, Café, Restaurant, Tropical House and Madagascan Village.
  • High frequency touchpoints in the Park including the playgrounds and tour train will also be closed.
  • In-park feedings, wildlife talks, face-painting and arts and craft are suspended until further notice.
  • Additional hand sanitiser dispensers are placed at key points throughout the Park. Additional signage to promote hand washing and best hygiene practices has been posted throughout the park.
  • Additional training and PPE have been provided for all Fota employees.

In related news; earlier this week the separate Fota Arboretum and Gardens reopened to the public on Monday.

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