A US zoo is offering drive-thru animal viewing at 6km/h – and tickets sold out fast

Business Insider US
The San Antonio Zoo has launched a drive-thru experience throughout May so visitors can see the animals while socially distancing.
  • The San Antonio Zoo in the US launched a drive-thru experience that sold out so fast the zoo decided to extend the dates.
  • Guests will be able to drive through the zoo at "a sloth-like 4 mph" (around 6km/h) on a pre-mapped route.
  • The zoo, like most other businesses, shut down in mid-March due to coronavirus lockdown measures and furloughed nearly 60% of the 700 staff members.
  • Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.

The San Antonio Zoo in the US has launched a drive-thru experience for visitors to see the animals from the safety of their vehicles while practicing social distancing.

The zoo initially planned to host the drive-thru experience during the first weekend of May, but tickets sold out so quickly that the zoo added more dates all the way up to May 17th.

Guests must drive through the park at no more than a "sloth-like 4 mph," (around 6km/h) according to the zoo's website.

A map on the site shows the route drivers will take, passing by bears, birds, leopards, lions, reptiles, and monkeys. The zoo has even offered an audio tour on its website for visitors to play as they drive.

The zoo, like most other businesses, had to shut down in mid-March due to coronavirus lockdown measures, and CEO Tim Morrow told USA Today that nearly 60% of the zoo's 700 staff members were furloughed.

Some of those employees will return to help run the drive-thru throughout May.

"To be able to get those team members back sooner rather than later makes us very happy," Morrow said.

Since the zoo's closure, the staff has hosted Facebook Live events showing viewers the animals and urging them to "Stay PAWSITIVE." The videos have also solicited donations to the zoo's emergency fund.

See also | A German zoo losing money due to Covid-19 closures may feed the animals to each other

Morrow told USA Today the zoo costs the equivalent of between R5.5 million and R9 million per week to operate.

"Unlike most zoos in the country, we are 100% dependent on people visiting and buying tickets and spending money," Morrow told USA Today. "We've been fundraising, like every nonprofit in the country, trying to raise money to really cover expenses while we get back up on our feet and get loans and all of the things every business is doing."

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