Visitors welcomed back to Amazon-themed zoo
- Credit: Archant
The exotic inhabitants of a Norfolk zoo are coming face to face with visitors for the first time in three months.
Amazona Zoo in Cromer has become the first of the region’s zoos to reopen as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.
Benji Cabbell-Manners, Amazona’s owner, said the zoo’s team were delighted to be able to welcome people back onto the site.
Mr Cabbell-Manners said: “It’s all going really smoothly, we’ve had no hitches and we’re fully booked up for the next few days.
“We’re operating well below capacity, but we’re on our way.”
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The zoo, which is home to more than 200 South American animals including jaguars, monkeys and flamingos, opened for annual ticket holders on Monday.
Admission for the general public starts on Thursday, June 25.
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Mr Cabbell-Manners said between 500 and 800 people visit the zoo on a summer’s day on in normal times.
They are now limiting the number of visitors, and the numbers will gradually increase as the school summer break, starting on July 22, approaches.
Mr Cabbell-Manners said: “We started at about 20pc of capacity on Monday, that went up to 30pc on Tuesday, and we’ll go up notch by notch until we feel it’s getting too crowded for social distancing.
“The zoo seems to be coping with it extremely well.
“I have a feeling that by the time the school break comes we’ll be back up to capacity again.”
Some parts of the zoo remain off limits, however, including the outdoor and indoor play areas and the tropical house.
The zoo’s takeaway cafe and gift shop are accepting card payments only.
Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! near Lowestoft are due to open for annual pass holders on July 1, and for general admission on July 4.
The coronavirus lockdown has been the longest closure the zoo has faced since it opened 12 years ago.
Mr Cabbell-Manners said he was thankful to the support shown by the community and the government.
He said: “We’ve been very grateful for the government schemes, which has been very helpful.”