Memphis Zoo announces move to Phase 2 of reopening

WATCH: Memphis Zoo announces move to Phase Two of reopening

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Zoo today announced it is moving into Phase 2 of Memphis’ Back to Business Plan.

According to a press release, the zoo has increased its capacity to 5,000 guests at any given time.

“It’s a beautiful day to be out and with the limited things you can do outside, this a great option,” visitor Ann Margaret-Hedges told FOX13.

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As Shelby County continues to loosen restrictions during the pandemic many families are looking for fun and exciting activities to enjoy.

"This is our first time coming to the zoo, and we came early. There was a really small crowd here," she said.

For the past week the Memphis Zoo has welcomed families. Wednesday, the zoo moved into Phase Two of its reopening plan Increasing its capacity to five-thousand guests at any given time.

“It was at 2,500 starting off. The first few days we really never reached more than 300 at one time,” said Nick Harmeier, Chief Marketing Officer at the Memphis Zoo.

Although it has not come close to reaching capacity, Harmier said their numbers are gradually increasing.

"We do feel this is something we are going to ease back into. We're gauging that a lot on our social media, and we see it in our numbers," he said.

Harmeier told FOX13 safety is the top priority, and the zoo will continue to follow county and CDC guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.

"We of course were skeptical about it, because we're trying to be careful like everyone else, but being our first experience, it was very nice, and we would definitely do it again," Hedges said.

Many rules remain the same.

Guests and zoo staff are still required to wear facial coverings.

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No food, drink or coolers are allowed in the zoo, according to the press release.

No cash will be accepted as payment.

Credit cards, membership cards (with proper ID) and Apple Pay are accepted.

Guests will continue to see markers placed around the zoo to ensure at least six feet of space for social distancing.

Directional markers will also be provided to guide guests during their visit.

All rides, playground, giraffe feeding deck, camel rides, water play areas, keeper chats/shows and some indoor exhibits remain closed.