Audubon’s Cool Zoo and lazy river to reopen this season, officials say

Audubon Zoo’s water attractions, Cool Zoo and Gator Run lazy river, are scheduled to reopen open for the 2021 season, Audubon Nature Institute officials confirmed.

This marks the first time Cool Zoo will reopen after being closed for a year due to the pandemic. However, Audubon is still working to determine the official opening date and times, according to spokesperson Annie Kinler Matherne.

Gator Run and Cool Zoo, Photo courtesy: Audubon Nature Institute

Cool Zoo is known for its visitor-favorite features: the alligator water slide, the spider monkey soaker, water-spitting snakes and shady spots for grown-ups. The lazy river offers Zoo visitors the option to cool down by floating atop an inner tube along a course that measures 750 linear feet in length.

When Cool Zoo reopens, visitors can expect some changes: timed sessions to help facilitate COVID safety measures and new ticket prices.

Officials say this year Audubon will offer two sessions each day for guests to enjoy Cool Zoo. The first session takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and session two runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“These two daily sessions will allow us to manage capacity limitations, provide room for physical distancing, and comply with CDC guidelines,” Matherne said.

Cool Zoo will close each day at 1 p.m. to allow staff time to clean all shared equipment and surfaces in between sessions.

Timed sessions also mean lower ticket prices for guests this year.

Admission to Cool Zoo, including Gator Run, is $8 for Audubon Nature Institute members and $10 for non-members, plus Audubon Zoo admission. In 2019, regular admission tickets cost $10 for members and $12 for non-members.

Cool Zoo tickets must be purchased online.

Audubon said they are also hiring lifeguard positions for Cool Zoo. All employees must be American Red Cross lifeguard certified by the first day of work, according to a job description posted on Audubon’s website. Those who are interested can apply here.

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