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High demand Dublin Zoo website crashes as excitement builds for reduced capacity re-opening

Tickets to the popular attraction went on sale on Thursday morning but many were left waiting before they could book their day out due to phenomenal demand

Dublin Zoo is making its final preparations before reopening to the public on Monday after four months of closure.

The Zoo will be operating at a reduced capacity with a pre-booking system where tickets can be purchased online.

Tickets to the popular attraction went on sale on Thursday morning but many were left waiting before they could book their day out due to phenomenal demand.

Many customers were left disappointed after Dublin Zoo’s website crashed just one hour after it began taking bookings for day trips.

Visitation to the Zoo will be spaced out in different time slots in line with health and safety guidelines.

Director of Dublin Zoo Dr Christoph Schwitzer said the attraction will operate at a reduced capacity with a fifth of normal visitor levels.

“People have to walk a one way trail. We’ll have 56 hand sanitizing stations across the site.

“We have touchless water bottle fountains so people can refill their water bottles without having to touch anything.

“We’ve got our online booking system so there’s no physical interaction between visitors and staff.

“We’ve got stewards on site guiding people around if anybody doesn’t know where to go,” he said.

Some enclosed habitat viewing areas will be closed, including the Waldrapp ibis habitat, Zoorassic World and the South American House.

Cafes and restaurants on the site will be take-away only and there will be a limited number of picnic benches available.

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A number of amenities will also be off bounds including the internal animal houses, playgrounds, retail shops, lockers and tier seating at the elephant viewing area.

However, visitors will still be able to see the majority of the animals including the herd of Asian elephants, Western chimpanzees, giraffes, Western lowland gorillas, Southern white rhinoceroses, zebras, California sea lions, Humboldt penguins, ring-tailed and red-ruffed lemurs, Bornean orangutans and Asian lions.

Dr Schwitzer said the number of visitations will gradually increase throughout the summer months.

“We’ve been closed now for almost four months and when you count the last two lockdowns as well, we will have been closed for 242 days so that is a very long time for any zoo.

“I’m very much hoping that this coming summer we will be able to welcome more visitors here on site,” he said.

Dublin Zoo launched an emergency fundraiser in November 2020 appealing to the Irish public for help as major financial losses caused by Covid-19 restrictions continued to build.

The government provided €3 million in financial support towards the zoo to help it cope with the massive loss in income.

The attraction costs about €1 million a month to run, with the cost of animal care alone reaching €500,000 each month.

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