Zoombezi Bay is joining the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in re-opening after weeks of closure.

The attraction is is pleased to welcome back Season Pass Holders and Gold Members beginning on June 19, 20, and 21, and all guests starting on June 22.

Zoombezi Bay will be open daily from 10:30 AM to 7 PM, and all Zoombezi Bay visits (including for Season Pass Holders and Gold Members) will require a dated, timed ticket to help ensure that social distancing and other precautions are followed appropriately.

While Zoombezi Bay had previously been scheduled to open for its regular season in mid-May, the waterpark remained closed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and to support efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus within the community.

Governor Mike DeWine announced on Friday, June 5 that Ohio waterparks could reopen beginning on June 19. The announcement followed the Governor’s update made the previous day stating that Ohio zoos could also reopen. The Columbus Zoo will begin welcoming Zoo members on June 12, 13 and 14, and then all guests starting on June 15.

“From providing opportunities to learn about wildlife and inspiring guests to help make a difference, to offering quality summertime fun with family and friends, we work hard to create experiences that center around connections. We’re very excited to begin welcoming back our guests and continue expanding on our own connections with our supportive community while offering a variety of different experiences at each of our facilities,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

In accordance with local, state and federal health and safety guidelines regarding COVID-19, and as part of Zoombezi Bay’s continued commitment to the well-being of guests and staff, as well as the animals at the adjacent Columbus Zoo, Zoombezi Bay is implementing carefully-planned and enhanced protocols and procedures that also still allow for an enjoyable summer fun experience.

Some of these modifications include:

Timed Ticketing. All Zoombezi Bay visits will now require a dated, timed ticket, including all Season Pass Holders and Gold Members. Tickets can be purchased up to three weeks in advance and must be pre-purchased or pre-registered online prior to date of visit. Each ticket will also have an entry timeslot. To help minimize crowds in the parking lot and at the entrance, guests cannot arrive prior to their timeslot to enter Zoombezi Bay. However, guests can enter Zoombezi Bay any time after their timeslot begins and are welcome to remain on Zoombezi Bay grounds until closing time. Each Zoombezi Bay ticket is also valid for admission to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. However, both Zoombezi Bay and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are currently operating with capacity restrictions. The Zoombezi Bay ticket only guarantees entry to Zoombezi Bay on the date and time listed. If the Zoo has reached capacity, guests may have to wait to enter the Zoo until capacity allows. Timed tickets will be available for purchase beginning immediately so guests can begin planning their visit starting June 19 and beyond. Zoombezi Bay will also offer a discounted “After 4 PM ticket” that is available to both day guests and Zoombezi Bay Season Pass Holders and Gold Members. COTA discounts can be redeemed at Zoombezi Bay’s entrance by waiting in the day ticket line at the Season Pass gate. Other discount programs/offerings are currently unavailable. More updates about these programs will be shared as they become available.

Entering the Waterpark. For the duration of these restrictions, there will be only one entrance to Zoombezi Bay, located through the Season Pass entrance off of the parking lot near the Wild Tides wave pool. All guests (day ticket guests and Season Pass Holders and Gold Members) will enter Zoombezi Bay from this point. Season Pass Holders and Gold Members will continue to have their own dedicated entrance line. There will be no admission to Zoombezi Bay through the Columbus Zoo.

Experiencing the Fun! The majority of the attractions will be open and available to guests. However, the following attractions and features will be unavailable during the initial opening of Zoombezi Bay: Cargo Crossing at Baboon Lagoon, the tipping bucket at Baboon Lagoon, and the basketball activity at Baboon Lagoon and Sand Dollar Shores. The Baboon Lagoon play structure will be open, but will have capacity restrictions. Availability is subject to change due to operational considerations. Additionally, the all-new Croctail Creek and The Sandbar will be unavailable upon the opening of Zoombezi Bay due to COVID-19-related construction delays. We currently anticipate both of these attractions (new for 2020) to open in early to mid-July! Some modifications have also been implemented to the waterpark, including spacing out lounge chairs and arranging them in “pods” of two to four chairs to ensure social distancing; ground markings and/or signage to indicate appropriate distancing measures in queue lines; and one-way direction in some areas. Cabana rentals will be available for guest visits beginning on June 23. In compliance with the Stay Safe Ohio Order, capacity for deluxe and party cabanas is temporarily limited to no more than 10 guests through at least July 1.

Extended Weeknight Hours at the End of Summer. Recognizing that with a delayed start to the season all of us want to experience Zoombezi Bay for as long as we can this summer, we’re offering our Bonus Days for the first time! On weeknights in late August and early September, visit Zoombezi Bay for one last splash of summer. A selection of your favorite attractions will be open, such as our Wild Tides wave pool and Cyclone! The waterpark will be open from 5 PM to 9 PM on August 19-21, August 24-28, and August 31-September 4.

Health and Wellness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a statement on treated pools and hot tubs that states: “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.” The water in all Zoombezi Bay attractions is double treated with chlorination and ultraviolet light to maintain the healthiest swimming conditions. All water that circulates through pool filtration is exposed to concentrated UV light, which in turn inactivates harmful organisms. Face coverings will be mandatory for all Zoombezi Bay team members in accordance with state regulations. Face coverings for our guests are highly encouraged, but not required. Face coverings should be worn in common areas, like concrete deck space and restrooms. For guest safety, face coverings should not be worn in the pools or on water attractions.

The park also requires sick employees to stay home and has implemented temperature screening procedures. We ask that guests stay home if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms outlined through by area health departments and the CDC. More than 15 hand sanitizing stations and four sets of restrooms available to encourage handwashing and personal hygiene. Lounge chairs will be disinfected daily, and all restroom facilities and high-touch surfaces, including picnic tables, benches, railings and trash cans, will be frequently disinfected throughout the operating day. Additionally, all rental equipment (strollers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters) will be disinfected before and after each use.

Care and Cooperation. While guests’ visit to Zoombezi Bay will look a bit different, these policies and procedures are in place to provide a safe and fun experience for all guests. The health and safety of our guests, staff and volunteers remain our top priority and we appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation in helping us with these efforts.

Full details about Zoombezi Bay’s reopening plan and guidelines can be found on the waterpark’s Reopening Plan page on Zoombezi Bay’s website. For additional updates about events and more, be sure to follow Zoombezi Bay’s social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

In addition to the Zoombezi Bay, the two other properties also managed by the Zoo—the Safari Golf Club and The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio—are open. The Columbus Zoo reopens to guests starting with Zoo members on June 12, 13, and 14, and then all guests beginning on June 15. Reopening details for these properties can also be found at ColumbusZoo.org, SafariGC.com and TheWilds.org.

Source: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; Image by steven arnold from Pixabay

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