Simmons Wildlife Safari Park drive-thru sets records under pandemic

Simmons Wildlife Safari was very busy Sunday as cars lined up for miles to view animals. (WOWT)
Simmons Wildlife Safari was very busy Sunday as cars lined up for miles to view animals. (WOWT)(WOWT)
Published: Mar. 29, 2020 at 1:22 PM CDT
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Cars full of people showed up at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park eager to enjoy the sunshine and of course -- the animals.

Staff at the safari parked worked to keep the line of cars moving.

With the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium closed because of the coronavirus outbreak -- zoo members get into the park for free for the next 30 days.

The park is only open to drive-thru traffic -- the walking trails are closed as a precaution -- bathrooms are open but only one family is allowed to use them at a time.

Since the park opened this season -- they've seen a record number of guests coming through.

Dennis Pate, zoo director said, “A busy day on an almost record year last year was 2,700 people. Friday we had 7,400 people and yesterday we had 6,900 people. So it's

really, it's heartwarming."

With the zoo closed to the public -- Pate says like many other businesses they're having to re-evaluate how to keep things running.

“A lot of what we're doing now, back of house, is figuring out how long can we last. Just like any other business or industry, how long can we go. So we are counting our pennies, trying to stretch 'em out as far as possible so we can continue to pay people for as long as possible,” he said.

The large crowds are slowing down the drive-thru safari park -- guests can expect to make it all of the way through in about two and a half hours.

Pate says the best way to support the zoo is to purchase zoo memberships online.

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