Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Zoo reopen?

The Zoo will reopen June 23! SB Zoo Members may also visit during Member Preview Days, June 20-22.

What safety modifications will be in place when the Zoo reopens?

In order to safely reopen, the Zoo will feature a number of modifications as recommended by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the State of California Guidelines for Reopening Zoos. These enhancements may include required reservations for all visiting guests, one-way paths around the Zoo, increased sanitation efforts, and the request for visitors to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Do I still have to make a reservation even if I'm a Zoo Member?

Yes. All visitors must make an online reservation prior to their visit. These 90-minute time slots will allow us to properly manage the number of guests in the park (per State guidelines) at any given time. Reservations are complimentary for members.

Will these modifications be permanent?

No. The Zoo is following guidelines set by the State and County – as these regulations change, so will our modifications.

Will my membership be extended?

Yes. When the Zoo closed March 17, all annual memberships that were current as of that day were extended by two months. When we reopen, we will add additional time as needed to reflect the time the Zoo was closed. Thank you to those who have donated back the extra months!

Are you still holding Zoo Camp this summer?

Yes! We are excited to offer three options for Zoo Camp, including Camp in a Box, FamCamp, and traditional Zoo Camp. See our Zoo Camp page for more information and to register.

How can I support the Zoo while it's closed?

There are multiple ways you can still support the Zoo from afar! By renewing your membership or making a donation to the Emergency Operations Fund, you’re providing critical support during this time. As we continue to stay closed, we continue to lose 97% of the Zoo’s operating budget. The animals and staff thank you!

Can I book a birthday or private event for this year?

We are tentatively booking events on a case-by-case basis. Please email the Events department for more information.

(updated 4/7/20 @ 5 PM)
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Sunday that the Bronx Zoo, a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), had reported a symptomatic tiger has tested positive for COVID-19. As a member of the AZA, the Santa Barbara Zoo remains in close communication regarding this discovery, and Rich Block, President and CEO of the Santa Barbara Zoo issued the following statement:

“As an AZA-accredited zoo, we have protocols, procedures, and precautions in place when a disease situation like this arises at a facility. All AZA members were advised in real-time, are acting on the latest information from the veterinary staff at Bronx Zoo, and are consulting their colleagues to identify and implement protective and preventive practices. We are fortunate to have access to experienced veterinary professionals, as well as to the extended AZA and American Association of Zoological Veterinarians networks of professionals should a similar situation arise at our facility.”

In addition to the COVID-19 precautions already in place, the Santa Barbara Zoo is doing the following:

  • Implementing a higher degree of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for animal care staff who work with any primate and cat species, including wearing coveralls, face coverings, masks, eye protection and gloves;
  • Encouraging physical distancing from primates, cats and other mammalian species as much as is feasible;
  • Limiting access to primate and felid housing areas to necessary personnel;
  • Reinforcing the use of footbaths whenever staff enter or leave any mammal areas; and,
  • Continuing to vigilantly monitor the health of our animals

The zoological leadership from around the globe are pooling our collective resources, communicating regularly, and working with health experts to provide the best guidance to our zoo and aquarium community.

(updated 3/23/20 @ 12:30 PM)
While there have been no known cases of exposure to COVID-19 at the Santa Barbara Zoo, the health of staff, volunteers, guests, community, and animals is our top priority. We closed 3/17/20 as a precautionary measure, and on 3/19/20 Governor Newsom issued a stay at home order for the state of California.

Only essential Zoo employees will continue to report to work, in order to care for the animals and facility. At this time, there is no indication that this virus is of immediate concern to any of the animals. The Zoo’s animal health experts on staff are in communication with public health officials, along with local and national veterinary networks, to stay up-to-date on animals in human care and any potential risks.

All events (public and private), education programs, and other meetings have been canceled through May 10, 2020 according to the orders issued by the state of California.

The Zoo will continue to follow the updates and guidance of the Center for Disease Control, California Department of Public Health, and Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and will re-evaluate next steps following their guidance and directives.We will continue to communicate any changes via our website, emails, and social media channels as new information becomes available. We look forward to welcoming the public back once it’s safe, and appreciate our community’s ongoing support.

We encourage you to stay up to date on the latest coronavirus developments. Here are some of the sources we are using to monitor the virus: CDC COVID-19 Overview and Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Things to Know

  • If you have purchased general admission tickets online, those tickets are valid for one year from the date of purchase
  • All current annual Zoo Members will automatically receive a two-month extension from their current membership expiration date
  • If you have purchased Zoo event tickets or registered for education programs that were scheduled between 3/17/20 and 5/10/20, a Zoo staff member will reach out as soon as possible to reschedule, issue a refund, or accept the value of your ticket or registration as a donation to the Zoo

Bringing the Zoo to You

While the Zoo is temporarily closed, we still want to hang out with you!
Check us out on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for fun animal videos and photos to enjoy from the comfort of home.

Even when we don’t have visitors, our animals still need food and care. We need your support now more than ever! Donate to the Zoo today.

(updated 3/13/20 @ 5 PM)
We are taking proactive measures at the Santa Barbara Zoo to ensure the wellness of people and animals comes first in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Steps We’re Taking-Limited Operations

At this time the Zoo is open to the public, but with some important changes to operations.
Food service outlets and gift shops will remain open for business.
Most animal exhibits will remain open, however due to the necessity of social distancing, some special attractions and experiences will be closed until further notice. Guests visiting w
hile many attractions are off-line will receive a free guest pass for use during regular hours for a return visit, valid through the end of the year.

In addition, all events and programs will be postponed or canceled (including Fairytale Weekend, Zoo Camp, private events, and more) through March 31. 

We have 17 hand sanitizer stations conveniently located throughout the entire Zoo grounds and encourage you to make use of these (stations) resources. Handwashing reminders are also posted throughout Zoo grounds.  We have increased sanitation efforts in all indoor areas, including restrooms, indoor exhibit areas, while dining areas and the gift shop are also taking precautionary measures.

We continue to monitor any new developments and re-evaluate our steps and actions daily following the guidance and directives of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, the CDC, and the World Health Organization as they share new information.

Affected Programs/Attractions

  • Zoo Train
  • Zoo Camp
  • Field Trips
  • Safari Sleepovers
  • Giraffe Feeding Experience
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tours
  • Penguin Fish Toss
  • Leopard Feeding Experience
  • Animal Rides
  • Bounce Houses
  • Barnyard Feeding
  • Mining Camp
  • Explorer Fundays
  • Kallman Play Area (including anthill)
  • Live Stage Shows
  • Animaland
  • Eeeww!
  • Rainforest Passage
  • Tropical Aviary
  • Wings of Asia
  • Rattle Snake Canyon
  • Lower Gorilla Viewing

Zoo Animals

Our animals are healthy and doing well, and we continue to provide them with dedicated, professional care every day. There is not currently any information to suggest that zoo animals or other animals are impacted by the virus. Our veterinary experts are in close contact with national and international networks to stay abreast of any new information on recommendations or risks.

Steps You Can Take

As recommended by county, state, and federal health officials, we advise that you wash your hands regularly, avoid touching any surfaces and do not touch your face, sneeze or cough into a tissue, and utilize the hand sanitizer stations throughout the Zoo. 
We also encourage you to stay up to date on the latest developments. Here are some of the sources we are using to monitor the virus:

CDC COVID-19 Overview

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department