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Zoo reopens to human visitors
dodging a goose
A man dodges a goose as he pushes a stroller around Great Bend’s Brit Spaugh Zoo. The zoo reopened Monday at noon and had several visitors.

Carolyn Nelson Leech remembers coming to the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo for her birthday party as a young girl. On Monday, she returned with members of the next two generations.

Emily Denham from Wilson was also at the zoo with her four children, ages 2-7. They’d been waiting for the zoo to reopen for some time, she said.

The zoo reopened at noon Monday, after being closed to the public since March. It is open daily from noon to 4 p.m.

Loosening of state restrictions on businesses and gatherings allowed the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo to make some last-minute changes before it reopened to the public on Monday.

Earlier, Zoo Supervisor and Curator Ashley Burdick said the Raptor Center would be closed and people would enter through the outside gate. With the state restrictions eased, visitors are able to enter through the main entrance at the Raptor Center. Some items have been removed from the gift shop and the new animal exhibits and aquariums inside are closed.

Modifications were made to protect the animal collection, staff and visitors, Burdick said. She had these reminders for visitors:

• Be mindful and maintain social distancing when you encounter staff and other visitors in the zoo.

• Masks are not required but they are encouraged.

• There are a few areas that are closed or have barricades up; please respect the barricades. The playground and outdoor restrooms will remain closed, there is a restroom available for public use in the main building.

• Try to limit contact with surfaces as you are out in the zoo; many items are not easily disinfected.

“We look forward to having you all back to visit,” Burdick said. “We just ask for the safety of our animals, staff and other visitors, that you be respectful. Thank you!”