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What to know before you visit the Cincinnati Zoo or Coney Island

Major changes as both attractions reopen
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Posted at 10:29 AM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 14:12:10-04

CINCINNATI — As the Cincinnati area comes back to life after its 2 1/2-month shutdown, three major attractions are preparing to reopen: Kings Island, Coney Island Waterpark, and the Cincinnati Zoo.

Kings Island will reopen to pass-holders July 2, and to the general public July 12.

However, expect to deal with some major changes when you first go to plan your trip at any of the three.

The first thing you will want to do is download the park's mobile app, as all three will require online reservations.

The zoo and Coney Island will also take reservations on their websites, but visitors who hope to visit Kings Island without a smartphone might struggle.

What to expect at Coney

Steve Edwards of Coney Island showed us some of the major changes visitors will see when the water park opens to guests Friday.

Chairs are spaced out. Social distance markers are everywhere. Picnic tables have been removed. But the biggest change: no day tickets at the gate.

"We're asking everybody to go ahead and reserve the day they are coming, whether daily ticket or a season pass-holder — they will do reservations as well," Edwards said.

What to expect:

  • Online reservations only to limit crowds.
  • The popular Typhoon Tower and Twister waterslides remain closed for now.
  • No moving of chairs around the poolside: they will stay in their fixed positions.
  • Balloon Glow and the Fire up the Night fireworks show are canceled this year.

"We are hoping the other attractions will hopefully open very soon," Edwards said.

For disappointed pass-holders, Edwards reminds them that this year's season passes will be good in 2021, too.

Changes at the Cincinnati Zoo

The zoo opens this week for season-pass holders.

Just like with Coney, the key thing to know is you need to make a reservation online. You can't simply show up at the gate, so don't rush to see Fiona just yet.

"We know it's not going to be perfect," marketing director Chad Yelton said. "This is a new thing for us."

Yelton says the zoo is doing a slow opening this week to get any kinks out before the general public arrives.

  • Members only June 10-16.
  • General public allowed starting June 17.
  • Advance online reservations required.

You cannot get a reservation if you just show up at the gate.

Guests will enter only through the new Erkenbrecher walk-in entrance, with parking in Vine Street lots just north of the VA Hospital. The old zoo drive-in entrance by the gift shop will not be used for now.

Masks will be required for employees but voluntary for guests.

Social distancing will be required. As a sign at the zoo says, "You otter stand a zebra length away from others."

But most fans of both attractions starved for a visit will probably have no problem making these small changes.

As always, don't waste your money.

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