Per State and City public health directives, New Orleans’ Audubon Nature Institute has received approval to move forward with reopening its family of parks and museums following a phased approach that strictly limits attendance and programming.
Audubon Riverview Park will reopen on Saturday, May 16, to pedestrian and bicycle traffic only. Vehicular traffic will not be allowed. Audubon Tennis will reopen Wednesday, May 20, with a limited schedule and appropriate social distancing measures. Audubon Golf Course will remain closed at this time, and more information on plans for its reopening will be announced soon.
Planning is underway to reopen Audubon Zoo in early June.
“We have been preparing to reopen for several weeks,” said Audubon Chief Operating Office Kyle Burks. “From stringent cleaning protocols to removing unnecessary touchpoints, Audubon is committed to providing a safe experience for visitors. We want to take every precaution as we reopen our facilities and appreciate the community’s patience as we carefully begin to open our doors up to the public.”
Audubon has consulted with experts at zoos and aquarium across the country as well as with local museums and attractions and health officials to develop a comprehensive reopening plan that will ensure the health and safety of its visitors, staff, volunteers, and animals.
Burks added, “Part of our reopening plan and a requirement of the City is for Audubon to take online reservations. Online tickets will be required for all guests, including Audubon Members. Our new timed admission protocol is critical to limiting the number of guests in our facilities at any time and supporting increased physical distancing.”
Along with attendance limits, other safety initiatives include requiring staff to wear masks in public spaces, stringent cleaning protocols, and physical distancing signage.
Key protocols include:
• Limiting the number of guests to 25% of the facility’s capacity
• Requiring and enforcing physical distancing of six feet or more
• Preventing the gathering of any group of more than 10 people
• Restricting close contact through clear and enforced physical distancing guidelines
• Communicating new safety protocols with mandated training for every Audubon employee
• Providing PPE to employees
Audubon will be releasing more details of its phased reopening plan in the coming weeks along with dates for the reopening of Audubon Louisiana Nature Center and Audubon’s other admission-based facilities.
“Now, more than ever, the community needs to reconnect,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “As we open our doors to our community, we want the animals and parks in our care to inspire hope and connect our guests to the natural world during a time when we have all experienced uncertainty and grief. We look forward to sharing a joyful homecoming that we hope will offer our community some comfort in this difficult time.”
While Audubon facilities work to reopen, supporters can help the dedicated staff who continue to provide outstanding care for the animals that they love by donating to the Audubon Recovery Fund.