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Local amusement parks looking to re-open

Monday morning, one of the lemurs at ZooWorld gave birth to twins. (WJHG/WECP)
Monday morning, one of the lemurs at ZooWorld gave birth to twins. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 5:18 PM CDT
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Panama City Beach is host to many attractions, and two of the most popular are ZooWorld and Shipwreck Island, but with the pandemic, the early parts of their most popular seasons have been cut short.

Management at both Shipwreck Island and ZooWorld are very hopeful that they will be able to open soon. Shipwreck Island had their eye on an open date of Memorial Day.

"If we do the community spacing, like it has happened, and their number keeps getting lower, by the time we reach Memorial Day, it’ll be a good time for attractions like ours to open up," said Shipwreck Island General Manager Buddy Wilkes.

At ZooWorld, they are still holding on to an open date of April 30. Though the date isn’t set in stone, they do have a plan when they get to open their doors again.

"We are going to be very cautious. Obviously, we are going to limit the number of people that come into the park, and our entry is a fully outdoor entry right now, so we are not going to be in any buildings right now. The park is basically a natural social distancing area," said ZooWorld Director Kayte Hogan.

During their time closed, both parks have had the opportunity to work on some projects they may not have gotten to otherwise.

"We modified the wave pool. We’ve done some things down here. We redid all the tile. We’ve done some cosmetic stuff we do every year, but we’ve done it a little more extensively this year," said Wilkes.

"We’ve got farm renovations going on. We are working on that new lion exhibit that we promised for this year. We’ve got gift shop renovations that we are wrapping up, so this is basically going to be a whole new park when people come back," said Hogan.

Both parks are ready to open as soon as they get the go ahead from authorities.

"We have employees that are chomping at the bit. We have guests that are posting on our Facebook page that are eager to come back into Shipwreck, so we are excited," said Wilkes.

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