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St. Louis Zoo reservation system here to stay

When the St. Louis Zoo modified polices in response to COVID-19, among them was a new reservation system. Two years later, the zoo said it's not going away.

ST. LOUIS — After two years of modifying operations in response to COVID-19, most St. Louis attractions are back to pre-pandemic business as usual. But one popular spot, the St. Louis Zoo, is keeping some of its protocols in place.

"We are still in fact requiring reservations," said zoo director Michael Macek. "They are free, but you do need to check the website."

When the forecast says warm and sunny, those reservations can get scooped up quickly.

"There are some days, particularly the weekends this time of year, when the weather is so beautiful that we are selling out," Macek said.

Before the reservation system went into effect, the zoo would welcome 25,000 visitors on a very busy day.

Macek said those crowded and hot days didn't provide a great guest experience. 

The reservation system will be studied throughout the peak months, Macek said.

"We're at about 14,000 for our max days, and we might play with that a little over the course of the summer."

Reservations are the only COVID-19 change that is staying in place.

Social distancing and face masks are no longer required on zoo grounds. But the plexiglass dividers on the train, ticket and dining windows will likely stick around.

One thing that hasn't changed? Admission to the zoo is still free.