Our Executive Director, Brittany McDonald, gathered with the staff and interns and we discussed what needed to happen prior to our allowing guests on-site.
We have accomplished a number of really important facility upgrades since we’ve had to close to the public due to COVID-19. These upgrades have helped the sanctuary function more efficiently. One major example is having new water lines trenched up to the back of our sanctuary, where our more remote rescue enclosures are. Before this upgrade, staff and volunteers had to either carry 5-gallon buckets of water a couple hundred yards, or roll out several long hoses to give those animals water, at least twice a day. Now there are frost-free spigots within a few feet of the entrances to those enclosures, which saves human wear and tear, AND time!
While we continue to improve how we care for animals, we’re also working to improve the experience for our visitors. We are currently in the process of revitalizing our courtyard, where visitors can wait for their tour and observe some of the closer rescues. Another project that needs to be completed before visitors can enjoy tours is upgrading our existing barriers at each of the enclosures on the tour path. These barriers are a USDA requirement for the safety of both our rescues and our visitors.
We have a very small crew, and these projects will take time to be done properly, and by not having guests on-site, we’ll be able to focus our energy on accomplishing these as quickly as possible.
Additionally, we’re waiting to see how the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination plays out; the health of our small crew of staff and interns is paramount to being able to effectively care for our rescues.
When we do open, hopefully in August, 2021, there will be some changes to how we operated prior to the 2020 closure:
- Tours will likely be by reservation ONLY.
- We will offer tours on fewer days of the week, most likely twice a day. Previously, we offered tours every day except Monday, twice a day.
- Our gift shop will be open to the public, though days of the week and hours have not yet been determined.
We will update everyone through our social media platforms and our email blasts as soon as we know more specifically when we will reopen.
Our entire crew (and critters) are anxious to see our tour guests again! We just need to get these improvements done first, and we hope you will understand.
Thank you so much for supporting us through what was a very difficult year for everyone, we couldn’t have made it through without the kindness and support of so many during this global challenge!