Bookings brisk as Cork animal lovers plan return to Fota 

Bookings brisk as Cork animal lovers plan return to Fota 

Cork visitors will be able to visit the Spider Monkeys and other animals at Fota Wildlife Park from Monday April 26. 

BOOKINGS have been flowing in for appointments to visit Fota Wildlife Park when it reopens next week.

The park has been closed to the public since January 8 under level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.

However, it will reopen to the public next Monday, along with other outdoor visitor attractions such as Dublin Zoo, open farms, and places of heritage.

Marketing manager Roisin Fitzgerald told The Echo that the online booking system has been extremely busy since opened yesterday. 

“The pre-booking opens 7 days in advance, so tomorrow morning Tuesday 27th April will be available to book and so on," she explained.

The park is asking visitors to the current public health regulations during their visit. 

“Please note that the maximum number of people for a booking is 6 people from the same household – please abide by the current NPHET guidelines regarding gatherings outdoors at all times once you have arrived at Fota Wildlife Park," a statement on the park webiste says. 

“The half hour is your arrival timeslot, you must arrive within this half hour. We are currently asking visitors not to dwell longer than 3 hours in the park.

“Please note that last entry is 4.00pm – 4.30 pm for general admission and 4.30 pm – 5.00 pm is strictly for annual pass holders only. Please note that the Park gates close at 6.00pm. Dates go live and available to book a max of seven days in advance, if you wish to book a later date please check back closer to the time.” 

Baby Red Panda
Baby Red Panda

The online booking system was set up last year, and was used between last May and January 8, when the wildlife park had to close under the level 5 restrictions.

Last month, the director of Fota Wildlife Park, Sean McKeown, raised concerns about how the park would continue to survive it if it remained closed.

It led to an influx of donations from members of the public.

Mr McKeown said that the running costs of the park are €380,000 a month, with 95 per cent of the operating costs reliant on gate receipts, annual pass sales and the intake from the gift shop.

“We are extremely grateful to all of those who donated via the website and pledged support through their own fundraising initiatives," he said. 

* Bookings can be made at www.fotawildlife.ie.

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