OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — An exciting update came late Monday for those who have been following the first days of the African elephant calves at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
The zoo announced that free timed ticketing to see the new pachyderm pals will begin on Monday starting at 10:15 a.m.. Reservations will open the day prior on Sunday, and visitation times each day will be from 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., seven days per week. Forty tickets will be available in 15-minute increments, and there is no charge for the tickets beyond the regular admission to enter the zoo.
These are the first elephants born at the Henry Doorly Zoo in its entire 127-year history. On Jan. 7, Kiki the elephant gave birth to a female named Eugenia, and on Jan. 30, Claire gave birth to a male named Sonny. Callee the elephant is father to both of the babies, who have now reached or exceeded 200 pounds in weight.
The timed ticketing is a measure to reduce crowds in the Elephant Family Quarters, and face masks will be required for all guests within the "herdquarters."
"Timed ticketing will allow visitors a chance to see the calves, while also allowing the Elephant crew time to work with the herd regarding their routine and social dynamics,” said Dennis Pate, president and CEO of the zoo, in a press release. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we put the care of our animals first. And as a reminder, all of our animals roam their habitats freely so you may or may not see a specific animal on a visit to the Zoo."
Ticket booking will be available beginning at noon the day prior to the reservation slot. However, catching a glimpse may be possible outside of the herd building as well. Elephant manager Sarah Armstrong said that, “From time to time, guests may see the calves in the exhibit area closest to the Elephant Family Quarters building. This is very weather dependent and would most likely occur in the afternoon.”