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Wingham Wildlife Park near Canterbury planning on June 1 reopening - as visitors told to pre-book tickets

Wingham Wildlife Park is planning to reopen to the public on June 1 - with about 500 visitors being allowed in each day.

Strict one-way systems will be enforced around the attraction, and all visitors will need to pre-book tickets in order to secure a specific time slot for their entry.

About 500 people will be allowed in each day to see the animals. Pic: Rob Prior
About 500 people will be allowed in each day to see the animals. Pic: Rob Prior

There will 13 time slots spread across each day, with 40 ticket buyers being allocated access at each time.

As it stands, visitors will not be required to wear face masks, but depending on government guidance, they could become mandatory.

However, staff at the park will be wearing protective face shields at all times.

In a statement released today, bosses say they are "tentatively looking towards" reopening on June 1, but the date is yet to be fully confirmed.

Varying restrictions will be in place at all walk-in zones, such as the reptile house, chimpanzee building and tropical house.

The one-way system at the park's entrance
The one-way system at the park's entrance

For example, the doors will be propped open at the chimpanzee centre to allow for plenty room for visitors to pass one another, while at the orangutan area, everyone is advised to keep one viewing window between each other.

The museum and education centre will be shut, along with the bat exhibit.

The park is due to open at 9am each day.

The statement reads: "We will be operating a staggered reopening of the park with things like play areas, catering and experiences opening back up later than the rest of the park or running limited services.

"At this time even when we are once again open, the restarting of animal experiences will see a slightly longer delay to allow us to further plan for social distancing measures in these circumstances where it may not be possible or as easy."

The park will open at 9am each day
The park will open at 9am each day

Those with a season ticket must still pre-book online. They will purchase a 'free ticket' for a specific date and time.

Upon arriving at the park at the designated time slot, 'free ticket' holders must show proof that they own a current season ticket, otherwise they will not be granted entry.

Visitors are asked to leave plenty of space between cars when parking, and to wait two metres apart when queuing to enter the park.

Visitors are encouraged to bring picnics with them, however the catering facilities at the play area and the ice cream hut will be open for takeaway food and drink.

Seating will be cleaned throughout the day, and tables have been spaced out to adhere to social distancing rules.

Tigers haven't seen the public since March. Pic: Rob Prior
Tigers haven't seen the public since March. Pic: Rob Prior

All season tickets have been frozen since March 23, therefore they will be automatically extended to ensure customers get a full 12 months from their ticket purchase.

Meanwhile, Port Lympne and Howletts are yet to announce a planned date for reopening.

However, the Aspinall Foundation did state earlier this month that it was looking to open park gates in the "very near future".

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