ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The BioPark is reopening the Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach on Tuesday, June 9. However, things will look a little different. They’re taking special precautions because of the coronavirus.
The ABQ BioPark zoo and aquarium are still closed, but even with timed ticketing in place, hundreds of people are making their way back to the BioPark’s Botanic Gardens. BioPark staff said it’s been an encouraging reopen so far.
“We’ve been really happy with how many people have wanted to come back,” explained Stephanie Stowell, Associate Director of the Albuquerque BioPark. “That says a lot about – they trust our plans. We were very good about making sure the community knew what our plans were relative to cleaning, sanitizing, social distancing, and all of that.”
The general public can now register for a time slot online to visit the BioPark Botanic Gardens. So far, slots in the mornings when it’s still cool out are the first ones to book up.
BioPark visitors said that the process to buy a ticket online was pretty easy. Numbers show hundreds of people are taking advantage of the gardens each day, with Sunday seeing more than 800 guests go through the gate.
Stowell said BioPark staff is scattered throughout to remind people about social distancing and the Public Health Order mask requirement. “Part of our reopening plan was making sure that we had the resources necessary to feel like we could open safely, and that does include having more staff and volunteer presence throughout the BioPark as we welcome back our community,” said Stowell.
Families said they’re glad to have something else to do with their kids. “It’s hard to keep them busy, especially with school out now that it’s summer, and this is something that we frequently do when it’s more normal times,” said Randy Gallegos. “So it’s nice to be able to do this again.”
“It’s been super stressful for a lot of parents and they were so excited to get out today,” another BioPark visitor said. “My other kids that I nanny are getting excited and looking forward to go next week,” she added.
To limit capacity, a max of 300 people are allowed in the gardens per hour. Tickets can be booked up to two weeks in advance. Tingley Beach also reopened this week. Visitors filled the parking lot on Tuesday, with lots of families out fishing.
One gate was closed off to limit the number of cars. Families said they feel it’s easier to social distance at Tingley than at other places.
“We do have social distancing and we’ve been using our masks through the morning,” said Beverly Baca. “We are so excited that we finally have the opportunity to come and be able to fish.”
“It’s nice to have a little bit of freedom,” said Anthony Gutierrez. Tingley is free to the public with a fishing license.