The people in Vienna, OH have started to allow visitors to enjoy a socially distanced zoo environment. The location, known as Wagon Trails, is asking that visitors come in their own cars and drive through themselves. This way, animal lovers can enjoy the park from a safe distance during the coronavirus pandemic. According to those employed at the park, this was kind of their only option.
"What we do in those six months gets us through the winter. We have a lot of mouths to feed," said Christine Bertok of Wagon Trails. The park relies on summer months for business and closes down for six months in the winter. Those profits from the summer are enough to keep the park running and the animals fed for the rest of the year, but this solution might have just saved them.
The park, which boasts 300 unique animals native to six continents, has a ton of tourists coming to see the sights. They offer visits with donkeys, zebras, ostriches, elk, and many more. Christine reports that so far, the donkeys have earned the most praise, as they're very social and approach the cars on their own. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, there is no feeding or petting permitted.
Though they expected the worst, it has been an incredible success for the park. The idea has even been praised by parents who have shy or nervous children. The comfort and familiarity of the car allowed them to get out and see the animals. Even the animals are loving it.
"It’s almost like we trained them to do this with cars, but obviously we never have, but we’re just so tickled with how they’ve been receiving the cars."