Enjoy Free Admission as Santa Barbara Zoo Reopens

The animal park had been shuttered due to the Thomas Fire.

WHEN THE SANTA BARBARA ZOO... shuttered over the second weekend in December, due to the nearness of the Thomas Fire and the Voluntary Evacuation Zone, fans kept tabs on social media to see just how the zoo's animal residents were doing. The zoo informed followers that while the animal park "...was in no immediate danger," the critters were staying inside due to the air quality (or, if they weren't inside, they were given access to an indoor area). Another post assured that the beasties were remaining engaged and occupied, and a sweet video of gang of meerkats playing with a bottle-cool enrichment toy accompanied the update. Still, supporters and regulars of the zoo, as well as those people who follow from afar, remained interested, and concerned, about how the zoo was weathering the smoke and being in the general proximity of the fire. After a few closed days, though, the Santa Barbara Zoo is back open, as of Wednesday, Dec. 13, and...

ADMISSION IS FREE... on that day (and that day only). So if you're in the area, and you want to check on the meerkats or the snow leopards or your favorite iguana, do so, and enter without paying. There will be activities for kids, located indoors, while holiday movies, craft-making fun, and Santa will be part of the day, too. There shall be limited hours, too, with a closing time of 3 o'clock. Also note that animals may not yet be outside and on view yet, or a few might be, and that the Winter Zoo Camp will start in a few days, "if conditions allow." It's a hope-filled development, to see the zoo reopening, though you'll want to keep an eye on the Santa Barbara Zoo social media feeds, and air quality reports, in the days ahead, to see how the situation proceeds.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
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