The new automatic gate at the Fifth Street exit of Lee Richardson Zoo is now operational as of Tuesday.

The automatic gate will open as vehicles approach it to leave the zoo, and will close behind them if no other vehicles are present. Guests entering on foot will need to enter and exit through the Arches at Fourth Street, near the Safari Shoppe. Bicycles may enter through the vehicle gate at Fourth Street.

Zoo hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for pedestrians, with vehicles being admitted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Extended summer hours will begin April 1.

The automatic gate satisfies a security-related mandate from USDA while still allowing visitors to drive through the zoo. The gate will aid in preventing dogs (which pose a danger to the animal collection) from entering the zoo, and in the unlikely case of an animal escape, the closed gate will help keep the animal on zoo grounds.