A day at the zoo is on the cards this weekend with a few new creatures ready to meet Canberrans for the first time.
Skye the giraffe, a pair of Sri Lankan leopards and an otter are among the newbies who arrived at the National Zoo and Aquarium amid the pandemonium of smoke haze and coronavirus.
With the lifting of restrictions from Saturday the gates will open and while there will be changes to operations, business manager Russell Jackson said the large, outdoor venue made it fairly easy to work within the rules.
"We have a lot of space which means we can make sure people are at least that 1.5 metres away from each other," he said.
Mr Jackson said there was no cap to the number of visitors as long as social distancing could be abided by and there was no groups larger than 20 attending together.
Patron limits of 20 will be enforced for the zoo's food venues and indoor spaces and Mr Jackson said it was likely some would only offer takeaway.
"There is an abundance of outdoor areas were people can bring a picnic rug or we have some seating ... so it's not like people won't have a place to sit and have a coffee or a meal."
Extra staff will be on this weekend and next to ensure people comply with rules and events such as zoo keeper talks won't go ahead to avoid crowds of people.
The chance to reopen is critical for the zoo which had been saved by a federal government assistance package and JobKeeper payments. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr had even raised the possibility of the government buying a stake in the zoo to keep it running.
"Its a huge financial hit, it's a business where the costs don't change just because we're closed," Mr Jackson said.
Two weeks ago the Jamala Wildlife Lodge reopened to visitors, a much needed source of income, Mr Jackson said.
"This weekend being a long weekend, it's heavily booked," he said.
"The Canberra crowd have really responded to having something on offer that gives them a little bit of a break from their house in a responsible way."
Visitors from regional NSW will be welcomed from Monday.