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Christmas with Santa Canceled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

SIOUX FALLS, SD: Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History leadership and Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel the zoo’s annual holiday event, Christmas with Santa (formerly known as Breakfast with Santa) on December 5, 2020. Due to rising cases of COVID-19 within the Sioux Falls community, the zoo’s leadership felt the safest option was to cancel the event for this year.

“Our number one priority since the beginning of this pandemic has been the safety of our guests, our animals, and our staff,” said Great Plain Zoo’s CEO, Becky Dewitz. “We want everyone to come enjoy the zoo, but we want to do it in the safest way possible and we felt with the rising case numbers in the Sioux Falls area tell us that this event isn’t the way to do that. We need Santa healthy and ready to deliver gifts on Christmas!”  

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Great Plains Zoo has taken precautions to provide guests with a safe environment. The zoo added additional sanitation stations, additional cleaning schedules, social distancing markers and more to help guests feel safe during their visits to the zoo’s outdoor 45-acre campus.

“It’s important that we are mindful of the current situation, which is changing so much day-to-day. We have to put safety first, and that’s exactly what we are doing with this decision,” Dewitz said.

The zoo will still proceed forward in having an animal enrichment day on December 5, with Santa dropping off gifts for the animals to enjoy. Visitors can watch the animals enjoy their enrichment in-person and the zoo will be posting Zookeeper Chats on each of the animals featured on their Facebook page.

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History continues to remain open for business, with regular business hours of 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily. With many active animals during the Fall and Winter, it’s the perfect way to get outdoors with your family, learn about the world’s wildlife, and practice social distancing amid the current pandemic.

  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor F.
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A.
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N.
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world.  The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones.  Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T.