The rain did absolutely nothing to dampen the spirits of the families who were first in line as Camperdown Wildlife Centre re-opened to the public yesterday.
The Stewart family from Broughty Ferry were the first visitors in the park since it was forced to close its doors at the start of lockdown in March.
They had booked their slot on line and were happy to brave the downpour to enjoy a long-awaited family day out.
Most excited was four-year-old Ayla Stewart who couldn’t wait to see the meerkats.
She said: “It’s really exciting. My favourite animals are the meerkats and I’m going to see them.”
Ayla was with mum Clare, a pharmacy technician at Ninewells, dad James, depute head teacher of Longhaugh Primary School, and one-year-old sister India.
James said: “It’s great to be able to bring the children back to the centre. We used to come before and they love it. Ayla is very excited.
“There is no way the rain was going to stop us coming along.”
One of the next families into the park were the Browns from Birkhill.
Teacher Kirsty Brown was there with children Findlay, 12, Hannah, nine, and Iona, two.
Hannah, a pupil at Eassie Primary School, said: “It’s great to come to the park today to see the animals.
“I’ve been getting pretty bored during lockdown so it’s good to have something like this to do.”
Mum Kirsty said: “I’ve been home schooling with the kids so we thought this would be a great chance to get a day out and do something different for a change.”
Camperdown conservation services manager Bradly Yule said the centre had been working hard to ensure the site could safely reopen.
He said: “We are taking bookings 15 minutes apart and we can allow eight people in one group at a time.
“We have a one-way system around the park and all the animals can be seen from outside, although we have had to close off some of the internal viewing areas because we can’t make them safe for social distancing.”
He said that for yesterday all the slots had been booked up and bookings were coming in for most other days also.
At the beginning of lockdown Bradley and zoo staff noticed the centre’s bears Brum, Brumma and Maja seemed to be missing their visitors.
Bradley said the bears were frequently found looking out expectantly hoping to catch a glimpse of someone.
He said: “However they just seemed to adapt and began to treat every day just like the one before.
“Much of life at the centre has gone on as normal during lockdown, but just without the visitors, but it’s going to be good to start welcoming people once again.”