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Baton Rouge Zoo sees busy Labor Day as residents largely avoid parks

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BATON ROUGE - Charlie Irvin and his family had their traditional Labor Day barbeque at Evangeline Street Park. But this year they were only people in the entire park.

"Usually it would be crowded. I guess the corona is keeping them in," Irvin said.

Irvin even came out early to make sure he got a good spot at the park, but he didn't need to do that this year. No one else showed to cook-out, play ball or even just to enjoy the fresh air.

While many of the local parks were empty this Labor Day, that wasn't the case at the Baton Rouge Zoo.

"We got a bunch of people out here today. It's like a chamber of commerce day with the sun out and not too hot," said Jim Fleshman, the Assistant Zoo Director.

Fleshman says attendance was up Labor Day, well above last Monday. He thinks the zoo's outdoor setting being large enough for visitors to easily keep their distance is a big reason.

That's why Joseph Leiva and his girlfriend decided to visit the zoo on the holiday.

"Do something different instead of fighting the beach crowd, river crowds and the overcrowded areas with people. You hear about it all the time with the coronavirus," Leiva said.

Officials said attendance at the zoo has been steady since the first phase of the state's reopening.

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