Phoenix Zoo employees treated to day of wellness, relaxation

It's a somewhat unusual sight at the Phoenix Zoo: yoga in the primate exhibit.

"One more time, guys, all the way up to warrior two," a yoga instructor could be heard saying. "Reverse your warrior all the way back."

Even the orangutans had to take a second look.

"We decided to close the zoo today and just have a great time with our staff," said Phoenix Zoo president Bert Castro.

The Phoenix Zoo closed to the public on May 28, with the president and CEO giving employees a "re-zoo-venation."

"We had to do some furlough and some layoffs, and that was very tough," Castro said. "I've got to tell you, our folks here took it on the chin. They took great care of the animals, they worked extremely hard, and we're just trying to give them back a day of relaxation, a day of fun, a day to enjoy each other."

The zoo shut down for 161 days because of the pandemic. There were furloughs and layoffs, and there was plenty of stress for everyone involved.

But on this say, there was tie dye, lunch and massages - a time to unwind and smile.

"As a team, we were able to get through this," said Castro. "The community was extremely supportive of the zoo…our greatest asset is our people, and without your people, you are a nobody."

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