Stampede for tickets causes Dublin Zoo website to crash

‘Phenomenal’ demand for tickets as attraction prepares for reopening next week

A Dublin Zoo spokeswoman was unable to say if the technical problems would be fixed for the next batch of ticket sales, due to be available for pre-booking only online next Thursday. File Photograph: James Forde

A Dublin Zoo spokeswoman was unable to say if the technical problems would be fixed for the next batch of ticket sales, due to be available for pre-booking only online next Thursday. File Photograph: James Forde

 

Dublin Zoo’s website crashed on Thursday morning because of “phenomenal” demand for tickets as the attraction makes final preparations for reopening next week after four months of closure due to Covid-19 restrictions.

A number of people took to social media to complain that they could not purchase tickets as the site froze under the weight of people trying to book a day out at the zoo. Tickets, which were only available online, went on sale at 11am.

Immediately afterwards people posted on Twitter comparing their efforts to book a slot to trying to get tickets for major music festivals like Glastonbury and Electric Picnic.

A number were also angered that the technology was unable to cope.

“Very poorly done, should have never been put up last night, it was obvious the site would crash, trying on 3 devices all with the same outcome!” wrote one.

Another said: “Keeps crashing for me”.

One would-be visitor complained of having three times got as far as “a time and date slot and (the website) crashed”.

“So frustrating site is not working at all,” said another, while one posted: “That’s 45 mins of my life I won’t get back....very disappointing that the tech was not set up to deal with the obvious high demand.”

A Dublin Zoo spokeswoman said she was “confident the technical issues which occurred today have been addressed and will not be a factor moving forward”.

The zoo could not immediately detail the technical issues involved or quantify the numbers trying to book.

“Due to phenomenal demand for Dublin Zoo tickets when they went on sale at 11am this morning, our website experienced some temporary difficulties,” she said.

The next batch of ticket sales are due to be available for pre-booking only online next Thursday and the zoo said attendances must be limited due to the need for strict social distancing measures.

The attraction will operate at at reduced capacity — a fifth of normal visitor levels — spaced out in different time slots, with a one-way system in place.

A number of viewing areas will also be off bounds, including the South American House, the Waldrapp ibis habitat and Zoorassic World, although most of the animals will be on show.

Cafes and restaurants will be take-away only and there will be a limited number of picnic benches available.

Last December, the Government intervened to pledge €2 million towards the zoo to help it cope with a massive loss in income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dublin Zoo had warned it could be forced to close for good if a way is not found to plug an almost €10 million hole in its finances caused by the restrictions.

The attraction, which costs about €1 million a month to run — with the cost of animal care alone reaching €500,000 each month — also launched a fundraising drive which raised more than €1 million within a month.