TORONTO -- Thousands of people queued up online Friday in hopes of scoring a ticket to the Toronto Zoo’s newest attraction—a drive-thru “safari” that will allow guests to catch glimpses of the animals while adhering to COVID-19 public safety measures.

The Toronto Zoo shut its doors on the first day of March Break and will reopen officially on Saturday.

The “Scenic Safari” allows families to take a 45-minute tour around the zoo in their own vehicles through the African Rainforest Pavillion, the Americas Pavillion and Eurasia Wilds. Some of the highlights include driving through the lion’s tunnel and over a bridge above the Rouge Valley.

Guests will be able to listen to a guided audio podcast where zoo keepers will provide commentary throughout the tour.

Toronto Zoo "Scenic Safari" route

Dolf Dejong, the CEO of the Toronto Zoo, said the tour is “the kind of experience we have never offered guests before.”

“We are really excited to be hosting guests again,” Dejong said. “The highlights are people get to go on a mix of walking trails, service roads, our zoo mobile route and get glimpses of the animals they’ve never had before.”

“We think people are really going to be excited by it.”

There will be temporary washrooms set up off site for use prior to the tour and once the safari begins, guests will not be permitted to leave their vehicles.

The spring season normally brings in more than $400,000 a day in revenue and the zoo hopes the Scenic Safari will help offset some of that loss.

Torontonians wait hours for tickets

Tickets for the safari went on sale Friday, but for some guests it took hours of waiting until they were able to get their tour booked.

The Toronto Zoo issued an apology to customers on social media, saying that a high volume of traffic caused glitches in the system.

“The queue volume was an unprecedented instance for our ticketing system and we are hopeful that this issue is now resolved,” they said. “Tickets are still available at this time and we plan to add additional dates and time slots to welcome as many guests to the Zoo as possible. We truly appreciate everyone's enthusiasm supporting your Toronto Zoo by purchasing a Scenic Safari adventure and thank you again for your patience as we try to navigate how to best serve you in the future.”

As of 3:45 p.m. on Friday, there were 6,000 tickets remaining.