TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Memorial Day weekend is known as one of the deadliest holidays of the year. In 2019, five people were killed over the weekend in East Texas alone and the National Safety Council is predicting more than 400 deaths across the U.S.

As May progresses, Gov. Greg Abbott has announced several phases of reopening for Texas leading many to start venturing out into the public including lakes and highways.

Troopers are asking everyone to be vigilant when traveling including buckling up and to be alert on lakes.

“Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination we know that when people feel rushed that they have a tendency to speed and like I said speed is the number one contributing factor to fatality crashes,” said Jean Dark, with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

They also urge everyone to wear a life jacket on the water and if you’re going to drink, remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver.

Caldwell Zoo

The Caldwell Zoo is now open to the public but with some safety measures put in place.

The following adjustments have been made:

  • All visitors (including members) must reserve a time slot for their visit
  • All foot traffic will be one-way
  • There will be a separate entrance and exit
  • Reentry will not be allowed after exiting
  • The Chakula Cafe will be open, but no inside seating.
    • Guests can purchase refreshments and use outdoor dining spaces
  • Ability to use cash is limited
  • Certain parts of the zoo are temporarily closed
    • Petting pen
    • Rhino House Building
    • Penguin House Building
    • Texas Reptile Building
    • Events Meeting Room
    • Playground
    • Water Fountains

Ellen Trout Zoo

The zoo director has implemented new limitations which are all dependent on how the coronavirus affects the community.

The following adjustments have been made:

  • Hours of 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (last entry at 3:00 p.m.)
  • All buildings closed except restrooms
  • Water fountains and vending machines unavailable (encouraged to bring own snacks)
  • Six-foot distance maintained between groups outside of the family
  • Masks not required but strongly encouraged

Tyler State Park

The Tyler State Park has been open to day use for a few weeks, but overnight camping was recently allowed on May 18. However, only existing reservations will be honored.

All reservations can be made online or by calling 512-389-8900.

Lake Jacksonville

The City of Jacksonville is reopening Lake Jacksonville and city parks in time for Memorial Day weekend. Swimming, fishing, and strolling the beaches are allowed with campgrounds opening on Friday, May 22.