SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Long lines at a COVID-19 testing site in Southwest Miami-Dade led to long waits and a traffic nightmare for those wanting to enter Zoo Miami.

Friday’s congestion almost kept Dayna Blank’s family away from making their Christmas Eve visit to the zoo.

“We didn’t know there were two lines: one for COVID testing and one for the zoo. We didn’t know,” said Blank. “We waited like an hour.”

The long lines were not for the zoo, but for athe nearby testing site.

7SkyForce hovered above the line of cars filing in.

Zoo staff said Miami-Dade Police helped direct traffic. Officers routed traffic to help families reach the zoo more quickly.

“When we called, we got lucky. We called, and we were in the middle of the line. They told us to jump out of line and go around and told us what to do, and here we are,” said Blank.

“Zoo Miami is real happy to provide a site for COVID testing and vaccination ,” said Ron Magill, the zoo’s communications director. “Unfortunately, with the increased demand during the holidays, we’ve had an incredible backup.”

The backup was so big that it sometimes reached the Florida Turnpike on Southwest 152nd Street.

“People have had to sometimes wait hours to get in here, including our staff,” said Magill.

Despite the ominous line, Zoo Miami officials encouraged people to still come.

“It’s been very challenging and somewhat frustrating. We understand the purpose, but we hope people will have patience with us,” said Magill.

Zoo Miami is open every day, including Christmas Day, from noon to 5 p.m.

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