Aligned with the state’s phased approach and all public health directives, The Florida Aquarium announced today that it will reopen to the public on Friday, May 15th. (It has been open since Sunday for members & local first responders.) The Aquarium will operate with strict limits on attendance and programming and is implementing new standard operating procedures and enhanced health and safety measures to safeguard guests, staff, and animals.
“After nearly eight weeks of being closed to the public, we are excited to reopen our doors to fulfill our mission as well as support Tampa Bay’s healing process now that our state and region has begun the reopening process,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “The health, safety, and wellbeing of every guest is our utmost priority! We are taking a phased, controlled approach to reopening and have customized the guest experience to continue to deliver a world-class experience while ensuring we operate safely, responsibly and sustainably.”
“We are grateful for The Florida Aquarium’s continued support to protect the health and safety of those in our community. By implementing added safety measures and capacity limits, The Florida Aquarium is taking a smart and phased approach to re-opening responsibly,” says Mayor Jane Castor. “I urge visitors to practice safe social distancing, wash your hands, wear a face-covering in congested areas, and keep the health of our vulnerable neighbors in mind. Step by step, we can get back to all the things we love about our city, but we have to work together.”
Along with attendance limits that support physical distancing, other health and safety initiatives include online ticket sales only, touchless transactions, staff required to wear masks in public spaces, and enhanced cleaning methods. Several interactive experiences, such as outdoor play area and animal touch exhibits, will remain temporarily closed. A complete list of all health and safety measures can be found on the aquarium’s website.
Update: On Thursday evening, the aquarium updated their new guidelines to require guests to wear face masks. Previously, the policy only said guests would be strongly encouraged to wear masks.
“We have been preparing for our re-opening for several weeks. From conducting a deep clean of all exhibits to removing unnecessary touchpoints to requiring online ticket sales, The Florida Aquarium is well prepared to provide a safe, clean and fun experience for our guests,” said Andy Wood, The Florida Aquarium Chief Operating Officer. “We will continue to coordinate with local, state and federal agencies and public health officials and are prepared to make any and all adjustments necessary now and after we open, to maintain the highest standards of health and safety for all.”
Starting Thursday, May 7, the Aquarium will begin taking online reservations for the May 15th reopening. Online tickets are now required for all guests and anyone arriving at the Aquarium without an online reservation will not be admitted. Admission will be timed, which will limit the number of guests in the Aquarium at one time and provide for increased physical distancing.
“Humans and the natural world are more disconnected than ever, especially during the ‘safer at home’ timeframe, and studies show that the human-animal-nature bond plays a role supporting public health,” Germann said. “A visit to The Florida Aquarium is good for mental and emotional wellbeing and we are ready to welcome our guests back to provide these positive health benefits.”
Online tickets must be reserved prior to visiting The Florida Aquarium and information can be found on the Aquarium’s website, www.flaquarium.org.
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