Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum announced its plans to reopen its doors this week with a number of new health and safety procedures following its closure in mid-March due to COVID-19.
The museum opened to members on Monday and will open to the general public on Thursday.
Museum officials said Fernbank intuitively allows for physical distancing with its 75 acres of outdoor space, including two miles of nature trails, a tree-lined canopy walk, a creek-lined pollinator sanctuary and a variety of trees, native plants and blooming wildflowers.
Most museum exhibits will also be open to explore, with some hands-on exhibits, outdoor children’s exhibits and some interactives temporarily unavailable. The 3D Giant Screen Theater will remain closed at this time.
Guests should be aware of several new operational updates for the safety of guests and staff:
♦ Fernbank is only offering online ticket purchases and timed tickets to allow for contactless check-in, and capacity limits will be in place to support physical distancing. Entry times available for reservation are 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.
♦ All guests and members must reserve tickets in advance, as walk-up tickets will not be available at the box office. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and online fees have been eliminated. Re-entry and outside food or drink will not be permitted.
Enhanced health and safety protocols have been developed, including regular disinfection of hard surfaces, deep cleanings taking place throughout the day and before and after museum hours, one-way paths where appropriate, 19 new hand sanitation stations throughout the campus, grab-and-go concessions from the cafe, contactless store purchases and more.
Transactions within the museum will be cashless as well, so guests are asked to bring a credit or debit card if they anticipate making purchases within the museum.
Fernbank staff will take part in daily health checks and will be required to wear face coverings. Guests ages 2 and older should wear face coverings throughout their visit as well. Guests are also asked to leave strollers at home to ensure the elevator is available for guests with physical needs.
The special exhibit “Our Senses: An Immersive Experience” has been extended through Aug. 9.
Some large events have been canceled, including “Fernbank After Dark” (not offered on June 12 or July 9). Fernbank’s Calendar of Events provides other updates.
Fernbank will continue to provide Museum at Home experiences, at no cost, in an effort to continue offering guided programs during physical distancing.
“We are eager to welcome guests back to cultivate their curiosity and reconnect with nature,” Jennifer Grant Warner, Fernbank’s president and CEO, said. “With science and nature at the forefront of our mission, our team is more committed than ever to inspire learning, discovery and exploration.
“Our team has diligently implemented new protocols to ensure the health and safety of our guests and staff, and it’s a responsibility that we do not take lightly. I look forward to seeing our community exploring WildWoods, Fernbank Forest and the museum again soon. And, for anyone not ready yet, I hope they’ll continue to engage their curiosity through our free Museum at Home online content, featuring experiments, animal encounters, edible science and more.”