Florida Museum of Natural History reopens

The museum has been closed since mid-March amid coronavirus concerns
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A North Central Florida museum is welcoming visitors once again.

After being closed for about a month and a half, the Florida Museum of Natural History is ready to reopen to the public, officially starting up again on July 3.

“We’ve missed our visitors. The mammoth has been standing in here all by itself and the butterflies have kind of been waiting for everybody to return. So it’s really nice to have people back.” says Director of Exhibits and Public Programs, Darcie MacMahon.

The museum has been closed since mid-March over concerns revolving around COVID-19, using that time to consider how to safely reopen the facility.

“We’re really trying to pay attention to all the CDC guidelines and the guidelines here on campus to make sure everybody is safe.” adds Macmahon. “We’ve prepared thoughtfully and thoroughly for their return”.

Following advice from University of Florida Health experts and sticking to guidelines from the UF Board of Trustees, all visitors and staff are required to wear face coverings, foot traffic will follow a one-way path through the exhibits, hand sanitizer will be made available throughout the building, touchable technology and exhibits will be unavailable, and other high touch ears will be frequently cleaned and sanitized frequently. They also ask that guests pay with credit cards for the time being.

They have also had all staff members tested for COVID-19 and will be limiting the number of people in certain exhibit areas.

The museum will be returning to its normal hours of 10:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Saturday and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sundays. The “Butterfly Rainforest” exhibit will be closed starting a 4:30pm every day.

Including the “Butterfly Rainforest”, the other exhibits that will be available include: “Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life & Land”, “Fossil Plant Garden”, “Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife”, “Exploring Our World”, “South Florida People & Environments” and the “Florida Wildflower & Butterfly Garden”. The Butterfly Rainforest Gift Shop will remain closed.

Exhibits that will remain closed include “Amazing Pollinators”, “Discovery Zone”, and “Our Energy Future”. The East Gallery and Children’s Gallery will also be closed, and Butterfly Spotlights, group tours and plant sales are also suspended for now.

Parking during the summer is free at the visitor’s parking lot, but not at UF decal and metered spots.

For more information about the Florida Museum, including online programs, click here. For additional information about the Museum’s guidelines when visiting, click here.

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