WASHINGTON — The National Zoo and The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly have opened their doors to the public after months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both locations reopened Friday, July 24. All other Smithsonian museums will remain temporarily closed to the public.
“As a public entity, we thrive on serving our visitors and making our collections readily available to them, virtually and in person,” Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian said. “However, the safety and well-being of our staff, visitors, and volunteers come first and are paramount, so we are taking a deliberate, phased, and cautious approach to reopening. Our goal is to be safe and measured in order to adjust and pivot as necessary.”
The National Zoo is open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, and the Udvar-Hazy Center will be open 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily.
To protect the health of visitors, staff, and animals, new safety measures based on guidance from the CDC and other health officials will include:
- Requesting that all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home.
- Requiring that visitors ages six and older wear face coverings during their visit—inside the Udvar-Hazy Center and Zoo buildings as well as in Zoo outdoor spaces.
- Face coverings are also strongly recommended for visitors between the ages of two and six, per CDC guidelines.
- Limiting the number of people in each facility by requiring all visitors to obtain a free, timed-entry pass in advance of their visit.
- Beginning July 20, visitors can reserve passes online or by phone and select the desired date and time for their visit.
- The Smithsonian will release 5,000 timed passes per day for the Zoo and about 1,500 passes per day for the Udvar-Hazy Center. Those numbers may change over time.
- Implementing safe social distancing, including some one-way paths and directional guidance where appropriate.
- Providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors and conducting enhanced cleaning throughout both facilities.
The openings mark the beginning of a phased reopening strategy for the Smithsonian.
These first two locations were chosen to re-open first "based on factors such as the ability to facilitate crowd management and social distancing, the ability to maintain a hygienic environment, and availability of parking."
Restrooms will be open as well as outdoor concessions and retail kiosks will be open at the Zoo. Indoor concessions and retail will not be open at the Udvar-Hazy Center, but food trucks will be on-site pending availability.
All on-site public tours and events are temporarily suspended. Some exhibits, interactives, rides, demonstrations, theaters, or indoor spaces may be closed or operate at limited capacity, including some indoor spaces and artifacts unavailable at the Udvar-Hazy Center due to a previously planned roof-reconstruction project.