The Smithsonian Institution announced today, July 20, that it would reopen two of its popular sites, the National Zoo in Washington, DC and the National Air and Space Museum’s Chantilly-based Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, on Friday, July 24.
Both the National Zoo and the Udvar-Hazy Center are requiring that visitors obtain a free, timed-entry pass in advance of their visit (which can be purchased starting today, July 20) in an effort to keep all visitors safe as the global pandemic continues on. At both locations, visitors over the age of 6 will be required to wear face coverings, there will be expanded directional guidance to ensure social distancing and visitors will see more hand-sanitizing stations throughout the grounds of both sites.
Each day, the Smithsonian will release a select number of passes per site, with the National Zoo permitting 5,000 passes per day and the The Udvar-Hazy Center permitting about 1,500 passes per day. The National Zoo will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, while the Udvar-Hazy Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
Both the National Zoo and the Udvar-Hazy Center were chosen as the first two Smithsonian sites to open 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, according to a recent press release.
As of now, all other Smithsonian museums will remain closed. Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch said the following on the matter in the press release: “As a public entity, we thrive on serving our visitors and making our collections readily available to them, virtually and in person. 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.”
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