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Monterey Bay Aquarium to reopen for visitors in May

Monterey Bay Aquarium to reopen for visitors in May

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Getting schooled at the aquarium

A jellyfish takes it easy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in this file photo. The Aquarium will reopen in May. 

MONTEREY —  Monterey Bay Aquarium will reopen to the public on Saturday, May 15, ending an unprecedented 13-month closure.

The Aquarium was last open to visitors on March 12, 2020, closing a week before California issued its first shelter-in-place order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve missed welcoming our visitors to the Aquarium and have been looking forward to this day for too long,” said Executive Director Julie Packard. “Social media and our online experiences have allowed us to stay connected with people virtually, but we know that people are looking forward to reconnecting with favorite exhibits and animals in person. Everyone can expect an outstanding experience that puts the well-being of our guests, staff and volunteers front and center.”

Before reopening to the public, the Aquarium will offer two weeks of member days, as a special thank-you for their incredible support to help carry the Aquarium through this unprecedented closure. Admission both for members and the general public will be by online advance reservation only, and will be limited to meet current state public health guidelines. Reservations can only be made through the Aquarium's website.

Reservations will become available online at 9 a.m. PT on the following dates:

  • April 26 - Member reservations available for May 1 - June 30. (Member days are May 1-14.)
  • May 5 - General admission tickets available for May 15 - June 30.
  • June 1 - General admission tickets & member reservations through July 15.
  • June 30 - General admission tickets & member reservations through September 6.
  • Additional ticket and reservation availability will be announced at a later date based on Monterey County’s status.

Aquarium memberships are available for purchase online. New members can make reservations to visit during member days.

Initially, the Aquarium will be open Thursdays through Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Seven-day-a-week operations will resume starting Memorial Day Weekend.

As the Aquarium reopens, it’s prioritizing the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and its living collection by implementing new safety policies, which were developed in consultation with public health experts. Among these new policies is a requirement for all guests, ages three and older, staff and volunteers to wear a face covering and follow appropriate physical distancing practices. The Aquarium is also directing all foot traffic through the exhibit galleries along one-way paths and will no longer allow guests to reenter after they leave the Aquarium following their visit.

See full details on the modifications made to the visitor experience and what you need to know before you visit.

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