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June 5, 2020

Glazer Children’s Museum REOPENS: What you need to know

By Laura Byrne

Glazer Children’s Museum officially reopens on Saturday, June 6 after pandemic related closures that temporarily shuttered attractions across the country.

Like most attractions and museums, you will notice some pretty big changes during your next visit with the most notable being a required online reservation before you arrive. This will help keep capacity at no more than 25% during the initial reopening phase.

The changes are immediate. You’ll see new purple signage on the outside doors directing you to a door which will be opened for you. As you make your way to the front counter to check in, you’ll see additional signage with the new rules like the required face masks for guests ages 12 and older. You’ll also see plastic partitions at the check in desk where you will have your email reservation confirmation ready to scan.

These are just a few changes the museum has put into place to keep your family safe. We met with Sarah Cole, the museum’s president and CEO to chat about the changes and more about what you can expect.

First, let’s talk about the special member mornings when the first kids walked through the doors for the very first time since March!

Sarah Cole: There were a lot of tears when the first kids came in this morning. It’s just amazing. A children’s museum is nothing without children in it. Every time we came around the corner and heard a giggle or a laugh or the music play or. splash…it’s like, this is what was missing for so long.

Our community is looking for joy, laughter and healing right now and we know that play offers respite for parents, it offers respite for children. Children have been through a lot in the last few months whether we realize it or not.

You all have put a lot of work into the reopening plan. How did this plan come together?

Sarah Cole: We really focused on three different things. One of the biggest things  that we did before we started creating our reopening plan was reach out to families and say…What do you care about? What are you concerned about? Making sure the space is as clean as possible, making sure that people were protected, and for us, making sure we kept the museum what the museum was meant to be. We’ve really been looking at this idea of Clean-Safe-Fun.

We are a place where children play. We are a hands-on institution. We wanted to keep that hands-on aspect as much as possible  because that’s how children learn best.

In addition to the required online reservation, the face mask policy is probably the biggest change that will impact guests. What do we need to know?

Sarah Cole: One of the major changes that we’ve made is we are asking all of the people over age 12 to wear masks while they’re in the building. W’ere not requiring masks or kids, we’re strongly encouraging them.

If your kid is one of those kids that fusses with it and plays with it all day long like mine, the sis a good place to practice. You’re going to see a lot of grown ups in masks, You’re going to see lots of friendly faces smiling with our eyes wearing masks all day, so this is a place to help your kids get used to that again.

We’re noticing a lot of signage and a lot of purple from staff shirts to the new signs.

Sarah Cole: We have changed our look and feel. We are all purple all of the time. Any sign that you see in purple is helping remind you what we’re doing to keep you safe.

Alright, let’s talk about how you’re cleaning and sanitizing exhibits. 

Sarah Cole: We are lucky that as a children’s museum we are used to cleaning a lot. We’ve really ramped things up though. The biggest thing most families are going to see is the number of things out on the floor. We call them manipulatives or props. The stuff your kids grab. We’ve reduced the number of that. There’s a lot less stuff to grab. The reason for that is everything is divided into four–four times a day we’re rotating new stuff through, so we are deeply disinfecting every single thing your child is touching. We’re letting it dry and cure and we’re replacing it with fresh clean stuff multiple times a day. We’re shutting down all of our play spaces to do a deeper clean multiple times a day.

We’ve got a couple of spaces we actually just completely closed because cleaning them is something we just haven’t been able to figure out yet. How do you clean a sand box? Not really sure.

The Water’s Journey climber is still open, but we are asking the children to remove their shoes and take a one way path through.

Did you reach out to other children’s museums across the country to help guide your reopening plan?

Sarah Cole: The network of children’s museums has been one of the most open and sharing networks I have ever been a part of through this process. We are sharing documents with each other and plans with each other, our emails to staff. The differences in how museums are responding is a vast as the difference the pandemic has made in different parts of the country.

We’re also talking to theme parks, all of the cultural arts and engaging with health care locally to vet our plans.


More INSIDE LOOKS as Tampa Bay Reopens:

INSIDE LOOK | MOSI Reopens

INSIDE LOOK | The New Normal at the Florida Aquarium

INSIDE LOOK | ZooTampa Reopens 

 

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