Des Moines Museums and Zoo Create Plans to Reopen for Visitors

Des Moines Museums and Zoo Create Plans to Reopen for Visitors
Des Moines Museums and Zoo Create Plans to Reopen for Visitors

DES MOINES, Iowa – Governor Kim Reynolds has given zoos, museums, and aquariums the green light to reopen their doors come Friday as more COVID-19 restrictions are eased across the state.

The Blank Park Zoo announced its members will be able to schedule a visit starting Friday and the general public on Sunday.

Blank Park Zoo President Anne Shimerdla said the zoo will operate at 20 percent capacity.

“We’re making sure trying to eliminate out lines as best as possible. We have markers around the zoo so that people know how to distance themselves and reminders to make sure they’re distancing themselves from each other,” Shimerdla said.

Zoogoers will follow a one-way path through outdoor exhibits with social distancing guidelines in place.

Shimerdla said employees will be required to wear masks and visitors are highly encouraged.

“We want to make sure people have a fun experience when they are here and that they have plenty of opportunity to stay distance from other groups,” Shimerdla said.

People can go online to schedule a time to visit the zoo.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said the State Historical Museum of Iowa plans to reopen its doors in June.

“We need just a little time to make sure that we’re preparing for all of our guests. We want to keep them safe and also the safety of our staff and so forth,” Kramer said.

The Des Moines Art Center hasn’t picked a date yet but plans to reopen sometime this summer.

Des Moines Art Center Director of Marketing Jordan Powers said the organization is weighing all its options at this point.

“We’re certainly exploring different pathways through the museum. Right now for anyone who has been to the art center there is a number of directions you can go when you walk in the door, so we’re taking a look at what that looks like and potentially creating pathways through the museum that are the pathways that are followed,” Powers said.

Powers said while closed, its virtual tour has seen the same amount of traffic as visitors who normally walk through its exhibitions.