The Aquarium of Niagara is preparing to end its COVID-19-related closure this week, as Western New York enters phase four of the “New York Forward” reopening plan. The venue will officially open to the general public on Saturday, July 4, with summer operating hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In compliance with New York state guidelines, the Aquarium of Niagara will reopen at 25% capacity for both staff and visitors.
A “soft opening” for members and frontline workers will take place on Tuesday.
“After more than 100 days of being closed, you can feel the enthusiasm building as we accelerate into reopening,” Executive Director Gary Siddall said. “Our organization has walked through this period of affliction and uncertainty with triumph and resilience, and we are now poised to take on the next chapter of reopening with excitement and optimism.”
In order to track and limit visitor traffic, the Aquarium of Niagara is using a timed ticketing system
and strongly encourages guests to purchase general admission passes online ahead of their visit.
A limited number of walkup passes will be available for members as well as those seeking to purchase reduced admission passes. This includes visitors using reciprocal benefits from other institutions (ex. Buffalo Zoo members), the military discount, coupons, and the Arts Access Pass.
All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear masks for the duration of their visit.
A press release said, “We ask that visitors follow a one-way directional flow of traffic, remain with their household or group, and limit one group per exhibit.”
Click here for a full list of what the Aquarium of Niagara is doing to keep visitors safe.
During the initial phase of reopening, the Aquarium of Niagara will not be offering access to interactive exhibits, shows, presentations or animal encounters.
“The safety of our guests, staff and animal collection is the aquarium’s top priority during the reopening process,” the press release explained. “Preliminary research shows that fish, amphibians, birds and reptiles are not at risk for contracting COVID-19, and marine mammals, like the aquarium’s seals and sea lions, are at very low risk of contracting the disease. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 infection to people.
“An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
“By visiting the Aquarium of Niagara, guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
The Aquarium of Niagara, at 701 Whirlpool St., is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that is home to more than 120 different species, including 10 rescued and nonreleasable marine mammals.
For more information about the Aquarium of Niagara, visit www.aquariumofniagara.org.