EcoTarium will reopen outdoors April 23
WORCESTER — The EcoTarium museum of science and nature will reopen its outdoor exhibits, trails and grounds to the public April 23 after being closed for over seven months.
"Coming out of hibernation, as we are here at the EcoTarium, reminds us of the hope we all have for our future. We look forward to welcoming everyone back," said Lucy Hale, the EcoTarium's CEO and president.
The EcoTarium closed Sept. 4 for the fall and winter, resulting in a loss of a number of staff positions, as it cited the ongoing serious financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are very excited to be reopening," Hale said in an announcement Wednesday.
The reopening means that Salton and Freyja, the EcoTarium's mountain lions and a popular attraction, will be ready for guests again. The brother-and-sister mountain lions are at the Wild Cat Station, one of the largest (18,000-square-foot) wildcat habitats in the country.
Visitors will be able to explore the outdoor animal exhibits, trails and "Nature Explore" playground.
The EcoTarium’s indoor exhibits and activities will reopen as soon as the state is further along in the vaccination process, Hale said.
To kick off the April 23 reopening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the EcoTarium will offer a full day of family activities and Earth Day celebrations. Among the happenings will be "pop-up chats" with animal keepers at the otter, fox and mountain lion habitats; animal-themed scavenger hunts and an Earth Day obstacle course; experiments at the Nature Art station; and Worcester Art Museum art class faculty creating a mural for the EcoTarium onsite. Food and beverages will be available from Edible Creations by Gerry. For people who prefer to be at home, live Facebook "pop-up educator- and zoo-led programs" will be held between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
"Member Preview Days" are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 20, 21 and 22.
The EcoTarium’s regular hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. All tickets are timed and must be purchased in advance, with the exception of those using free or reciprocal passes. No tickets will be sold onsite. All visitors over the age of 2 must wear face masks. Visitors must keep 6 feet socially distanced onsite unless with family. Outdoor bathrooms are open. For more information and to get tickets, visit www.ecotarium.org.
While the EcoTarium has been closed, it has been offering an array of programing online, said Kerry Castorano, vice president of institutional advancement and education. These have included a virtual walking tour of the museum, educational and zoological content, and a planetarium virtual program skybox.
The programs have been "very well received," Castorano said.
Meanwhile, the EcoTarium has been posting positions and hiring people back, she said.
"It's wonderful to be together again, outside, where it’s safest to be at this time. We know that it has been a very tough year for everyone," said Hale.
“Spring is a beautiful time here. So much is blooming. Everything is gorgeous,” she said.