TAMPA, Fla. - These last few months have brought different stresses for everyone. With museums, aquariums, and other attractions taking steps to reopen, they hope to give visitors a much-needed, but most importantly, safe mental break.
Here are some of the few local attractions getting ready to open and who's still working out their plans:
There's nothing like gliding sting rays and swirling fins to take your mind off of life on land.
After nearly 8 weeks closed due to COVID-19, The Florida Aquarium will reopen on May 15.
"We would not open if we did not take every precaution, every safeguard to protect all of our guests from toddlers all the way up to grandparents," said President and CEO Roger Germann.
A few things will be different. Tickets will be touch-free, only sold online. They'll be timed, limiting capacity to 150 people per hour. Staff will wear masks, have daily temperature checks, and ensure proper social distancing. Touch tanks will be temporarily closed. And, visitors must follow a one-way flow.
"When you come in, you are going to follow a path and you will exit out a different door making sure we keep flow," Germann explained.
RELATED: Visitors can return to Dinosaur World starting Thursday, May 7
ZooTampa hopes to reopen on or around June 1st, limiting capacity to 50% outdoors and 25% in indoor areas. Single point entries will have thermal monitoring stations. Employees will have PPE. Guests will be offered free disposable masks.
Busch Gardens has yet to announce a reopening date. They are automatically extending all active Annual Passes and Membership products to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens for a period at least as long as the temporary closure. They will also be granting complimentary membership tier upgrades for all active Pass Members for the remainder of 2020.
As for museums, phase one of Governor Ron DeSantis' order allows them to reopen at 25% capacity. The Glazer Children's Museum is still developing its reopening timeline and new procedures.
Over in St. Petersburg, the Dali Museum remains closed. Its leadership team and board are working on new operational strategies. They say they will announce a reopening plan once they've measured all of the financial, health and staff implications.
"The decisions will be made individually by each of our museums on whether they will in fact go ahead and open or whether they are going to wait for a time they feel more comfortable doing so," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
The Dali and St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts continue enriching minds virtually with art lessons, book readings and educational posts on Facebook.
In tough times, art, education and animals all have the power to heal.
"It's the time for our community and our state to come together in part of the healing process that we've all gone through and contribute to making sure that we help with mental health and emotion health that we know happens with the bonds of nature," Germann said.
Finally, taking a look down I-4 east, the big parks like Disney World, Universal Orlando and Sea World remain closed for now.