The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has begun a phased reopening after being closed for weeks because of the COVID-19.
According to a news release, members who reserve a spot online can visit the museum’s outdoor spaces from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The museum is located at 2559 Puesta Del Sol. Tickets are available at sbnature.org/tickets.
The museum’s Sprague Butterfly Pavilion is also open at limited capacity. The pavilion is built from local Santa Barbara sandstone and steel ribs. It features hundreds of local flowers, a water pond, and wooden benches.
“Over a thousand fluttering and colorful butterflies are flourishing in our warm and sunny weather. And yes, for the first time since 2014 we have Malachites!” the news release read.
All guests over the age of 13 must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times. The museum has also implemented a “one-way flow of movement” along with social distancing policies from the museum admission office to the Butterfly Pavilion and backyard, through the observatory and to the parking lot.
Staff will be available to guide guests through the museum.
The newly renovated and Americans with Disabilities Act accessible museum backyard is open daily during museum hours for free with a paid museum admission.
“Backyard features have been modified to accommodate social distancing and your safety. There are also three staffed stations with expert naturalists who will show and tell you about birds, botany, snakes, insects, geology, and more,” the news release read.
Museum staff will hold a storytelling session on the backyard’s observation deck every 45 minutes during business hours. Guests can also try to guess the “Mystery Box” animal by asking 21 yes or no questions.
“We have made other changes to our cleaning and guest services protocols to keep everyone as safe as possible including continual sanitizing and longer hours for our janitorial staff,” museum President Luke Swetland said.
Mr. Swetland said the museum’s Sea Center will be open to museum members and the public during the second week of July. Staff will open the museum’s indoor halls and the John and Peggy Maximus Gallery the following week.
Guests can view a skeleton of the largest animal to ever exist on earth from the museum parking lot.
Chad, a 74-foot-long blue whale skeleton, weighs nearly 7,700 pounds and is made of 98% real bones.
He is a composite piece made of four blue whale specimens. Chad’s skull, mandibles and one of the ear bones are taken from two different blue whales that became stranded in Ventura in September 2007.
His last five tail vertebrae are replicas cast from the tail bones of a blue whale at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
Most of Chad’s skeleton is from a blue whale that became stranded on south Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1980.