TAMPA — Aligned with the state’s phased approach and all public health directives, the Florida Aquarium recently announced that it will reopen to the public Friday, May 15.

The aquarium will operate with strict limits on attendance and programming and is implementing new procedures and enhanced health and safety measures to safeguard guests, staff, and animals.

“After nearly eight weeks of being closed to the public, we are excited to reopen our doors to fulfill our mission as well as support Tampa Bay’s healing process now that our state and region has begun the reopening process,” said Roger Germann, president and CEO of the Florida Aquarium. “The health, safety, and wellbeing of every guest is our utmost priority. We are taking a phased, controlled approach to reopening and have customized the guest experience to continue to deliver a world-class experience while ensuring we operate safely, responsibly and sustainably.”

Along with attendance limits that support physical distancing, other health and safety initiatives include online ticket sales only, touchless transactions, staff required to wear masks in public spaces, and enhanced cleaning methods. Several interactive experiences, such as outdoor play area and animal touch exhibits, will remain temporarily closed. A complete list of all health and safety measures can be found at www.flaquarium.org.

“We have been preparing for our reopening for several weeks. From conducting a deep clean of all exhibits to removing unnecessary touchpoints to requiring online ticket sales, The Florida Aquarium is well prepared to provide a safe, clean and fun experience for our guests,” said Andy Wood, Florida Aquarium chief operating officer. “We will continue to coordinate with local, state and federal agencies and public health officials and are prepared to make any and all adjustments necessary now and after we open, to maintain the highest standards of health and safety for all.”

The aquarium already began taking online reservations for the May 15 reopening. Online tickets are now required for all guests and anyone arriving at the aquarium without an online reservation will not be admitted. Admission will be timed, which will limit the number of guests in the aquarium at one time and provide for increased physical distancing.

“Humans and the natural world are more disconnected than ever, especially during the ‘safer-at-home’ timeframe, and studies show that the human-animal-nature bond plays a role supporting public health,” Germann said. “A visit to the Florida Aquarium is good for mental and emotional wellbeing and we are ready to welcome our guests back to provide these positive health benefits.”

Online tickets must be reserved before visiting and information can be found on the aquarium's website at www.flaquarium.org.

The Florida Aquarium participates in and promotes stewardship of the natural environment as part of its mission of conservation. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, it provides an opportunity to see over 9,000 aquatic and terrestrial animals, explore complex ecosystems, look for wild dolphins in Tampa Bay aboard the Bay Spirit II, play at the Splash Pad and more.

Ranked the No. 2 aquarium in North America in a recent USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, the aquarium is more than an attraction: it is working to protect and restore the planet on many conservation fronts, including research and rescue efforts that are saving Florida’s sea turtle and coral populations and to ensure that sharks continue to swim our seas. In August 2019, the Florida Aquarium, in partnership with Project Coral, became the first to successfully reproduce critically endangered Atlantic pillar coral in a laboratory and in 2020, became the first to successfully reproduce Atlantic rigid cactus coral.

To learn more, follow us on social media at @floridaaquarium and visit www.flaquarium.org.