The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville will open to the public Tuesday, Sept. 22 with some new procedures, new hours and new plans in place to help ensure the safety of staff and guests. The museum will be opening outdoor spaces only, including the Nature PlaySpace, NC Tree Trail, and Fossil Pit during an initial opening period. Restrooms and the museum store will be available in the lobby, with extra precautions including limited capacity, but hands-on spaces will remain closed during this initial opening period. The museum’s new hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The facility is closed Sunday and Monday.
Additionally, new safety plans include:
- Per Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 163, proper face coverings are required of all museum staff and visitors (age 5 and up) when proper social distancing cannot be met/maintained.
- Enhanced cleaning of the facilities will take place multiple times throughout the day with a focus on restrooms and frequently touched areas.
- A directional flow through the lobby and restroom area has been established to promote social distancing.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at the museum.
- Staff will wear cloth face masks when in contact with guests.
- Play items are available to check out from the visitor services desk for use in the Nature PlaySpace. These will be returned and cleaned by museum staff after each use.
The museum’s onsite programming is temporarily postponed for the health and safety of guests. Areas within the museum that will remain closed during the initial opening period include: Discovery Forest, Investigate Labs, The Naturalist Corner and The Fossil Lab. Small permanent exhibits where social distancing is not possible also remain closed.
Visitors are encouraged to follow the “Three Ws” as outlined by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services; wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth; wait in line at least six feet away from others, and wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. The museum asks visitors experiencing symptoms of illness to postpone their visit.
Virtual programming, do-it-yourself activities and videos are available on the museum’s Facebook page at facebook.com/NCMNSWhiteville.