New Operating Protocols

The health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors has always been our top priority. We have developed a plan that is guided by recommendations from public health officials and from the best practices of museums and science centers throughout the country. We will be welcoming back guests at a slow, methodical pace and will monitor operations in real time, making adjustments along the way. 

We know this is a lot to read, but we hope you will take the time to familiarize yourself with these new procedures.

Science Center Operating Hours

The Science Center will be open Wednesday - Saturday, 9:30 am - 5 pm and Sunday 11:30 am - 5:00 pm.

Science Center Admission

Tickets can be purchased in person at the Science Center. We have worked to make entry as “touch free” or “low touch” as possible.

Members are encouraged to download and present their digital membership card to encourage “low touch” check-in.

To moderate the flow of guests, Science Center staff will actively monitor the guest levels in exhibit spaces. Please be patient, we may ask that you check out another area of the Science Center while we wait for space to be available.

If you or anyone in your party is feeling ill on the day of your visit or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 please reschedule your visit until everyone in your party is feeling well and symptom free.

Personal Protection

All guests age 5 and older are required to wear a mask while at the Science Center (recommended for guests ages 3 – 4), and we ask that guests bring their own masks when possible. We will have a supply available at the admissions desk for those who may need one. Check out this video that covers how to properly wear a face covering.

If a guest has a medical reason they cannot wear a mask, please call 434.791.5160 to discuss accommodations.

Gloves are not required to be worn inside the Science Center. Staff will wear gloves when cleaning (see cleaning procedures) or if needed for specific interactions.

We have installed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the Science Center and ask guests to use these stations often throughout their visit.

Guests are asked to follow social distancing, keeping six feet from other guests. Guests will see several floor decals which will indicate 6-foot spacing throughout the Science Center.

Arriving at the Science Center

Guests should use the main doors of Science Central or Science Station for entry.

A Guest Services staff member will be available to check in guests and review new procedures to ensure you have a smooth, safe and fun visit.

You will notice new plexiglass windshields at the Guest Services desk in Science Central, and we will be using the ticketing window in Science Station for extra safety. Just another way we’ve worked to make the check-in process as “low touch” as possible.

While at the Science Center

Guests can enjoy exhibits currently open: Water, GO!, Crescent Crossing, and the touring exhibition gallery. The Dome is also open on a reduced schedule and we are offering workshops in the J.T. - Minnie Maude Charitable Trust Creativity Lab. Click here for our daily schedule.

When visiting Crescent Crossing, we ask that guests:

    • Sanitize hands before entry.
    • Not bring in food or drink into the exhibit.
    • Observe space capacity of no more than three families or 15 people in the space at a time.
    • Place used toys in the Yuck Bucket so they can get a wash before coming back out to play.
    • Maintain a distance of at least six feet between other guests.
    • Be mindful that others may be waiting to visit the space and sharing is caring!
Click here to see what’s playing in The Dome. Please note that we’ve added some new safety procedures in The Dome.
    • Guests should wear their masks while in The Dome.
    • You may notice some friendly guests around. Inflatable aliens have been seated throughout so they can enjoy the show with you and encourage social distancing. Please do not relocate the aliens; they like their seats just fine.
    • No food or drink is allowed in The Dome.
    • To help maintain physical distance, every other row will remain closed.
    • We ask that guests leave at least two empty seats between parties.
    • Dome hard surfaces (hand rails and armrests) will be cleaned in between each show. Dome seating will be cleaned daily using an electrostatic sprayer.
Only one party at a time should ride in the elevators. Respect space bubbles.

Whenever possible, only one family at a time should be in the restrooms.

Public water fountains are also temporarily unavailable.

Staff will be monitoring the number of guests in each area of the Science Center and may request that guests act like peanut butter and jelly and spread out if needed.

Cleaning Procedures

Thorough cleaning and sanitizing has always been a critical part of our daily operations; however, we have implemented enhanced cleaning measures and policies for our reopening. Our cleaning procedures are based on the Centers for Disease Control guidelines using Environmental Protection Agency registered disinfectants.

Science Center staff will follow an enhanced cleaning schedule during normal operating hours to sanitize and clean the restrooms, all public spaces, common areas and exhibit galleries. This includes the frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons and hand rails.

Our staff disinfects all hands-on items located in our galleries throughout the day as well as at the close of each day.

Deep cleaning takes place each night when the Science Center is closed. The floors are mopped and vacuumed, restrooms are cleaned and all surfaces are sanitized. An electrostatic sprayer is used on upholstery and solid surfaces.

We have installed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the Science Center.

Fabric curtains and fabric interactives have been removed from our galleries.

Indoor Air Quality Measures

The following air quality measures have been instituted based on current directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
    • The Science Center is changing all 20 percent pleated air filters currently used in our air-handling system to MERV-13 air filters to capture more contaminants. These more advanced filters address pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, bacteria, pet dander, oil smoke, smoke, smoke and virus carriers.
    • Humidity is being maintained in the building 40 and 60 percent to better control airborne contaminates.
    • The Science Center has commenced a purge cycle on all air handling units to pull in 100 percent outdoor air twice a day to reduce VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the envelope. This is done once in the morning at start-up and again in the afternoon. The purge cycles are designed to run anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on environmental factors.
Staff Procedures

Staff have gone through training sessions to understand and implement the Science Center’s modified procedures and sanitation practices.

Staff in the building will wear masks at all times, as well as gloves when cleaning and for specific interactions.

Work stations will be spaced to allow for social distancing.

Staff will be wearing the regular Museum uniform. There may be some questionable quarantine haircuts. Be kind.