Updated: June 27, 2020 07:53 PM
Created: June 27, 2020 06:05 PM
ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – One of the area’s largest family attractions is now back open, but with some notable changes.
On Saturday, the Strong National Museum of Play opened its doors to its members for the first time since shutting down due to the coronavirus.
As part of Phase Four reopening, museums are allowed to operate at a maximum of 25% capacity.
"We figured it was time to get back in," said Kristine Russell, who was there with her daughter and another family.
Museum organizers told us other families had the same thought, as the time away could not keep them from turning out. In fact, the capacity cap was reached in all three of the museum's three separate play sessions.
Pre-pandemic, the museum normally saw roughly 3,000 to 4,000 people daily, but with the restrictions in place they won’t let in more than 600.
Even with the capacity cut down, Kyra Ziobrowski and her son Joseph jumped at the chance to check out the place.
"I literally cried when we walked in because he was like shaking on his way in, he was so excited to be here," Ziobrowski said.
As parents and kids enjoyed some of the familiar fun, they are also had to deal with some differences. Notably, everyone over the age of two needs a mask. Some attractions, like the sandbox and the Wegmans Kids Market, are modified for safety. Plus, in addition to constant routine cleaning, staff have to deep clean the entire place in between play sessions.
"[Joseph’s] touched every single thing he could possibly touch, and there's employees that are walking behind us making sure it's clean, which is absolutely awesome," Ziobrowski said.
It’s part of a safety plan organizers worked on well before the doors opened up.
"This building is meant to have people in it, it's meant to have that hustle and bustle,” said Vice President of Marketing Sara Poe “It's wonderful to see our guests enjoy themselves again in the museum."
Just how long the museum will have to operate this way is still in the balance, but parents say these restrictions are not restricting the fun.
"Even just taking the extra precautions, I’d rather have it open than not so [my daughter] can come with her friends and play,” Russell said. “And I think it'll be a good start."
Poe says the museum plans to be open to the general public around July 11, but in the meantime, members are asked to make reservations on The Strong’s website.
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