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Guest Health Safety

As always, the health and safety of our guests, members, staff and volunteers is our highest concern. Our hearts are with the families that have been impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

We are actively updating this page as we have further details.


MARCH 20, 2020

As a science, nature and community-focused institution, Fernbank continues to follow the recommendations of the CDC and local health authorities to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. Therefore, we will remain closed to the public indefinitely. Because this is an unprecedented situation with many unknown factors, we’ve developed some questions and answers that you may be seeking. We will update these as more information is available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Fernbank open, if not when will it reopen? 
Fernbank is temporarily closed in an effort to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. Although we do not have an opening date set at this time, Fernbank continues to follow the guidance of the CDC and local health officials. We will re-open when we can do so safely.  

How can I continue to experience Fernbank’s programming while practicing social distancing? 
It’s important we continue to serve the community while the physical museum is closed. We’re working to provide remote experiences via our social media channels through new content, including fun facts, science articles, videos and more. 

Will my membership be impacted or extended? 
Members will not lose any active time on their memberships due to the COVID-19 closure. We will credit time back via a membership extension when we are able to re-open. Because the health crisis remains fluid, exact timing and amount of time to be credited is not yet determined.

We need our members now more than ever. Your renewals, upgrades and donations are critical at this time. We are available at Membership@FernbankMuseum.org if you have other needs.

How will this closure impact funding for Fernbank?
Fernbank is inspired by the community of guests, members and donors who treasure their visits, discoveries and experiences with us. Ticket sales are a large part of our funding, making donations and memberships are critical than ever. Your support will help alleviate the financial impact of having our doors closed to the public. Please support Fernbank today so we can continue to serve you and others when we reopen.

Will you be able to open WildWoods and/or Fernbank Forest?
At this time, all areas of our campus remain closed. If we are able to make any operational changes, we will share that news here.

Where can I check for updates on Fernbank’s operations? 
Guests are encouraged to regularly check this page as well as social media and our e-newsletter.   

What should I do if I have purchased a ticket or scheduled a trip while Fernbank is closed? 
If you have purchased a ticket or scheduled a trip during Fernbank’s closure, you can contact the box office Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm at 404.929.6400 for rescheduling. 

Given that Fernbank has live animals, will their care be impacted? 
Although Fernbank is closed to the public, Fernbank’s animal team has access to the museum to care for the live animal collection. See some of our animal ambassadors up close and personal in our Live Animal Encounter features on our Museum at Home page.


PREVIOUS POSTS (​MARCH 14, 2020: FERNBANK ANNOUNCES CLOSURE TO FLATTEN THE CURVE)

Fernbank is proud to be Atlanta’s Science and Nature Experience. At this time, science is steering our difficult decision to close to the public effective Sunday, March 15 in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Fernbank is open until 5pm on March 14 but the 5pm movie has been cancelled.

We will make an announcement no later than March 21 about whether we can reopen at that time or whether our closure will be extended in the interest of our shared community. We will continue to follow the science-based guidance of the CDC and local health authorities to determine an official re-opening date.
 
Please know that our decision is being made in the interest of the health, wellness and respect of our members, guests, staff, volunteers and community.
 
With many students home due to school closures, we are exploring other ways to continue providing important learning experiences via our social channels during this time. We will provide updates as they become available. 
 
Stay tuned to our e-newsletter, website and social media for updates. We look forward to seeing you again soon at Fernbank!

If you’d like to support experiences rooted in science, nature and human culture during this unprecedented closure, consider a donation to our Annual Fund


PREVIOUS POSTS (MARCH 13 and MARCH 10, 2020):  

Please know that we are closely monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 and following the guidance of the CDC and local health officials. By taking additional measures, we are remaining open for the time being to provide opportunities for learning through 165,000 square feet of exhibits and movie spaces, as well as 75 acres of outdoor nature immersion—important opportunities during this time.

Although we are currently remaining open, we are making several operational modifications for the immediate future:

  • We continue to impose preventative measures, including:
  • Asking all staff to utilize prevention measures outlined by the CDC (see resources below).
  • Requiring staff or volunteers to stay home if sick and directing them to seek medical advice and/or treatment before returning to work.
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning, especially in high-contact areas and hands-on components.
  • Posting hand-washing guidelines in public areas, throughout staff facilities.
  • Making hand sanitizer available in more areas.
  • Providing masks to staff who have recently recovered from an illness that results in coughing or runny nose.

Additional measures include:

  • We are reducing capacity in the Giant Screen Theater by two-thirds (new max capacity will be 100) to allow for more social distancing in the theater and changing from showing movies in 3D to 2D to alleviate the close proximity between guests and staff caused by the distribution of 3D glasses.
  • We are suspending hands-on, drop-in programming across our campus, including but not limited to, animal encounters, experiments, storytelling, imagination station, science carts, etc.
  • We are monitoring flow and activity in exhibits and are equipped to limit capacity or suspend access if needed.
  • We are monitoring overall daily attendance and are positioned to reduce ticket availability as needed.
  • We are reducing capacity, cancelling or rescheduling some events*:
    • Fernbank After Dark: Senses
      • March 13
      • The event's capacity wash reduced by half. Hands-on activities were suspended and we added access to WildWoods to allow outdoor, fresh-air experiences for increased social spacing.
    • Conquistador’s Wake Lecture
      • RESCHEDULED
      • Originally scheduled for March 22
      • Rescheduled Date TBA
    • Little Critters Day
      • CANCELLED
      • Originally scheduled for March 28
      • If we are able to reschedule later this year, we will provide an update.

*More announcements could be made for events taking place at later dates.

Because this is a fluid and rapidly changing situation, we will update you as we have more information. Please watch for future updates via our e-newsletter, website and social media, and continue to follow news and guidelines from the CDC.

Resources:

What you need to know about COVID-19 (cdc.gov)

How to protect yourself (who.int)

Handwashing (cdc.gov)