After a year of off and on coronavirus-related closures, the Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center will this weekend to welcome visitors back down to the end of the Manhattan Beach pier.
The phased reopening, beginning Saturday, April 3, requires guests to make reservations ahead of their visit.
Time slots are 15 minutes per group of maximum six people, said executive director Grace Adams, and up to 12 people can be in the aquarium at one time, adhering to 25% capacity rules from LA County Public Health. If a party walks in without an appointment, she added, they can choose to wait for the next available opening, if any.
Once LA County moves reopening standards to the orange tier, further loosening restrictions, Adams said, the Roundhouse would then initiate its next phase of allowing more people inside.
Visitors still won’t be able to pet the animals and specimens at the touch tanks. Admission is free, although donations are encouraged.
Last year, the aquarium reopened for a few days in July, Adams said, then brought tanks outdoors that month through the beginning of December for people to engage with the marine animals.
"It's not the same," Adams said, "as being able to experience the Roundhouse inside to view its exhibits."
The Roundhouse is open from 2 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Guests with a fever of 100.4 or higher, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or any other sign of COVID-19 infection will be asked to visit another day.
Those 2 and older must wear masks; masks will be available to guests who need one for a donation.
Hand sanitizers will be available at the entrance and exit of the aquarium, and guests must maintain six feet of distance between those from other households.
No strollers, luggage that wouldn't fit in an airplane's overhead compartments, food or drinks will be allowed in the aquarium. Support dogs may be carried and service dogs are allowed on the floor inside.
Reserve a slot to visit the Roundhouse in-person at https://roundhouseaquarium.org/health-and-safety-guidelines/.
The Roundhouse is also offering a virtual series where children and adults can exploring the ocean's connection to humans from the comfort of their homes. The four-part virtual Earth Day series also requires advanced reservations at https://roundhouseaquarium.org/earthmonth/.
Here's the lineup:
- Phenomenal Seaweed: 9:30 - 10:15 a.m., Saturday April 10. The event will explore the uses and importance of seaweed, show animals in the kelp forest and have games to play;
- Celebrating Whales and Dolphins, Fantastic Flukes and Fins: 9:30 -10:15 a.m. Saturday, April 17. Learn about the earth's largest animals and find out how to draw one;
- The Ocean in Your Bathtub, virtual "reeding" and meet the author: 5 - 5:45 p.m. Thursday, April 22. Watch a video reading of "The Ocean in Your Bathtub" by Seth Fishman and have a Q&A with the author and a Roundhouse Aquarium scientist; and
- Amazing Tidepools: 9:30 - 10:15 a.m. Saturday, April 24. Discover the survival tools of animals hiding in the tidepool rocks and participate in a "learn and move" activity.