New York Aquarium to reopen with COVID restrictions on Aug. 27

Julie Larsen Maher_1104_Coral Tunnel_OWS_AQ_06 18 18_hr
The Coral Tunnel at the New York Aquarium.
Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

Coney Island’s New York Aquarium will reopen for the public on Aug. 27, welcoming guests back to the Surf Avenue marine life emporium after five months of closure due to the pandemic.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome guests back to the aquarium,” said New York Aquarium director Jon Forrest Dohlin in a statement Tuesday.

The aquarium, which closed in March 16 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, is back with a new exhibit called “Spineless” focusing on the weird creatures of the sea without backbones, such as octopus, squids, and jellyfish, according to Dohlin. Visitors will also get to meet the adorable new seal and sea lion pups that were born at the southern Brooklyn tank during the closure!

Aww: Harbor seal pup Murphy, who was born at the aquarium on July 28.Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

The marine haven’s relaunch comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 14 announced museums and other cultural institutions could reopen starting Aug. 24. The aquarium will open its doors exclusively to members from Aug. 24-26, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the water park along with the Prospect Park Zoo, which will also reopen its indoor exhibits that week.

As with many reopenings, visitors will have to adhere to strict health and safety guidelines, including wearing a mask or face covering for anybody age three or older and socially distancing throughout the park.

The organization will only sell tickets for a specific date and time — no walk-up admission — to limit the amount of guests at one time. The traditional free admittance on Wednesday afternoons will continue from Sept. 2 onward, but those timed tickets will also need to be ordered online in advance.

“Spineless” a new exhibit will highlight animals without backbones that inhabit the ocean, such as this Giant Pacific Octopus.Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

Staff will increase cleaning protocols, especially in high-touch areas, and the organization has moved all day camps and education programs online, according to aquarium officials.

Director Dohlin praised his staff for maintaining the park at the People’s Playground during the long closure, saying they were to thank for bringing it back.

“As we reopen, I want to offer special thanks to our essential staff who have been working every day since the closure in March to provide world-class care for our animals while keeping park operations running smoothly,” he said. “They are a credit to our organization and are looking forward to once again receiving visitors at the aquarium.”

New York Aquarium [602 Surf Ave., at W. Fifth Street in Coney Island, www.nyaquarium.com, (718)265—3474]. Aug. 27–Sept. 7, 10 am-5 pm daily. Sept. 8-Oct. 31 10 am-4 pm weekdays, 10 am–4:30 pm weekends and holidays. Children (ages 3-12) $22.95, adult (13 and over) $26.95, and seniors (65 and older) $24.95.