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Reopening commences at the Smithsonian, with the zoo and Udvar-Hazy welcoming visitors starting Friday

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo produced this video explaining new entry and safety requirements ahead of its reopening to the public on July 24. (Video: Smithsonian's National Zoo)
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Nineteen weeks after shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Smithsonian Institution is ready to reopen two of its venues.

On Friday, the Smithsonian will welcome visitors to the National Zoo in Washington and the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., marking the first time the public can visit the world’s largest museum complex since it closed March 14.

Other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily shuttered, with opening dates not yet announced.

“As a public entity, we thrive on serving our visitors and making our collections readily available to them, virtually and in person,” Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III said in a statement Monday. “However, the safety and well-being of our staff, visitors and volunteers come first and are paramount, so we are taking a deliberate, phased and cautious approach to reopening. Our goal is to be safe and measured in order to adjust and pivot as necessary.”

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Beginning today, the Smithsonian will release 5,000 daily passes for the National Zoo and 1,500 for Udvar-Hazy. Visitors can reserve as many as six passes up to 30 days in advance by visiting si.edu/tickets or by calling 800-514-3849. Limited walk-up passes may be available after 1 p.m.

The National Zoo will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and the Udvar-Hazy Center will be open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Some exhibits, demonstrations and indoor spaces may be closed or have limited capacity. Tours will not be allowed.