MYSTIC —  The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center has announced plans to reopen its natural history museum on Saturdays from 9 a.m. from 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center's buildings will remain closed to the public on weekdays.

The center has been closed since March 13 due to concerns about COVID-19.

“Now and always, the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, summer campers and guests are our top priority,” said Davnet Conway Schaffer, executive director of the center, “Nature organically allows for physical distancing, and access to nature has proven vital during this very stressful time. Our staff has worked hard to reopen our indoor exhibits and in-person programming on a limited basis.”

In addition to reopening for visitors, the center is resuming in-person programming for all ages, as well as offering programs online.

Following Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines, the number of participants for each program is limited and preregistration is required. Adults must wear face masks when attending programs or dropping off and picking up children. Children will not be required to wear masks. Everyone is required to use hand sanitizer or wash hands before the beginning of each class. Programs will be held outside, except in the event of rain.

The door to the “Night in the Meadow” will remain open, with limited occupancy. In place of hands-on exhibits, the center is providing “Explorer Kits.” One kit is given to each family or group, with a scavenger hunt to enjoy both indoors and outdoors, and a couple of hands-on components to take home.

The boardwalk through the Wetland exhibit will be open for one way only, allowing for guests to visit and look for their favorite frogs and turtles before moving on to the Meadow exhibits. Visitors can also visit the Birds of Prey exhibit, which is located outdoors.

Nature center trails are currently open and, as always, free to the public. Visitors are asked to maintain physical distancing and carry masks with them when they visit.

The nature center also offers nature news and updates on DPNC’s "Animals as an Educator" broadcasts, which are shared live on the center's Facebook page Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

— Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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