Our Reopening Plan: Rooted in Science

Welcoming Back the Community: A Plan Rooted in Science

As a hands-on science center, we know that “getting back to normal” looks a little different for us than it does for other attractions in the community. That’s why our reopening plan is rooted in science, allowing audiences to begin reengaging with SCI while keeping the health and safety of our members, visitors, volunteers and staff top-of-mind.

Our plan is rooted in science. It is based on guidance from public health officials, and it follows best practices shared by our peers at the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)

Reserve Advance Tickets

Note: Please be sure to review the information below regarding timed ticketing, required face coverings and restricted access to “high-touch” exhibits.

What to expect when you visit

The new SCI experience is modified to limit crowds and reduce the spread of germs. Precautions include timed ticketing, health screenings upon entry and restricted access to “high-touch” exhibits. SCI will be open on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and select dates. Advance tickets will be sold in two timeslots to ensure space for distancing and time for enhanced sanitation. 

Hours & Ticketing: 

  • We recommend ALL visitors purchase tickets in advance on the SCI website
    • Members are FREE but should still reserve tickets in advance, if possible
  • Ticketing Timeslots: A limited number of tickets will be sold per timeslot. Visitors will be checked in at the start of the timeslot and will be asked to exit at the end of the three hours. SCI staff will then clean the facility before the next group is allowed to enter. 
    • 9:00 am-11:00 pm 
    • 1:00-4:00 pm 
  • Ticket sales are live now at www.sciowa.org/gettickets (Please note: We have a new online ticketing system. SCI Members, please Register or Sign In using the links under the header image before selecting tickets to receive your free admission, which will be reflected at checkout. View step-by-step instructions.)

  • View 2020 Holiday Open Dates

Masks (Required): 

Face masks have been shown to reduce the spread of aerosol droplets from individuals who may be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Pursuant to the mayor’s proclamation on August 26, 2020, face coverings are required for ages two years and older as well as SCI staff. If you don't have a face mask, one will be provided. Any valid exemption in the mayor’s proclamation (view here) will be a valid exemption while visiting SCI.

Health Screenings: 

Before entering the building, all visitors will be asked to show their tickets (printed or on a mobile device), have their temperature checked and answer a few health-related questions.

Exhibit Access: 

To reduce the spread of germs, access to some exhibits has been restricted due to the "high-touch" nature of those experiences. Open exhibit experiences currently include:

  • Traveling exhibit: SUE: The T. rex Experience– Step into the world of SUE the T. rex to uncover the mysteries about the life of this fearsome fossil. 
  • Brick by Brick– Marvel at some of the world's most iconic buildings and structures constructed entirely from LEGO® bricks and discover the engineering principles that make them possible.
  • What On Earth? – Come face-to-face with cold-blooded critters, explore Iowa’s native habitats and try your hand at forecasting weather in front of the WHO-HD Weather Studio green screen. (Note: WHO will not be broadcasting from SCI for the time being.) 
  • Why the Sky? Explore the planets of our solar sytem, discover how study the universe and see a flight suit worn by Iowa-born astronaut Peggy Whitson.Please note: Exhibit is being renovated and some components may be removed.
  • Star Theater planetarium – Immerse yourself in the night sky under the 50-foot, 360-degree domed screen. Planetarium programs will be offered during each ticketing timeslot.
  • Mini exhibits Nano and Sun Earth Universe
  • Small Discoveries and When Things Get Moving remain closed at this time

Daily Programs: 

Live programs and/or planetarium shows will be scheduled each day. Check the program schedule on the day of your visit! 

Gift Store and Café

The A-ha! Store will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am-4:00 pm. The Food Chain Café will remain closed for the time being. There also will be no access to water fountains, but bottles of water and soda will be sold in the A-ha! Store.

Still have questions?

Check out these resource pages or contact us at 515-274-6868 ext. 222 or email info@sciowa.org

General FAQsMembership FAQs

Our Next Steps: 

As we learn more about the virus and how it’s impacting our community, as well as how our audiences interact with our exhibits and programs under these new circumstances, the SCI experience will change and evolve. We’re taking it one step at a time - and we thank you for your patience and understanding as we adjust to this “new normal.”

Ways to Support SCI 

At SCI, our goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and inventors... the ones who will solve the world's next big problems.  

To do this, we depend on admissions, program fees, memberships and contributions. Being closed has had a major financial impact, but we have remained committed to adapting and innovating to continue fulfilling our mission. 

If you are able, we would greatly appreciate your support through a donation or the purchase of an SCI membership. Thank you for your commitment to science and unwavering support of SCI! 

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