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Reopening FAQs

Reopening FAQs

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.

The new SCI experience designed to limit crowds and reduce the spread of germs. 

When are you open?

SCI is currently open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-4:00 pm.

Are advance tickets required? 

All visitors (including SCI members) should reserve tickets in advance at www.sciowa.org/gettickets. Members are FREE but still need to reserve tickets in advance. 

I am an SCI member. Why do I need to reserve my admission?

By requiring everyone to reserve admission, we will be able to ensure space for distancing and time for enhanced sanitation. 

Do my young children need a reservation?

Yes, in order to have an accurate count of who is in the building, admission must be reserved for ALL visitors. 

Do I need to print my timed-tickets, or can you scan them from my phone? 

We will accept proof of purchase either printed or on a mobile device. 

Why do I have to leave at the end of my timed-ticketing timeslot? 

At the end of each timeslot, all visitors will be asked to exit, and SCI staff will clean the facility before the next group is allowed to enter.  

What if I made purchased/reserved tickets and discover I'm unable to attend at the date/time I selected?

Call the 515-274-6868 ext. 222 to reschedule your time or to let us know you will not be attending so we can provide space for other visitors. If no one is available to take your call, please leave a voice message, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Are face masks required?

Face masks have been shown to reduce the spread of aerosol droplets from individuals who may be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Face coverings are required for all visitors ages 5 and up as well as SCI staff. If you don’t have a face mask, one will be provided.

What other safety precautions are you taking? 

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. Enhanced cleaning procedures will be implemented, and additional hand sanitizer stations will be added throughout the building   

What will I be able to see?

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 BrickMarvel 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? - Travel through the cosmos, get up close with spacecraft and discover how we use satellites and probes to explore our solar system.
  • 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

Live programs and/or planetarium shows will be scheduled each day. View the schedule at www.sciowa.org/calendar

Will the gift shop be open?

The A-ha! Store will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am-4:00 pm.

Will the café be open?  

The Food Chain Café will remain closed for the time being. There also will be no access to water fountains. 

Can I bring food and beverages with me?

No food or beverages are allowed at this time.

Will restrooms be available? 

Restrooms will be available.

Should I attend SCI if I or a member of my party does not feel well? 

No, for the safety and well-being of our members, visitors, volunteers and staff, we ask that you stay home if you or a member of your party are not feeling well or have been exposed to COVID-19.  

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. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be permitted entrance. 

I am a Bank of America card holder. How do I get free admission? 

Each Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or US Trust cardholder is allowed one free general admission on the first Saturday or Sunday of the month.  Admission is non-transferable and for the cardholder only. Photo ID is required along with the card. Tickets for others in the party will need to be purchased through the website. 

Why did SCI wait so long to open? 

As a hands-on science center, “getting back to normal” looks a little different for us than it does for other attractions in the community. Safety is one of our core values — and it's more important for us to open safely than to open quickly.  

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). SCI has created this plan in order to provide a safe environment for our community and to empower visitors, members, volunteers and staff to control their own safety.  

When will you be fully open again? 

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.”

How do I make sure I get the latest information about SCI’s reopening?  

Subscribe to the SCI newsletter for email updates, follow SCI on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter or check out our "Go Beyond with SCI" resources at www.sciowa.org/athome

What are some ways I can 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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