balboa park

Landmark Balboa Park Museums Reopen

Several museums are reopening the 4th of July holiday weekend

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“We’re definitely slightly concerned.”

That was the prevailing mood at Balboa Park Friday as the Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Natural History Museum reopened their doors to guests for the first time in three months.

“We are just crossing our fingers and hoping that we’re able to stay open,” said Karla Nafarrate, the director of communications at the Fleet Science Center.

The moves at the famous attractions come as 19 counties in the State of California are taking steps backward due to a spike in positive coronavirus tests. San Diego remains the lone county in Southern California that has not closed beaches or indoor establishments like museums -- for now. Locals fear Balboa Park and San Diego shores will attract too many locals and out-of-towners, increasing San Diego’s coronavirus numbers and forcing San Diego public health or state officials to increase the restrictions in San Diego.

Nafarrate said the museum underwent a sanitation makeover. Every room in the exhibit is cleaned every hour, hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout the museum, and everyone entering the Fleet must wear a mask, she said.

“I’m hopeful we’ll get through it,” said a visitor from Lake Havasu, Arizona. “I wasn’t looking forward to coming down here and everything being closed up.”

The Petty family from La Mesa brought their scooters to Balboa Park Friday but didn’t go into any of the museums.

“I’m surprised that San Diego has stayed open, to be honest with you,” Derek Petty said.

Several more museums will reopen Saturday, including the Museum of Photographic Arts and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.  As long as there are no steps backward, most of Balboa Park’s museums should be open by the end of July.

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