Update June 19th (10:30 a.m.):

To Visitors and Friends of Great Explorations—

Thank you for your patience and support as our team works thoughtfully on a plan to welcome you back to the museum as safely as possible. After a long wait and much preparation, we are thrilled to announce our phased reopening plan!

Phased Reopening Timeline:

June 29 – The museum will reopen for members only Monday-Friday from 4:45-6:30 pm. Private rental sessions will be available for small groups on Saturdays and Sundays in 2-hour increments.
July 6 – The museum will reopen to the public Monday-Friday from 4:45-6:30 pm. Private rental sessions will remain available for small groups on Saturdays and Sundays in 2-hour increments. If private rental sessions aren’t reserved, timed play sessions will be made available for reservation. Check our reservation system for availability the Friday before.

Please note our updated hours. Per the Pinellas County License Board, play spaces cannot be shared while Preschool and Summer Camp is in session. For this reason, and for the safety of our guests, students, campers, and team members, we have temporarily adjusted our gallery hours to follow these guidelines.

We’re ready when you’re ready. With your health and safety at the top of mind, we have implemented new policies and procedures to ensure a safe visit to Great Explorations. Click here to read our latest Action Plan and learn what measures we’re taking to keep you safe.

What to Expect:

  • Ticket reservations are strongly encouraged for members and non-members due to limited capacity. Please click here to make a reservation.
  • The museum will not be accepting cash payments. Please bring a debit/credit card to complete your ticket or gift shop purchases.
  • Adults and children will undergo a health screening upon arrival, including a questionnaire and touch-free temperature screening. After your time is reserved, you will receive an Activity Waiver and Family Health Screening Form to complete before arrival for quicker entry.
  • Guests are required to sanitize their hands, and their child’s hands, before entry. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available throughout the museum.
  • Masks will be required for adults while Pinellas County ordinance is in effect; strongly recommended once the mandate is lifted based on recommendations from the CDC. All Great Explorations team members will be wearing face masks.
  • Everyone is expected to follow social distancing recommendations.
  • All exhibits remain open; however, we have made some modifications to limit the number of touchable components for your safety. You’ll also see exciting new exhibits!
  • If you or your child are feeling sick, please reschedule your visit. The museum reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms or with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Thank you for your kindness and support as we navigate this unique situation together. We look forward to playing, creating, and exploring together safely in the museum again soon. To learn more about our new policies and procedures, and plan your next visit to the museum, visit GreatEx.org/tickets-and-hours.

Healthy regards,
Angeline Howell, CEO




Update May 15th (10:30 a.m.):

To Visitors and Friends of Great Explorations—

Thank you for your patience and support during this unique time. We miss seeing you and your families playing and learning together at Great Explorations Children’s Museum, and we look forward to reuniting again soon! As we look to the future, we want to share a few updates with you.

As always, the health and safety of your families, our team, and our community is our highest priority. Great Explorations is adjusting to this new normal by strengthening our existing policies and procedures, and setting new ones in place, with your well-being at the top of mind. We have enhanced our current cleaning and sanitizing protocols to ensure that they align with and exceed the standards set forth by the CDC and OSHA. To learn more about our protocols, please click here. With these measures in place, and with a close eye on the rates of infection in the county, we are cautiously and thoughtfully taking steps to reopen select programs in a limited capacity.

Current Reopening Timeline:

  • May 18 – Early Explorations Preschool will open with limited capacity according to the Pinellas County Licensing Board guidelines for child care centers.
  • June 2 – Summer Camp will open with limited capacity according to the Pinellas County Licensing Board guidelines for school-age camps.
  • Coming soon – The museum will be open and available on weekends only for small private rentals in 2-hour increments. Between each rental session, we will thoroughly clean and sanitize the museum. For more information on private rentals, please contact Chel at cpersonius@greatex.org.

We will remain flexible and focused as we continue to evaluate new information and guidelines, and will be in touch with any changes. We wish you and your family good health, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

Healthy regards,
Angeline Howell, CEO




Update March 26th (4:00 p.m.):

To Visitors and Friends of Great Explorations—

In the interest of our community’s health and safety, we feel it is necessary to extend the museum’s closure to Saturday, April 18th at the earliest. We are monitoring the most up-to-date information from the CDC and the Florida Department of Health, and we will continue to communicate any announcements and adjustments to your families during this time. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this unforeseen situation together.

Although the museum remains closed, we hope to continue to be a resource for your family. Our team is sharing a wide variety of tools to support at-home learning and play on our website and social media platforms. We encourage you to visit our new webpage, Great Ex At Home, to find virtual and downloadable resources designed for children of all ages to discover at home.

We know that everyone is affected by this health and economic crisis. As a non-profit organization, contributions of any size are invaluable to our museum during this time. If you are able, we ask you to please consider donating to the museum here.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support of the museum and our programs during these unprecedented circumstances. We are immensely grateful to see our community unite during this challenging time— even while we are apart. It is inspiring for us to know that Great Explorations Children’s Museum continues to stimulate learning through creativity, play, and exploration even while your children are at home.

We wish you and your family good health, and we are excited to see you again at the museum soon.

Healthy regards,
Angeline Howell, CEO




Update March 13th (8:00 p.m.):

To Visitors and Friends of Great Explorations—

As concerns surrounding COVID-19 continue to rise, our team at Great Explorations continues to monitor guidance from local and national officials very closely. As always, the health and safety of our visitors and team members is our highest priority.

For this reason, Great Explorations Children’s Museum will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14th through Saturday, March 28th.

While we have had no presumptive or confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the museum, we feel it is in the best interest of our community to act on the side of precaution.

We know the value and importance of play at Great Explorations and want to continue to provide that resource to our community families. Stay tuned for ways to blow off some STEAM at home with Great Explorations Play-At-Home Kits!

On behalf of our entire team at Great Explorations, we sincerely thank you for your understanding and appreciate your support. Please continue to visit our website and social media for further updates. We hope to see you at Great Explorations Children’s Museum soon.

Talking to Your Kids

Parents, we know the news around the COVID-19 feels frightening for kids and adults alike. We hope you find the following resources helpful in talking about it with your kids:

Healthy regards,
Angeline Howell, CEO




Update March 13th (1:00 p.m.):

As the community works to prepare for the impact of COVID-19, I want to share how the leadership of Great Explorations Children’s Museum continues to address the situation as it unfolds. The safety of our visitors, employees, and the community at large is our primary concern.

We are closely monitoring developments and are in constant contact with the Pinellas County Health Department, the CDC, and all resources available to Great Explorations, including close contact with other children’s museums and attractions locally and nationally.

We are taking proactive measures as recommended by leading health agencies and museum industry standards to ensure that our organization stays safe throughout this situation while continuing to serve our community and customers effectively.

We plan to remain open and functioning for as long as it is safe to do so. A safe place to play contributes to a child’s sense of well-being all the time, but especially in times of crisis and uncertainty. We aim to provide that resource to families as long as it is safe to do so.

Early Explorations and Stay & Play will follow guidelines as instructed by the Florida Department of Health and the Pinellas County License Board.

In addition to our regular cleaning and disinfecting procedures, we have implemented increased cleaning throughout the day in our classrooms, gallery floor, and shared spaces. In Preschool and Stay & Play, we are also increasing the number of times we require students and teachers to wash their hands throughout the day.

All museum personnel are closely adhering to cleaning, disinfecting, and hygiene protocols as recommended by the CDC as the best way not to spread germs and to limit your risk of infection:

1. Limiting crowds

  • Effective immediately, we are capping admissions at 200 visitors at a time to limit crowds at the museum. We will count visitors in and out of our doors before letting additional visitors in. Thank you for your understanding. Please check our social media for admissions updates before coming to the museum.

2. Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

3. Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at a higher risk of getting very sick.

4. Stay home if you’re sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.

5. Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

6. Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a facemask, unless you are caring for someone who is sick and they are not able to wear a facemask.

7. Clean and disinfect

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

We are continuing to monitor the ever-changing updates as they become available, and we are prepared to make the necessary adjustments to meet the demands of the moment and the needs of our Great Ex families and community. Please look to our website, social media, and our automated phone message for the most up-to-date information about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison, Contemporary American Professor of Psychiatry

Healthy regards,
Angeline Howell, CEO

Madeline Stone

Author Madeline Stone

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