Butterfly House & Aquarium preparing for phased reopening

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A popular attraction in Sioux Falls that’s been closed since mid-March will float back open on Monday. The Butterfly House and Aquarium will begin a phased reopening starting June 1.

It’s been a long time since the Butterfly House and Aquarium has had any visitors.

Matt Holsen: What’s it been like for you since you’ve been closed?
Audrey Otto-Willard: We have been closed since March 13th and it has been very strange having a facility like ours with no people except our animal care staff.

CEO Audrey Otto-Willard says members will be allowed in starting June 1 using timed ticketing. Families will need to sign up for a time online. Groups will be allowed in every ten minutes and they’ll have 90 minutes to see all the butterflies and fish. Ticketing for the general public will begin on June 6.

“We’re doing that just to slowly get a feel for how things are going to go to make sure that we have enough staffing to keep things clean and our guests feel safe and comfortable,” Otto-Willard said.

Staff will be wearing masks and visitors are encouraged to do so as well. Otto-Willard says there will be sanitizer at the entrances to every space. She also says the touch pools will be closed for now to keep our aquatic friends safe.

“Just a little bit of chemical is enough to make them sick or potentially kill them. We’ll be able to see them we just won’t be able to touch them for a while,” Otto-Willard said.

It’s all in an effort to get people back to enjoying this space as it approaches its busy season.

“This is uncomfortable for everyone. It’s strange. It’s stressful. So how can we provide this experience again for the community but also do it in a way that hopefully we can provide that relaxing experience that we’re all about,” Otto-Willard said.

Otto-Willard says not selling tickets or merchandise since March has impacted the facility. A cooling project for the conservatory is being delayed and so is a campaign for donations for the ongoing expansion of the Butterfly House and Aquarium. If you’d like to help support the attraction, click here.

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