Moody Gardens will reopen some of its attractions Saturday, just a day after state restrictions on attractions such as aquariums and zoos will end on Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders.

It’s the first of Galveston Island’s large tourist attractions to reopen after more than two months of closure.

The city shut down large tourist venues March 17 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In an address Monday, Abbott allowed zoos, aquariums and natural caves to reopen Friday, in time for Memorial Day weekend.

But other large tourist attractions, including water parks, are to remain closed, Abbott said. The state task force was still assessing how to allow those businesses to open safely, he said.

Moody Garden’s Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Dinos Alive exhibit and theaters are open at 25 percent capacity, spokeswoman Jerri Hamachek said.

Some parts of the Moody Gardens complex will remain closed, however.

The attraction will not reopen its Palm Beach water park because Abbott hasn’t OK’d those attractions for reopening, Hamachek said.

Moody Gardens is also not reopening Discovery Museum or a ropes course and zip line, Hamachek said.

“We’ve deemed them as high-touch areas, and we feel like at this point, we shouldn’t be opening those,” Hamachek said.

Moody Gardens is limiting the number of indoor guests, in keeping with state orders, Hamachek said.

“We think we’re actually on the conservative side of the capacity,” Hamachek said.

In addition, Moody Gardens is taking employee temperatures every day and has implemented new hygiene and cleaning training, she said.

People have been asking when the attraction would reopen, especially after beaches reopened May 1, Hamachek said.

“We are delighted to welcome our guests back as we open our doors again,” CEO John Zendt said in a statement. “We are also very grateful for all of the sacrifices that everyone has made by staying home, social distancing and other practices to help in this COVID-19 recovery now and moving forward.”

Visitors are being encourage to purchase tickets online to minimize contact with other people.

Moody Gardens is also opening its hotel Friday. The golf course reopened May 4.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(2) comments

Theresa Elliott

So happy to see our friends at Moody Gardens opening back up! I do think all attractors should be allowed to open because restricting options available actually to the already pent up demand actually compresses crowds. The more options people have, the less crowded they will be. And those who want to continue to shelter or who are vulnerable should and likely will stay home. Restricting businesses at this point is making less sense by the minute.

Ted Gillis

So long as they make provisions to protect their employees, I’m all for it.

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