When Disneyland called off its reopening plan in late June, it pinned the decision on the lack of reopening guidelines from the state of California.
Six weeks later, no such guidelines have been released as the state dealt with a surge in COVID-19 cases that is only just beginning to slow down. But that hasn’t stopped some California theme parks from welcoming back guests in a more limited fashion.
SeaWorld San Diego is the latest to open in a modified form. The park has received clearance from San Diego County to reopen its outdoor zoo exhibits.
“SeaWorld can open under state guidance for zoos,” San Diego County spokesperson Tegan Glasheen said in a statement to multiple media outlets. “Under that guidance, it can open outdoor areas, but needs to keep indoor aquariums and rides closed.”
The SeaWorld plan may be similar to how Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Northern California reopened its own animal exhibits while keeping theme park rides closed in July — essentially harkening back to its zoo roots as Marine World.
It’s not just animal parks that have found a way to partially reopen. Earlier this month, Legoland California, reopened its Miniland USA section, the outdoor walk-through of Lego displays found in many Legoland parks. But there’s a catch: entry is limited to guests at the Legoland Hotel, annual passholders or customers who spend at least $25 at The Big Shop, which earns entry for four people.
“Working through the quarantine, we’ve grown restless,” Crosby Johnson, a Legoland hotel guest, told NBC Los Angeles. “And this seemed like a good, quick getaway.”
Knott’s Berry Farm has focused on dining as a way to lure back guests without rides. The success of its Taste of Calico food festival led to the event being quickly extended. Starting Aug. 21, more of the park will reopen for the bigger Taste of Knott’s, though with attractions remaining shuttered.
This, too, comes at an extra price. Entry to the Taste of Knott’s requires buying a “tasting card” in advance, cost $30 for adults or $15 for kids.
Not every park has taken this path to a partial reopening. Disneyland’s two parks remain closed, though the Downtown Disney shopping and district has reopened. Ditto for Universal Studios Hollywood and its adjacent CityWalk.
Six Flags Magic Mountain is also closed, while in the Bay Area, California’s Great America is one of several seasonal Cedar Fair properties that will not reopen until next year at the earliest.
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