By Wendi Rank
It’s been months of lockdown with Tiger King and laughable attempts to teach algebra. My brain is screaming for some culture.
It’s also screaming for a second season of Tiger King, but I have control over exactly one of those things.
I’m trying to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggestion to just stay home. Virtual tours offered by the Mutter Museum, the Museum of the American Revolution, or even the Louvre have satisfied my culture itch.
Yes, the Louvre tours are in English. And no, culture itch is not a disease.
Several Philadelphia museums, and the Philadelphia Zoo, are opening throughout July. Expect added precautions like temperature scans and shuttered “Please Touch” exhibits. Extended memberships and exchanges for unused tickets offer some benefits.
If you decide to go, here are a few tips to keep everyone safer:
Tip #1 Know Before You Go
Links to new rules and frequently asked questions are prominent on websites. Buy admission tickets online to minimize contact and guarantee your spot – entries are timed. Check Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health website for current restrictions.
Tip #2 Getting There
Taking public transportation? The SEPTA Key is contact-free, and kids under 12 ride for free. Cash payments on trains are not currently accepted. Keep everyone’s hands from their face and wear a mask. Driving? Look for contact-free payment options.
Tip #3 Tour Wisely
Wear your mask and stay six feet apart. That means waiting your turn to see everything from the tigers to the tiger diorama. Touch as little as possible and wash your hands often. Use the steps instead of the elevator, or only ride the elevator with people from your household.
And get out of my head, Joe Exotic. I don’t want to think of you at the tiger diorama!
Tip #4 Be Safer in the Bathroom
Pack bleach wipes for wiping down fixtures before and after use. Wash hands well when you’re done. Bring a trash bag to avoid using lidded trash cans.
Tip #5 Plan Meals
Packing your food is safest no matter where you’re headed. Museum cafes are closed, but the zoo has outdoor grab and go stands. You’ll be eating outside so plan accordingly and use that trash bag.
Tip #6 Forget Souvenirs
If your kids are like mine, the gift shop is always our last stop. Keep the kids from touching anything they’re not buying and use contact-free payment.
Tip #7 Get Out Clean
Wash everyone’s hands as soon as you leave. If you’re using hand sanitizer, have everyone wash again with soap and water at home. Consider changing clothes, and toss that used clothing right into the wash.
Hitting the museums and zoo feels almost as tricky as the plot of Tiger King. But diligent planning, keeping kids close, and respecting others will keep us all safer. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just discovered the Unsolved Mysteries reboot. No hand sanitizer required!
Sadly, there’s no tigers either.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendi Rank is a Montgomery County native with a graduate degree from LaSalle University. She has worked as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.