Florida Reopening: Theme Parks, Beaches, and Water Parks Open Now
The Sunshine State has reopened for locals and tourists ready to venture out for some summer fun in the sun. The Florida reopening is well underway, and we've got the scoop on what's open in Florida right now, as well as top attractions opening soon.
Keep in mind that the coronavirus pandemic is an ever-evolving situation. A slew of new mask-wearing orders went into effect in Florida over the past few days as the state's positive cases shot up. Tourist hot spots like Orange County (Orlando), the city of Tampa, and the Florida Keys are mandating face coverings indoors to stop the spread.
The comprehensive list of family-friendly attractions in the Florida reopening includes everything from our favorite Florida beaches to the big-name theme parks, Orlando hotels, water parks, and more. If your summer travel plans take you to a different region, check out our list of family-friendly resorts reopening for summer 2020 travel.
As you make your travel plans, be sure to click through to each businesses' website for the most up-to-date regulations and new safety protocols put in place to keep everyone safe, and keep in mind that the CDC still recommends mask use while in public.
Florida Reopening Plan
Phase 2 of Florida's Recovery Plan began on June 5, 2020, for all Florida counties, except Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, which are currently still in Phase 1. Restaurants and bars are open at 50% capacity for indoor seating, with appropriate social distancing. Retail stores are operating at full capacity. Entertainment businesses such as movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, and playhouses are also able to operate at 50% capacity. Find the full details of Phase 2 in the Plan for Florida's Recovery.
Note: Travelers coming from areas with a substantial spread of COVID-19 (including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) are required to quarantine for 14 days, or the duration of their trip, whichever is shorter. Roadside checkpoints, as well as airport screenings, are in place to check for coronavirus symptoms.
A visit to Discovery Cove grants guests plenty of face time with the animals. Photo courtesy of Sea World
Florida Reopening: Theme Parks
Universal reopened all three of its parks—Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park—to guests June 5. New safety measures include requiring face coverings for everyone ages 3 and older, temperature checks upon arrival, floor markings to promote social distancing, and limited capacity throughout attractions, restaurants, and retail areas.
SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica (SeaWorld's water park) all reopened to guests on June 11. Reservations are required for all visits and can be made on its website. Safety guidelines include requiring face coverings for ages 2 and older, temperature screenings at the entrance of each park, floor markings to promote physical distancing, elimination of single-rider lines, and limited ride capacity.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens and its adjacent water park, Adventure Island, welcomed visitors back June 11. Reservations are required for all visits and can be made on its website. Park safety enhancements include temperature screenings, requiring face coverings for ages 2 and older, limited ride capacity, and markings throughout the park to identify and promote proper social distancing.
Legoland was the first theme park in the area to reopen, welcoming guests on June 1 to both the theme park and water park. Its new "safe to visit" measures include a cashless payment system, requiring temperature checks before entering the park, reduced capacity limits, and empty rows/seats on rides to account for social distancing. Although not required, masks or face coverings are recommended.
Walt Disney World – Reopening in July
Walt Disney World theme parks will reopen in phases, with the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opening July 11. Hollywood Studios and Epcot open on July 15. Guests are required to make a reservation for park entry. New safety measures include requiring face coverings for ages 2 and older, temperature screenings upon arrival, and Cast Members reminding guests throughout the parks to maintain social distancing. Parades, fireworks, and high-touch experiences, like character meet and greets, are temporarily suspended, and play areas remain closed. Disney has yet to announce when its two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, will reopen.
Florida Reopening: Water Parks
In addition to the theme park water parks listed above, several independent water parks around the state are open, including:
Coco Key Water Resort – Orlando: Reservations are required.
Daytona Lagoon – Daytona
Island H2O Live – Kissimmee
Nona Adventure Park – Orlando
Shipwreck Island Water Park – Panama City Beach
Shipwreck Island Water Park at Adventure Landing – Jacksonville
Florida Reopening: Beaches
All major beaches in the state are currently open with CDC social distancing guidelines of six feet between individuals enforced. Some have additional restrictions in place, notably in South Florida, where the bulk of Florida's coronavirus cases have occurred.
Miami-Dade was the last county in the state to reopen its beaches on June 10. It has 160 "beach ambassadors" in place across the shores to remind beachgoers of the new restrictions, including wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible and in restrooms and concession areas, no organized sports (even between two people), and no groups of more than 10. Miami Beach has also added a ban on coolers and inflatables/floats.
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Legoland's brand new Pirate Island Hotel is now open for business. Photo courtesy of Legoland
Florida Reopening: Hotels
Universal Orlando has reopened its hotels except for Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Universal's Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn and Suites.
Legoland Florida's onsite hotels are open, including the brand new Pirate Island Hotel.
Walt Disney World resorts and hotels are closed, have yet to announce a reopening date, and are not currently accepting any new reservations.
Most other hotels around the state are currently open with enhanced health and safety initiatives.
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Vacationers beware: The Kennedy Space Center—and many Florida attractions—require reservations to visit. Photo courtesy of Kennedy Space Center
Other Areas & Attractions Now Open in Florida
Statewide Attractions That Have Reopened in Florida
Florida State Parks: All state parks are open for day-use activities, except for Ybor City Museum State Park in Hillsborough County. Most state park campgrounds have reopened as well.
Attractions in North Florida & Panhandle of Florida Reopening
Adventure Landing – Jacksonville
Emerald Coast Science Center – Fort Walton Beach
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park – Fort Walton Beach
Gulf World Marine Park – Panama City Beach
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens – Jacksonville: Reservations are required.
MOSH (Museum of Science & History) – Jacksonville: Reservations are required; Masks are required for all guests over the age of 12 and encouraged for those ages 5-12.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm – St. Augustine
Tallahassee Museum – Tallahassee
ZooWorld – Panama City Beach
Attractions in Central & West Florida Reopening
Brevard Zoo – Melbourne: Reservations required. Guests ages 7 and older must wear masks when social distancing is not possible. Also, bring a credit card as only cashless transactions are allowed.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens – Sanford: Reservations are required; face masks are recommended, but not required.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium – Clearwater: Reservations are required; face masks are recommended, but not required.
Dinosaur World – Plant City
Disney Springs – Orlando: Masks are required for guests ages 2 and older, and temperature checks will be conducted before entry.
The Florida Aquarium – Tampa: Reservations are required, and guests ages 2 and older must wear masks.
Fun Spot America – Orlando and Kissimmee: Masks are required.
Gatorland – Orlando: Masks are required.
ICON Park – Orlando: Masks are required at this destination, which includes The Wheel, Madame Tussauds, and the SEA LIFE Aquarium, among other attractions.
Kennedy Space Center – Merritt Island: Masks and temperature screenings are required, and guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to ensure entry.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – Sarasota: Reservations are required, and all guests over the age of 5 are required to wear face coverings.
Orlando Science Center – Orlando: Reservations are required. Guests ages 3+ must wear face masks and have their temperatures checked upon entry.
Wild Florida – Kenansville
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park – Tampa: Reservations and masks are recommended, though neither is required.
South Florida Attractions That Have Reopened
Everglades National Park – Homestead
Florida Keys & Key West: Masks are now required under any roofed area, which includes outdoor tiki-style bars and restaurants.
IMAG History & Science Museum – Fort Myers
Lion Country Safari – Loxahatchee: Only the drive-thru safari park is currently open.
Miami Seaquarium – Miami: Reservations are required. All visitors must wear face masks and are subject to temperature screening before entry.
Palm Beach Zoo – West Palm Beach
South Florida Science Center & Aquarium – West Palm Beach: Masks required for guests ages 10 and older.
Zoo Miami – Miami: Reservations are required, and guests ages 2 and older are required to wear masks inside all buildings and where social distancing is not possible.
Places featured in this article:
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Walt Disney World Resort
Coco Key Water Resort
Island H2O Live
Nona Adventure Park
Shipwreck Island Water Park
Emerald Coast Science Center
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
Gulf World Marine Park
Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
MOSH - Museum of Science & History
St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Dinosaur World Florida
The Florida Aquarium
Kennedy Space Center
MOSI - Museum of Science & Industry
MOTE Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
Everglades National Park
IMAG History & Science Museum
Lion Country Safari
Palm Beach Zoo
South Florida Science Center and Aquarium