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Beech Creek gardens reopen to public

The Amazing Garden Plant Science Center at Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve (Submitted photo)

ALLIANCE– After 12 weeks of shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve reopened on June 8. The first phase of reopening involves changes to overall operations and detailed modifications for the summer exhibits which include the Butterfly House, Caterpillar Nursery and Amazing Garden Plant Science Center.

“We love seeing visitors strolling our gardens, exhibits and trails as they take in the fresh air and enjoy the rich diversity of our plant displays and educational exhibits,” said Melinda Carmichael, executive director of Beech Creek Gardens.

The number of visitors admitted to the grounds each day is limited, as is the number of visitors permitted inside the facilities at one time. The amount of time visitors can spend in each facility is limited by timed sessions which occur continuously throughout each day. Visitors are permitted to attend multiple sessions depending on the attendance at any given time.

In addition, parties of visitors are required to maintain a distance of 6 feet at all times during their visit, including inside the facilities and while exploring the botanical gardens, woodland hiking trails, and the two nature playgrounds–Nature Playce and Logs o’ Fun..

Beech Creek Gardens also continues to enforce sanitation protocols for staff, volunteers, visitors and members. Staff and volunteers are required to wear masks when in contact with visitors and while working in closed areas, in addition to other precautions.

Visitors and members are required to sanitize their hands before and after entering certain facilities and interacting with certain exhibits. Hand sanitizer is available for visitors at high-contact areas and restrooms are sanitized daily and remain open to visitors. Outdoor drinking fountains are not accessible, so visitors should plan accordingly.

Rental sites at Beech Creek Gardens are available for special events, however, the botanical garden will adhere to the mandated maximum capacities and seating configurations set by the state. The Woodland Pavilion, Wildlife Deck and Secret Garden will all operate at half their maximum capacity and seating will be designed for 6-foot distance between groups of guests with no more than 10 guests per seating group.

Beech Creek Gardens will also be modifying each of their summer events including the Summer Adventure Camp, Critter Days, the Evening in the Garden fundraising gala, Member Movie Nights, Carnation Days, Furry Friends Fest, and the Butterfly Release Celebration. Visit the organization’s website to view the modifications that have already been determined. More detailed information regarding the changes to these events will become available soon.

General admission to the gardens has resumed at the normal summer season rate of $8 per person for ages three and older with free admission for ages two and younger. General admission grants access to the grounds, including all facilities, special exhibits, and special presentations. As always, members enjoy free general admission and after-hours access to the hiking trails and nature playgrounds. Public hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

For information about their reopening and to view the entire detailed plan, visit www.beechcreekgardens.org.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the botanical garden has faced many unforeseen expenses, including the cost of purchasing sanitation supplies, installing new signage throughout the grounds, and implementing extra cleaning and sanitation procedures, in addition to other financial strains. This has created an unexpected burden on their operating budget, so the nonprofit organization requests that supporters consider making additional donations to help them through this difficult time.

Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve is located at 11929 Beech St. NE, one mile east of U.S. Route 62.

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