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North Country attractions prepare to open

Guests can except a screening process and temperature checks at numerous North Country attractions this summer, as they begin to reopen. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
July 03, 2020
REGION — After Gov. Chris Sununu's announcement on June 12 that amusement parks could re-open, several North Country attractions went into action. While the date was set for June 29, some organizations have opted to resume operations in mid-July.

State guidelines stipulate that all attractions must operate at 25 percent of capacity, visitors must wear masks, and ticket sales must occur online and in advance. 

Living Shores Aquarium in Glen will not be opening for the summer season, said Director of Marketing Lauren Hawkins.

"The aquarium is a very hands-on facility. Unfortunately, those hands-on activities can not happen at this time. It's not a great customer and guest experience. We are continuing to care for our animals and will reevaluate as the guidelines change," she stated.

However, Story Land is set to open on July 17 for season pass holders only. Hawkins said the general public would be welcome after July 22. Visitors must reserve dates in advance and can expect temperature checks upon arrival. Children older than three must wear facial coverings. 

"It is going to be a different experience this year as we navigate the new COVID-19 guidelines. But we are excited to open and we think it's going to be a great season," noted Hawkins.

Jefferson's Santa's Village opens on July 1, said representative Jim Miller.

"We were preparing to re-open as steadily as we could all winter long. We used the Payroll Protection Program to keep our full-time staff working. We checked in with the State Commission to make sure that we could bring staff in We staggered schedules to keep our guys working to prepare rides, buildings and water systems and keep our animals in good shape all winter long," he explained. 

Like Story Land, Santa's Village also required advanced ticket purchases and asked guests to expect a screening process at the gate.

"We made the official decision that we would re-open as soon as we could which was on June 12. There are quite a few guidelines and it will be quite different from what people are used to," continued Miller. 

Despite pandemic guidelines, Miller indicated that two new features would open this season; a renovated and significantly larger Great Humbug Adventure and the fourth addition to the water park called Polar Paradise. 

While guests over the age of four are required to wear masks at all times, that rule does not apply to the water park.

Miller explained, "Masks are not recommended in the water park because they are too hard to breathe through when wet."

Alpine Adventures in Lincoln has already opened to the public and requires advanced bookings. The Whale's Tale Waterpark begins on June 29. According to the website, any tickets purchased before the pandemic will be honored through both the 2020 and the 2021 seasons. Season pass holders are asked to seek advanced reservations as well as day visitors.

Although the owners of Clark's Trading Post didn't think they would open a few months ago, they too are slated to welcome guests on June 29. Hobo Railroad and Hobo Hills Adventure Park also operate with limited capacities, advanced ticket sales and mask requirements.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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