The City of Mesa has announced that the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the i.d.e.a. Museum will be reopening at the end of this month. Both City owned and operated venues have been closed since the pandemic hit in March.

Museum members will have opportunities to visit the museum beginning October 31, 2020, and the venues will be open to the public beginning November 7, 2020. For the first two months of reopening, the museums will offer half-price admission to all visitors, both as a “Welcome Back” special and to offset the impact of some areas that are closed for safety or are still under construction. Museum days and hours have been reduced for the initial reopening period, with public hours available Thursday-Sunday each week.

“We are very pleased that these two great family museums will again be available to provide fun, connection and learning for Mesa residents and beyond,” said Mayor John Giles. “The exhibitions and programs of the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the i.d.e.a. Museum will engage children and adults alike in exploring our world through the arts and sciences, providing creative and thought-provoking experiences, and helping to supplement curriculum for online learning.”

Required online reservations

Initially, advance online ticketing for specific times will be required, and capacity will be greatly limited to ensure social distancing. As circumstances change and visitor experiences are monitored, these requirements may be adjusted.

Online ticketing will open to museum members on October 12, 2020 and will open to the public on November 2, 2020. Information and instructions on how to purchase tickets online will be posted on both museum websites before the on-sale process begins at and

New business hours, exhibitions

For November and December 2020, both museums will have open public hours Thursday-Sunday, with public access 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Thursdays to Saturdays and Noon – 4 p.m. on Sundays. During that period, the open hours will be reevaluated, and any changes will be announced.

Exhibitions and facilities have received overhauls to change out or remove interactive experiences, replacing them with no-touch or low-touch options, and changing traffic patterns to provide one-way pathways through the facilities to avoid unintended proximity. Smaller spaces or solely high-touch environments have been closed until further notice to reduce risk.

New protocols

The museums will reopen with robust safety protocols, informed by CDC guidelines, State health department guidelines, and best practices in the museum field nationally. Masks will be required of all visitors age 6 and older, and strongly encouraged for children 2-6 years old. Hand sanitizer stations will be readily available, and extra cleanings of high touch areas will occur throughout the day.

“We take the safety of our visitors and staff, and our responsibility to reduce community spread of COVID-19, very seriously,” said Cindy Ornstein, Mesa’s Director of Arts and Culture. “Our goal is to make the wonderful resources of our museums available to the public while creating a comfortable and low-risk environment for everyone who enters our facilities. We are excited to reopen and to bring the fantastic benefits of in-person discovery and creativity to our community again.”



Mesa’s Department of Arts and Culture includes the Arizona Museum of Natural History, i.d.e.a. Museum and Mesa Arts Center, all located in downtown Mesa, Arizona. The mission of the department is to strengthen the creative, social, and economic fabric of our community and region through inspiring, relevant, engaging, and transformational experiences.


The Arizona Museum of Natural History has Dinosaurs that roar and so much more. Take a stroll through time from the birth of Earth through the age of the dinosaurs, visit a village of the Ancient Sonoran Desert People and try your hand at gold panning. For more information on admission and hours visit and follow us on social media.


At the i.d.e.a. Museum, guests can enjoy imaginative and creative experiences in ArtVille and the HUB Gallery that support early learning, nurture creative thinking, and engage families in quality time together. They also are encouraged to journey into the Art of the Story exhibition, where visitors can enjoy art and activities that embrace the storyteller within us all.