Impression 5 Reopening Plan

As we carefully examine the COVID-19 climate within mid-Michigan, we’re ready to share our next steps and plan for a path forward toward fully reopening our doors. It’s our hope this page will help share our thought process and decisions with you in a transparent way.


Like many organizations, Impression 5 is taking a thoughtful and phased approach toward reopening. Here are the focus areas within each phase, but please note these timeframes are subject to change based on state orders, health agency recommendations, and the discretion of Impression 5 management. Our organization will move forward or backward through these phases fluidly and in response to what’s happening in our community. The trust you place in us to ensure a safe experience for your family remains our guide, and we promise to continue to make choices that put you and your family’s health first.


Reopening Phases

New Impression 5 Procedures and Changes for Guests' Visits

Our Safety Expectations for Guests

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Virtual Learning Resources

Ways You Can Help Support Impression 5


Reopening Phases

Phase 1: Programs-only focus

  • Host Summer L.A.B.S. camps for ages 5-14 (limited capacity).

  • Timeframe: Summer 2020


Phase 2: Programs + Member/Donor focus

  • Host educational programs with limited capacity + announce weekend visit reservations to members/donors.

  • Projected timeframe: September


Phase 3: Programs + Reopen to All

  • Continue to host educational programs + open to everyone for weekday and weekend (Thursday to Saturday) hours and begin limited weekend birthday parties.

  • Projected timeframe: October


Phase 4: Transition to public operations and visitation during the week and weekends 

  • Continue public weekday and weekend hours, birthday parties, and prepare for educational and school programming. 

  • Projected timeframe: TBD


New Procedures and Changes for Guests

  • Limited entry admission to ensure social distancing (10% of capacity).

  • Required advance online ticket sales for members and the public (we will be unable to accept walk-in guests). 

  • Ticketed time entries to increase social distancing between families.

  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures that occur continuously throughout the day and deep clean after each day. Components requiring small pieces have a three-set rotation to ensure full disinfection after use. 

  • Suggested pathways, along with a recommended number of household groups to enjoy each exhibit space at a time. 

  • All staff members undergo a symptom and temperature check prior to coming on shift, wear masks, and are required to wash or sanitize their hands frequently. 

  • We are asking all visitors to eat outside of the building at their own discretion. 


Our Safety Expectations for Guests

  • Adults and Children 3+ must wear masks or a face covering during their visit

  • Allow your temperature to be checked prior to entering (must not register above 100 degrees)

  • Social Distance as a household group (please ensure 6 feet between you and other groups while you enjoy exhibits)

  • Compliance with our safety procedures 

  • Frequently wash and/or sanitize hands 

  • Disinfecting supplies will be available for your family to use throughout exhibit areas (to help ensure safe playing)

  • Do not visit if you or a household member is sick (or experiencing the following symptoms: cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell)


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are you requiring guests 3+ to wear masks? This is challenging for my family.

Impression 5 Science Center is following recommendations from the CDC as a best practice for slowing or reducing risk of virus transmission while interacting in public settings. 
“...CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”


As a family-focused organization, we understand there are many obstacles to successfully wearing masks--especially for young children. However, this is one of several steps we are taking to help ensure the safest experience possible for all. We also understand that this presents a hardship for young children, those with sensory disorders, the hearing impaired, and many others who rely on facial expressions, gestures, lip reading, and more to fully recognize faces, play comfortably, and effectively communicate. We are investing in a supply of face shields for guests to use if masks are not possible. 


If this requirement presents a barrier to your family, we are sincerely sorry. However, until we are able lift this procedure based on CDC guidelines for public spaces, we feel it’s the safest choice at this time. 

2. What if my child cannot wear a mask?

Guests or young children unable to wear a mask over their nose and mouth will be allowed to wear a clear face shield. Impression 5 will have a supply of face shields for guests to borrow while they are visiting. 

If you feel you have a different reasonable accommodation to this requirement, please contact our team in advance to discuss at

3. What happens if my child’s mask gets wet during our visit?

We will have a supply of disposable masks on hand for guests, as well as a supply of reusable masks for guests to borrow. We have a careful laundering procedure for these reusable masks. Additionally, we will have a small supply of reusable masks for purchase at Impression 5 TO GO.

4. Why are you taking guests’ temperatures if that does not guarantee an individual does not have COVID-19?

While our team understands that a temperature check is not necessarily a fail-safe way to ensure an individual does not have COVID-19, we are requiring this as one of several precautions to help ensure guests who are unwell do not attempt to visit until they are well.


5. How are you handling membership extensions due to your closure?

All membership accounts that were active during the month of March 2020 will automatically be extended an additional seven months to accommodate for the temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our membership team has limited access to our building, but will be sending letters to confirm new expiration dates for members. For specific inquiries about your membership, please contact Joyce White at


6. Why don’t you allow food onsite for the time being?

There are several reasons we are temporarily removing our onsite vending options, as well as asking guests to enjoy any snacks outside of the building:

  • The vending machines are a high-contact space we feel presents additional risk to guests 

  • Our policy requires masks be worn, and guests would have to remove masks to take a break and snack. 

  • Our team will be heavily focused on ensuring our exhibits and components are continuously being disinfected, and may not have the bandwidth to ensure all snacking areas are thoroughly disinfected between each use. 

Despite these reasons, we also know families need the ability to enjoy a snack during their visit. Therefore, we encourage guests to bring their own snacks to enjoy outside, in their vehicle, or along the River Trail so they can appropriately social distance. 

Guests will have access to bottle-filling water stations on both levels of the Science Center, as they are touchless and guests can use their own bottles from home.

7. How are you ensuring the First Impression Room is safe for guests?

Because the First Impression Room is a space for our youngest guests, we understand that the acceptable developmental and social behaviors that occur within this space present unique challenges. Three families can safely enjoy the First Impression Room at one time. We will also have additional activities outside the First Impression Room for two families at a time.


The majority of toys will be cleaned with a combination of soapy water and an industrial cleaner (NeutraQuat). Other items that cannot be fully saturated, like books, will be sprayed with an an EPA-registered disinfectant, and allowed 72 hours to sit unused. Because we know items can end up in mouths, our procedure for these items includes being disinfected in our First Impression Room dishwasher. 


Items that we have multiple sets of (books, puzzles, food items, light toys, and building blocks) will be switched out for a clean set frequently.


We are using these CDC guidelines for our First Impression Room disinfecting procedures:

8. How is FLOW: A Water Experience cleaned?

Impression 5 treats all the water in FLOW with bromine. Additionally, the water is drained, tubs thoroughly disinfected, and refilled each week. All other surfaces and components are disinfected throughout the day.


"There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus." Reference:


9. I'm concerned about the safety of the POP bubble exhibit. Why is it still open?

The solution throughout the POP exhibit is a mixture of water and Joy dish soap. Because of this, it’s actually a very safe space to enjoy as long as families practice safe and respective hygiene practices. 

"Soap molecules attach to and disrupt the outer protective lipid (fatty) layer of COVID-19, breaking it apart and destroying the virus." Reference: Mayo Clinic


10. Why are you limiting the capacity of guests and how did you calculate a safe number of guests?

Based on the state of Michigan’s executive order 2020-110 and 2020-97, indoor museums may reopen, but must restrict capacity to 25% of normal capacity. In order to support our team and guests through a safe transition to re-opening, our team has decided to use a 10% capacity or 100 guests. In time, and based on state mandates, we will re-evaluate our capacity. 


11. What are you doing to ensure staff who come to work are healthy?

All staff members are required to complete a health screening through the Ingham County Health Department as well as a temperature check prior to entering the building. Staff will wear masks when at work and on the exhibit floor and are instructed to frequently wash their hands


Additionally, Impression 5 management team has increased the number of paid medical leave days for full-time and part-time employees to help ensure staff members who feel unwell do not come to work. We also comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for all COVID-19-related illness benefits for our staff members. (


12. Why are you closed to members and the public during the week in the beginning phases of reopening?

We made the decision to reduce our L.A.B.S. camp program capacity to less than 50% to ensure campers can social distance within their classrooms and reduce the overall risk of attending camp. By remaining closed for general visits, we are able to help reduce risk for our campers and keep our team focused on ensuring that program’s success and safety. 


13. Will I be able to shop Impression 5 TO GO?

Yes, Impression 5 TO GO will be open once we reopen the Science Center to the public.

Curbside pickup is available by emailing Thank you for your support!

14. Will you resume workshops during weekend hours? 

Yes! We have resumed some in-person programming. Learn more about our Mini L.A.B.S. program and our Make It! workshops. Future program updates can be found under the Learn heading on the top of this webpage.


15. Once you reopen to the public, will you continue to honor discounts, promotions, and coupons?

As a mission-focused organization, we feel strongly about reducing as many financial barriers to visiting as possible. We will honor all active coupons, gift cards (which do not expire), Museums For All admission, Association of Children's Museums (ACM) and Association of Science and Technology Center (ASTC) reciprocity discounts, and senior and military admission discounts upon reopening to the public. As always, members receive free admission. 

If you have other specific questions for our team, please send us an email through our Contact Us page.



Learning Resources


Ways You Can Help Support Impression 5

  • Join or renew your membership. You could also consider purchasing a gift membership for a family you care about!

  • Donate to our annual fund

  • Share our virtual learning resources with families looking for hands-on educational opportunities. 

  • Like or share our content on social media.

  • Shop Impression 5 TO GO (email for curbside pickup) or purchase online gift cards to use at a later date.


Thank you for your support!