COSI Announces Reopening Date

Julanne Hohbach

COSI announced today that it will reopen to visitors three days a week starting Nov. 20.

Operating hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Dec. 20, then re-evaluated. The science center originally had planned to reopen in July, but postponed those plans indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visitors will be able to partake in most, but not all, of their favorite COSI experiences. The limited-time “¡Cuba!” exhibition in the American Museum of Natural History Special Exhibition Gallery—originally set to conclude in September—has been extended to Jan. 3. A new attraction, “Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit” also will run through Jan. 3. Both are included with general admission.

The National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, the Gadgets Stage, the Motion Simulator, the High-Wire Unicycle, the Submarine and the Alvinsphere in the “Ocean” exhibition, and the Mercury Capsule in “Space” will not be available.

COSI will institute numerous safety measures when it reopens its doors, including an improved HVAC system, according to the announcement. “We are pleased to be reopening the nation’s #1 science center. We have implemented a number of safeguards, including the addition of a new, scientific and technologically advanced UV-C photohydroionization air sterilization system to our building. This new technology installation is in partnership with Columbus-based Air Force One, to ensure our guests feel confident in visiting COSI,” said Frederic Bertley, COSI’s president and CEO, in the reopening announcement. “As we navigate through this global pandemic, the need for science literacy and engagement is more important than ever and only science will put the pandemic behind us. We look forward to welcoming everyone, including the scientists and leaders of tomorrow who will save us from the next global crisis.”

According to COSI, the air sterilization process in the building’s HVAC system uses ultraviolet light, a catalyst and moisture in the air to produce ionized hydro-peroxide, which is safe for humans but kills germs, viruses and bacteria.

COSI’s other safety measures include:

  • Mandatory masks for staff and all visitors age 6 and older
  • Timed admission tickets
  • A required visit to a hand sanitizer station as guests enter
  • Hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue as well as enhanced cleaning and disinfecting routines

Learn more about the reopening policies and procedures in “Reopening COSI Responsibly: A Plan Rooted in Science.”

COSI is the last major Central Ohio attraction that has remained closed amid the pandemic. Its last day of operation was March 13. However, it has remained active in the educational arena, launching a new COSI Connects program and related Teachback initiative to continue offering science education to local students. A newer program, Learning Lunchboxes, features hands-on kits funded by Franklin County and distributed by Children’s Hunger Alliance. A revamped, curbside version of COSI on Wheels targets underserved neighborhoods with support from the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

Its popular annual “Farm Days” program goes digital this year, taking place Oct. 16 on Facebook and YouTube. COSI’s Digital Farm Days features a full day of free online programming.

COSI's Foucault pendulum is a popular lobby fixture.