BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is set to open for the season Saturday, May 1.
The park was closed for much of 2020 due to COVID-19, it was able to reopen in July at 25% capacity. Officials say as it opens for the season this year, there will still be modifications in place due to COVID-19 such as:
- Adjusting exhibits and tour routes to accommodate social distancing,
- Face masks will continue to be required for everyone while visiting The Naval Park.
- Tours of the ships (USS Little Rock, USS The Sullivans, and USS Croaker) will be self-guided and have been expanded to include areas above and below deck, although certain compartments will be closed due to social distancing restrictions.
It will be open will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All ticketing will be sold online and will be timed with the last ticket sold each day at 4:00 p.m.
Those who have tickets can begin their tour within the 30 minute window listed on their ticket. You can purchase tickets here.
“Like many organizations, the past year has been full of challenges.” said Paul Marzello, President and CEO of the Buffalo Naval Park. “We are able to open on May 1st this year because of our dedicated staff and volunteers, our board of directors and the support of many people that contributed to our All Hands On Deck campaign.”
Earlier this year the naval park announced the USS The Sullivans began taking on water and was in need of emergency repairs. A fundraiser campaign was launched to "Save the Sullivans." The campaign exceeded its goal for emergency repairs and set a new goal for long-term repairs and is ongoing.
Officials say 4-year-old Arrow Swartwout, who donated his pennies to save USS The Sullivans and was recognized for his generosity, will be the first aboard for the 2021 season.
“Arrow is a special kid and we wanted to let him know how much we appreciate his donation.” said Marzello. “We invited Arrow and his grandmother to join us at the Opening Ceremony and be the first visitors aboard the ships for the 2021 season.”
An opening day ceremony and ribbon cutting are set to be held Saturday.