With the manicured outdoors to explore, the timing’s just right for the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens to reopen.
Starting Tuesday June 16, hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays.
The aesthetic is just what visitors need now after the long pandemic shutdown, said director Bonnie White Lemay. “We have a stroll for well-being and a 7/8-mile walk. Outside is a manicured environment…in opposition of being sequestered and cooped up in the house. I hope this is another way for people to get through this pandemic. It’s a way to escape. You’re able to feel like you got away for the day.”
Admission to the 17-acre property on Jog Road in Delray Beach just over the Boca border is $15 adults 18 and older; $13 seniors 65 plus; $9 children 6 to 17, free 5 and younger. Reduced fees for college students and active military. Parking is free.
Members and guests will find the changes the state and county require, from enhanced cleaning to social distancing.
Guests can stroll through the gardens at their leisure. The walk takes just under an hour. Garden paths will be one way. There’s no age limit for children and strollers are welcome.
Visitors can stay and have Japanese food, with a limited menu, disposal cutlery and socially distanced seating on the outdoor terrace at the Cornell Café. The museum store will be open, as will the bonsai exhibit. Galleries, exhibitions, theater, Seishin-an Tea House and Yamato-kan will remain closed for now.
Visitors will be required to wait outside before entering the lobby. In the event of inclement weather, visitors will wait in their vehicles until conditions subside. For a contact-free experience, people can take a self-guided garden audio tour.
“We suggest wearing sunscreen, bringing plenty of water and an umbrella to protect you from both the sun and summer rain,” the opening statement added. “To ensure a contact-free experience, we will only be accepting payment in the form of credit and debit cards.”
Since the museum and gardens closed in mid-March, workers and landscapers have been busy keeping the property pristine, Lemay said. They knew people would be back.
For newcomers to the site, one of the last remaining settlers, George Sukeji Morikami, donated the land to Palm Beach County to preserve the memory of the Yamato colony of farmers in the early 1900s.
“We get Boca and tri-county visitors for staycations,” Lemay said. “They feel like they can get away to Japan, but they don’t have to leave the country.”
By Marci Shatzman