COLORADO SPRINGS — The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum is officially opening its doors to visitors in downtown Colorado Springs Thursday after the COVID-19 pandemic put plans for the museum on hold.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place three years ago for the museum and it was originally set to open on Memorial Day of this year, but officials delayed it due to the virus.
Safety guidelines are in place that will allow guests to enjoy exhibits safely. These safety measures include hand sanitizer stations, timed ticketing to control the number of guests allowed in the building, and some high-tech features that will limit touching. Face coverings are required to enter the building and a temperature check must be passed.
The museum features high-tech exhibits honoring the history of the United States Olympic and Paralympic movement while celebrating the achievements of its athletes. There will be 12 galleries featured in the museum that will go through an Olympic or Paralympic athlete's journey.
John Register, an Olympian who won a silver medal in long jump in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, said the opening of the museum is an "amazing thing" and a way to see all the progress that has been done.
"Yes it's sometimes about the medals, but mostly it's about the journey," Register said. "The journey that these people, these athletes, have gone through time and again in life, to show the resilience of people."
The museum is one of the most accessible and interactive museums in the world designed in a way that allows each guest to fully experience all the museum has to offer.
The $90 million, 60,000 square-foot museum is part of an initiative called City for Champions, which aims to attract visitors to the City of Colorado Springs and the state of Colorado with unique venues. The museum will also have a space for special events and Olympic gatherings.
Originally, it was estimated the museum would get 350,000 visitors a year. However, with COVID-19, those numbers will inevitably change.
The museum is open Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online, but there are a limited number of walk-up tickets available on the Plaza. Admission will be timed to help maintain social distancing in the building.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, click here.