Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center welcomes people back after 15-month pandemic closure

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and Recreation Area staff members pose for a photo.
Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and Recreation Area staff members pose for a photo. (Photo courtesy of USDA Forest Service)

The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center will open to the public on Tuesday, June 1. It will be the first time since doors closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.

The visitor center will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and will stay open as long as community risk levels remain safe for visitors and employees.

The center’s director Barb Miranda said visitors will notice some changes when they come in. 

“We do have a request that people that have not been vaccinated wear a mask and maintain social distancing,” Miranda said. “There are stickers on the floors to guide folks along the way. We do have one way circulation through the visitor center.”

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska's Energy Desk)
Interior of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in 2018. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Nobody will be asked to show their vaccine cards, so masking will be on the honor system. The building will also be limited to 25% capacity, which is about 75 people at a time.

Miranda said staff members are beyond excited to welcome people back.

“Interpreters are by their very nature creative and extroverted people, and it’s definitely been quiet around here without the visitor center open,” she said.

And there’s already a lot going on outside the observatory windows. 

“With mountain goats on the cliff and there’s quite a bit of bear activity already so really, [we’re] just delighted to have a space where folks can come in and enjoy the views out the windows and interact with forest service rangers that know a lot about the area,” Miranda said.

Visitors will have to buy passes to get into the visitor center from now through the end of September. Those are available at machines in the Mendenhall Glacier parking lots as well as online. 

Day use passes sell for $5 per person and collectible season passes are available for $15 for the card holder and one guest all season.

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