The “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center has reopened most of the interactive exhibits that have been barriered off since the pandemic lockdown in March 2020. Ding has also debuted the long-awaited Artist-in-Residence exhibition in the auditoriums in a gallery format with occasional appearances by artist Rachel Pierce.
Pierce will be showing pieces inspired by her artist-in-residence tenure since late 2019, which has been extended because of COVID interruptions.
Following lockdown, the Center gradually reopened its America’s Best Restroom, front information desk, and Nature Store, but curtained off the hands-on exhibit area due to federal restrictions. (Wildlife Drive and hiking trails have remained open throughout the pandemic.) Refuge staff has made currently accessible all hard-surface exhibits and select video touchscreen displays. By federal decree, masks are still required in all government Refuge buildings.