It's a subtle, but important sign of New Jersey's economic and cultural recovery -- you can visit Lucy the Elephant again.
The roadside icon is one of a number of attractions along the Jersey Shore that have quietly started reopening since the state entered Phase 2 of its coronavirus recovery plan, according to R.C. Staab, author of "100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore Before You Die."
The problem, he noted, is the lack of clarity about how exactly these facilities can open and when.
“Re-opening the museums, historic sites and unusual attractions gives people a reason to come to the Jersey Shore for more than a day-trip. To round out their visit, vacation-goers want to know that they can climb a lighthouse, take a boat ride, discover history, look inside the eye of a giant elephant. Staying longer means people spending more money and helping Jersey Shore businesses salvage part of their expected summer revenues," Staab said.
“If Gov. Murphy would add a tweet each time his office approves museums and historic sites opening, it would give people confidence that there’s more to do at the Jersey Shore than hit the beach or dine outdoors."
For Staab's running list of what's open at the Shore, click here.
The operators of Lucy, a six-story National Historic Landmark in Margate City, said on their Facebook page June 10 that they would reopen to visitors this week. (Tours run daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through June 24.)
A number of other Shore attractions have opened or set plans to do so, Staab said, from museums and lighthouse tours to whale-watching excursions and other adventures on the water.
The state's Phase 2 plan specifically includes the reopening of museums, though it does not actually say when they can open or under what conditions. Given the broad permission to restart, but absent direct guidance on the particulars, some places are working out their own plans.
Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum, for example, plans to reopen ferry rides and creek tours starting July 4. The Historic Village at Allaire, meanwhile, plans to welcome visitors back starting June 27. The NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum will open June 22. (For more openings click here.)
Disclaimer: R.C. Staab is married to the president of WNBC's parent company, the NBC Universal Owned Television Stations.