IT'S been a wait seemingly as long as the gold rush itself for Sovereign Hill to finally be able to welcome back visitors, but from Saturday, the outdoor museum is back open once again.
The volunteers are patching up their costumes, the red-coats are preparing to keep the peace and come 10am, customers will be welcomed back with open arms to Ballarat's biggest tourist attraction.
As a special reopening bonus, Sovereign Hill will open for four days this weekend, up until and including Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday. It will then temporarily revert to weekend-only openings before hopefully returning to seven-day-a-weeks service from Boxing Day right through the summer school holidays.
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But as we've come to expect throughout this crazy year of 2020, there will be major changes that visitors and tourists need to be aware of.
Firstly, the good news is tickets will start from $39, with children's tickets at $20 and a family of four, five or six is $99. Tickets will need to be pre-purchased online.
A Sovereign Hill spokesperson said on entry, visitors will be asked for identification to make sure they are not from areas which remain under lockdown until November 9.
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Due to social distancing requirements, ticket numbers have been limited for the first few weekends of opening at 1000 a day.
The gold panning is returning, as is coach rides, the troopers and the red coats will also be parading at various times throughout the day.
"In-site payments will be conducted via contactless bank card, sanitisation stations and clear social distancing signage will be active throughout the site. Staff, volunteers and visitors will be asked COVID-19 screening questions ahead of entry," the spokesperson said.
While many of the attractions will return and Main Street shops will be opening for business, some regular events including the gold pour demonstration and mine tours will not operate due to be in enclosed, smaller areas.
In November, Sovereign Hill will also celebrate its 50th birthday and it plans to launch its masterplan for the site later in the month. If you wish to pre-book your tickets, you can do so at sovereignhill.com.au
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