Gov. Lamont announces initiative that allows children to go to some CT museums, aquariums for free

Connecticut

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– The governor is hoping to use pandemic relief money to help entertain and educate kids this summer.

Like on many days there is one particular Beluga whale which seems to draw a crowd. 

Juno never disappoints visitors at Mystic Aquarium, which is where the governor announced what could be another crowd-pleaser. Free admission for all Connecticut children and one adult or caregiver at museums all across the state.

“The reason we were able to do that is that Connecticut is more likely to be vaccinated and less likely to be infected than just about any state in the country,” said Gov. Ned Lamont.

“Oh nice excellent. Cool yeah,” said Kyle Behbehani of East Lyme. “I hadn’t heard of this. Great.”

The initiative is proposed for funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“It’s a total fo $15 million,” said David Lehman, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

The funding is expected to break down any financial barrier stopping some families from visiting museums like the aquarium or Mystic Seaport Museum, which encompasses 19 acres along the Mystic River.

“By allowing free entry to all Connecticut children and one family adult, we’re giving our youth regardless of economic barriers, the chance to gain a real understanding, real magical moments with their families, and real educational experiences,” said Peter Armstrong who is the new President of Mystic Seaport.

“Whatever they can do is great,” said Steve Sadighi of Trumbull. “I mean you just got to get more and more families out.”

Right now there are five museums on board with this proposed program including Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, the Maritime Aquarium, the Connecticut Science Center, and the Beardsley Zoo. The state hopes other museums will soon join in.

“Informal learning is just as important as formal learning,” said Dr. Steve Coan, President & CEO of the Sea Research Foundation which operates Mystic Aquarium. “It reinforces STEM. It teaches basic STEM concepts, social-emotional skills.”

“They are dedicated to creating pathways to learning that support the work of our incredible teachers,” said Liz Shapiro, Director of Art, Preservation, and Museums for the state.

If approved by the general assembly, the free admissions for children 18 and under would run July 1, 2021 through Labor Day.

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