Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will launch its “Connecticut Kids Are Free” for summer program on Thursday, July 1, along with other museums, historical sites, and family attractions in Connecticut. Funded by the state through the American Rescue Plan, the Zoo will provide free admission to any Connecticut resident 18 years and younger, along with one accompanying adult.
Guests must register for free tickets online at www.beardsleyzoo.org. The program runs from July 1 through September 6.
The full list of participating museums is available at www.CTSummerMuseums.com.
In addition to “Kids Are Free,” the Zoo will conduct a special summer-long program called Food for Thought (FFT) in partnership with Cooperative Educational Services (CES) and Green Village Initiative (GVI). The program will teach students and families about the benefits of fresh, healthy food and how gardening and farming enrich our lives.
Zoo educators, along with teen volunteers from the Zoo’s Conservation Discovery Corps and Zoo Career Explorers, Zoo docents and gardeners, GVI educators and youth, and special guest presenters, will present interactive activities, demonstrations, and visits with animals five days a week at kiosks around the Zoo.
“We’re happy to offer an opportunity for children to explore nature, enjoy the outdoors and learn about wildlife after a long year of restricted activities,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “We know the pandemic has been hardest on kids, so the opening of our renovated New England Farmyard on July 10 and the additional learning opportunities through our Food for Thought program will help to make it a great summer for everyone!”
“This program provides a unique opportunity for children to take advantage of the world-class museums and attractions offered in Connecticut, while having both a fun and educational experience,” Governor Lamont said.
The Zoo’s renovated New England Farmyard officially opens to the public on Saturday, July 10, and will be the site of many of the farm-based educational activities. The FFT program is especially vital now due to the economic and educational disruptions caused by the pandemic, which were felt more intensely in urban and low-income areas that already had limited access to healthy food choices. The activities at the Zoo centered around the benefits of fresh, healthy food will emphasize how individuals and families can build whole foods into the core of their diet.