By Associated Press - Friday, April 30, 2021

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Several of Connecticut’s best known museums have signed on to a proposal by Gov. Ned Lamont designed to combat some of the learning lost during the pandemic by allowing children to visit for free this summer.

Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport Museum, Beardsley Zoo, the Connecticut Science Center, and the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk have all expressed interest in participating, Lamont said Friday.

Under the initiative, all Connecticut children 18 and under and one accompanying adult can visit the museums free of charge from July 1 to September 6.

“By participating in this program, we hope to provide more children access to a fun and educational destination and instill a love of the ocean that motivates young audiences to make a difference in our world,” said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Sea Research Foundation Inc., the nonprofit that operates Mystic Aquarium.

The governor’s plan would fund the program with $15 million from the state’s federal recovery funds.

“Connecticut has some of the best museums in the region, and they were significantly impacted by the pandemic,” Lamont said. “Investing these recovery dollars into our museums just makes sense. Not only will it help support the continued operation of these museums, but it also provides an opportunity for children who’ve lost out on classroom experience to spend some time this summer exploring new educational experiences. This is a win-win and I think it will be a very popular option for families across Connecticut this summer.”

The state Legislature must sign off on the proposal.

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