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Free museum days offer a chance to explore CT

These so-called dog days of summer are actually the perfect time to introduce kids to some of Connecticut’s hidden gems.

For the next few weeks ending on Labor Day, children under the age of 18 can enter many museums in the state for free through the Connecticut Summer at the Museum program, which is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

Yes, yes, we know. If you’re a kid, the word “museum” just sounds like an adult’s excuse to drive you away from another Roblox afternoon. “Museum” is to any computer game what “broccoli” is to ice cream.

So if you’re an adult, you might have to do a little more work to show that Connecticut’s museums do indeed have a lot of delicious flavors. They not only offer views on land, sea and air, but also take visitors into space.

So hop on and check out some of the stops you can make over the next four weeks.

For starters, Connecticut offers several rail exhibits, including the Danbury Rail Museum (where legendary director Alfred Hitchcock filmed scenes for “Strangers on a Train”) and the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor.

Or perhaps you prefer a ‘one if by land, two if by sea’ approach to the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat.

If you’d rather stay in the water, Norwalk Maritime Aquarium is home to 7,000 animals from around 363 species. Some kids might prefer to see the spider monkeys and red pandas at Bridgeport’s Beardsley Zoo

For “air” offerings, consider the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks. If that’s not far enough on the horizon for your child, gaze up at the stars at the Discovery Science Center & Planetarium in Bridgeport instead.

Connecticut’s youngest residents may prefer the EverWonder Children’s Museum in Newtown, Stepping Stones in Norwalk, or West Hartford’s Children’s Museum.

Older children with more patience and an interest in local history can explore historical societies that deserve more attention in so many communities including Greenwich, Stratfield, Norwalk, Stamford, Bristol, Avon, Glastonbury and Simsbury. There is also the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford.

Aspiring artists could consider different perspectives at the Alridge Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, while would-be fashion designers could find inspiration in the Victorian exhibition at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk.

Many state residents are probably unaware of some offerings, such as: B. Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum in Kent. And mobile devices have already become so ubiquitous as timekeepers that children of a certain age might be shocked by the centerpieces at Bristol’s American Clock and Watch Museum.

Some offers cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Check out Boothe Memorial Park and Museum in Stratford, which features unique structures the Boothe brothers built on their 80-acre homestead before donating their unusual collections and belongings to the City of Stratford.

Only residents of Connecticut are eligible for the program. So remember to bring ID and check first if online reservations or masks are required.

And while this may serve to reveal treasures to children, it can also serve as a reminder to many adults that the Nutmeg State is really just one big museum.

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