Explore Connecticut From Home
HARTFORD— Most of Connecticut’s world-class museums, historic sites, aquariums, performing arts centers and other tourism destinations across the state are temporarily closed in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but that does not mean you cannot visit — virtually — according to the Connecticut Office of Tourism.
From virtual tours and animal webcams to online video series and streaming performances, attractions across the state are offering new ways to learn about and engage with their offerings, collections and experts. Some destinations are also sharing family friendly projects and activities to try right at home.
A small sampling of experiences is included here, but more information can be found on the state’s official tourism website, www.CTvisit.com.
Spot Rare Animals
*Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is offering a “zoo cam” livestream of their Red Pandas, as well as Facebook Live events featuring different animals from around the zoo.
*Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is bringing marine life to viewers with virtual programs and Q&A sessions every day at 3 p.m. on Facebook Live.
*Meigs Point Nature Center in Madison has created a Virtual Learning Center with live, animal-filled programs featuring Ranger Russ.
*Mystic Aquarium in Mystic is hosting Facebook Live events and Q&A’s with animal care professionals, as well as a penguin live stream.
View Renowned Art
*Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury has set up The MATT @ Home, a dedicated page on the museum’s website with online exhibitions and educational projects for families.
*Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich has a virtual tour of the museum’s interior, including art and history collections.
*Yale Center for British Art in New Haven has a mobile app with an in-depth guide to works in the Center’s collection, as well as detailed information about its landmark building and a virtual tour.
Learn Something New
*Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry in Storrs is offering puppet-building workshops on Facebook Live.
*Connecticut Science Center in Hartford is posting engaging science activities on its blog, as well as Facebook videos including Animal Encounters every Tuesday and Thursday at 12 p.m.
*EverWonder Children’s Museum in Newtown is offering a series to help families learn together, including themed challenges, experiments and videos.
*Fairfield Museum in Fairfield is offering a variety of Facebook content including weekly art challenges, live streams from different locations in town and virtual story time.
Travel Back in Time
*Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford is offering a Facebook Live tour of its latest exhibit, “Pieces of American History: Connecticut Quilts,” as well as online exhibitions including “Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories.”
*Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine in East Granby is providing a virtual tour of its property, the first chartered copper mine in North America.
*Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown is hosting virtual history tours of the mansion every Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. on Facebook.
*Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic has created a digital museum with collections of videos, blogs and behind-the-scenes tours.
*Greenwich International Film Festival is hosting its first-ever Virtual Greenwich International Film Festival, May 1 to 3. This three-day event will include a selection of narrative and documentary features, the Connecticut Shorts program and exclusive interviews with film talent.
*Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam has created a Spotify playlist of soothing and inspirational showtunes.
*Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford is offering a new virtual mindfulness program including guided meditations and mindful movement.
“Connecticut has a reputation for innovation and we’re seeing that on display now as attractions across the state hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic utilize technology to meet residents and visitors at home,” said Randy Fiveash, director, Connecticut Office of Tourism. “We are hopeful that these virtual experiences will serve as a valuable resource — and a source of inspiration — for individuals and families, and help people stay connected with their favorite attractions until it’s time to visit again.”
Due to the rapidly evolving situation, details about specific offerings may change and should be verified regularly with individual properties.
“For those in a position to do so, there are ways to support tourism businesses now,” Fiveash said. “If there are particular attractions, lodging properties or restaurants you and your family love, I encourage you to contact them directly to find out how you can help.”
Also featured on www.CTvisit.com is a list of Connecticut restaurants, breweries, and wineries offering take-out and delivery services. Additional content supporting Connecticut’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive is available on the website and will be updated regularly.
About the Connecticut Office of Tourism
The Connecticut Office of Tourism, a division of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), is dedicated to enhancing the economic growth of Connecticut’s tourism industry. Together with its many state and industry partners, the Office of Tourism works to bolster the state’s reputation as a destination that offers a diverse mix of activities and attractions, all in close proximity to each other — from the exciting and relaxing to the historic and innovative to the culture and nature-focused.