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June Is National Zoo And Aquarium Month



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National Zoo and Aquarium Month is June, and as the weather warms up, it’s a perfect time to plan a day trip to one of the state’s local aquariums and zoos.

All around the country, parks are gearing up for visitors. They offer educational and fun programs all year round regarding the wildlife they support.

Trips to a local zoo or aquarium are fun for the whole family and educational chances to meet and greet wildlife both familiar and new.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan officially designated the month of June as National Zoo and Aquarium Month. This annual celebration highlights the vital role of zoos and aquariums in the conservation and protection of animals and marine life.

Nationaldaycalendar.com suggests the following ways to celebrate the month:

Many zoos offer passes that are good at other wildlife parks and aquariums across the country.

Learn about vanishing habitats and conservation while visiting the wildlife parks.

Check out their rehabilitation programs and learn how zoologists and veterinarians help injured animals return to the wild.

Sponsor one of your favorite creatures! Many programs offer a way to help support the wildlife we enjoy most, especially those that are endangered.

Speaking of endangered species, learn about reduced populations and find out which ones are making comebacks.

Which zoos have nurseries? Several wildlife programs pair up to create conservative breeding programs to help create a sustainable population. Ask if your zoo participates in Species Survival Plans.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, located at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, is the only Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoo in the state of Connecticut. The zoo includes one of the few carousels in the state. The zoo has around 500 animals, from over 100 species, and welcomes about 280,000 visitors a year.

This Saturday, June 1, is the zoo’s Wild Wine, Beer & Food Safari. Marquee exhibits at Beardsley Zoo include their North American river otters, spider monkeys, and red pandas.

Nearby attractions include Silver Sands State Park, The Adventure Park at The Discovery Museum, and Two Roads Brewing Company.

The nearest aquarium is the Maritime Aquarium of Norwalk. Built as part of the South Norwalk Revitalization Project in the mid-1970s, the aquarium is now one of the largest attractions in Connecticut within 100 miles of New York City.

Marquee exhibits include Life Among the Grasses, Meerkats, and Pinniped Cove, home to the aquarium’s harbor seals.

The aquarium features harbor seals, river otters, sharks, jellyfish, loggerhead turtles, and hundreds of other animals living in re-creations of their natural Long Island Sound habitats. Three touch-tanks feature stingrays, nurse sharks, crabs, sea stars, moon jellyfish and other coastal creatures.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, 10 North Main Street, Norwalk, is in the heart of the historic waterfront neighborhood of South Norwalk, affectionately called SoNo. This busy area is alive with boutiques, cafes, and eclectic shops by day; movie theaters, nightclubs and fine restaurants by night. SoNo’s eateries and shops are just a short walk from the Aquarium.

For those looking for a longer trip, then the Mystic Aquarium, 55 Coogan Boulevard, Mystic, is the ticket. Opened in 1973, it is one of only two US facilities holding Steller sea lions, and it has the only beluga whales in New England.

Current exhibits include its Dino-Seas exhibit, its shark tank, and its seal shows.

Mystic Aquarium holds six beluga whales (Juno, Natasha, Kela and three more), four Steller sea lions, six northern fur seals (two adult and four pups), six California sea lions, one Pacific and seven Atlantic harbor seals, two Arctic spotted seals, a large colony of 31 African penguins, unicorn fish, blue tang, octopus, Japanese spider crabs, sand tiger sharks, bamboo sharks, sea turtle, clownfish, an extensive sea jelly exhibit, seasonal birds, and other oceanic creatures.

Other attractions in the area include the Mystic Seaport Museum, Olde Mistick Village, and 20 minutes away in neighboring Niantic, the Book Barn, which is kind of like being able to go to the C.H. Booth Library book sale any time you please, if you don’t mind driving an hour and a half to get there.

Those are some of the opportunities here in Connecticut, if looking beyond the borders of the state, and at longer trips, there are many more.

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