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Connecticut Zoos And Aquariums Take Different Approaches On Reopening

Steven Snodgrass
Wikimedia Commons


Mystic Aquarium is among the Connecticut attractions reopening this week. The aquarium has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety and Security Director Nate Fague says visitors can expect a slightly different experience. For one thing, the state’s rules only allow for open-air museums. So visitors will only be able to see the animals that live outdoors.

“Beluga whales, a variety of seals and sea lions, and the penguins will be open as well as our outdoor marsh track, where visitors can see animals that are native to southeastern Connecticut.”

Visitors will have to reserve tickets in advance — they’re limited to two hours at a time — and the aquarium is running at half capacity.

The aquarium’s offering free admission to health care workers, first responders, grocery and pharmacy employees on Thursday — the day before its opens to the public.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo says it’ll reopen June 1, more than a week after state regulations allow it to do so.

Zoo Director Gregg Dancho says the zoo is taking extra time to put in more safety measures to protect visitors from COVID-19 exposure. Masks are required, and the zoo says groups should stay six feet apart.

“I think a lot of the animals are looking forward to people coming back. Just anecdotally me walking around the zoo, you can see a lot of the animals are more aware of people now, because they just haven’t seen anybody for quite a while now.”

Dancho says nothing’s changing about the animals, although he says there’ll be more space between visitors and big cats, due to cases of COVID-19 found in tigers at the Bronx Zoo in April.

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Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.
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