Connecticut residents can take advantage of all the state park system has to offer this weekend.
Gov. Malloy and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have announced “Free State Parks Weekend” – waiving parking and museum fees across the state.
There are also various special events planned, such as a live reptile show Sunday at Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury, or nature and crafting programs at the Goodwin Conservation Center in Hampton and the Kellogg Environmental Center/Osborne Homestead Museum in Derby.
The weekend is part of an ongoing celebration of the state parks centennial. In 1913, the state formed a State Park Commission, which purchased its first five acres of land in Westport in 1914. That land would eventually become Sherwood Island State Park.
Many parks will offer a free brochure on the history of the state park system and historic photos of the parks.
Connecticut boasts over 32,000 acres of land across 107 state parks, all of which are participating. Even so, Malloy warned residents to expect a busy weekend.
“Many of our parks have been at or close to capacity on nice weekend days this summer,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. “I would urge residents to find and explore a park off the beaten path so they can take full advantage of this weekend.”
DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee suggested checking out the Connecticut State Parks Twitter feed for real-time information about parking capacity and special activities. He also cautioned residents to plan ahead.
“We do advise, however, that you arrive early if you plan to visit one of our beaches on Long Island Sound or an inland lake, as parking lots at those locations can reach capacity quickly,” he said.
More information about weekend events and tips on the best locations for activities at each park are available online.