Addressing the “whale” in the room as plans are being made to potentially change the site of the former children’s museum in West Hartford.
What’s going to happen to Conny the Whale?
“I remember as a younger person coming to the museum and climbing inside and stuff," Moe Provencher, of North Windham, said.
The memories remain for Provencher seeing Conny the Whale - the 60-foot life-size replica of a sperm whale, located in front of the former children’s museum in West Hartford.
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“Inside Conny, we’d go inside and there’s a little hole in the mouth and stick our hands through there and people outside would see,” Provencher said.
The whale was built 45 years ago by members of Cetacean Society International (CSI) to educate the public about these majestic creatures.
“Whales are still endangered. Sperm whales are still very much endangered, so the reason to build Conny was to make public a statement, not to allow whales to go extinct,” David Kaplan, president of CSI, said.
But now Conny faces extinction. With the children’s museum now moved and the building slated for different development, Conny can’t stay.
“There is no Plan B, so unless we save Conny, move Conny and find a home for Conny, Conny will be bulldozed,” Kaplan said.
He and other members took initiative and spearheaded a plan to move the whale with a spot by Trout Brook a possibility.
“I can envision it becoming a whale park. A piece of the greenway could be the whale trail, a whale park and people once again can enjoy Conny, but also learn from Conny,” Kaplan said.
The group set up a GoFundMe to raise funds to potentially move the whale this winter. Over $6,500 has been raised in more than a month.
“I hope $250,000 can be raised. I hope we don’t spend it all on just moving the whale because there’s so much more to this project,” he said.
A project Provencher hopes becomes a reality for future generations.
“I hope they get the same fun I did running around inside and screaming and having this really big whale to play with,” she said.
If you’re interested in making a donation, a link to the GoFundMe can be found here.