CT Open House Day offers free, reduced admission at scores of attractions for state residents

Anyone who visits one of Connecticut’s art, cultural, science and historical attractions is supporting a very important industry — one that generates $14.7 billion in annual revenue.

It’s Connecticut’s thriving tourism industry, explains Randy Fiveash, director of the state’s Office of Tourism in a recent chat. Fiveash said the state’s plethora of tourism offerings is extraordinary — and wants Connecticut residents to be able to visit them for free or reduced admission.

“Connecticut started this program — Open House Day — 14 years ago to encourage residents to explore their own backyard” and to be proud of all its diverse attractions for both adults and children, he said.

More Information

For a list of participating facilities, visit bit.ly/2s8af9J

The annual event is always on the second Saturday of June — this year on June 9. All attractions are invited to participate; this year about 230 across the state will welcome Connecticut residents with free admission or other special promotions. A variety of facilities, such as art museums, kids’ centers and historical homes, are giving residents the impetus to finally visit attraction they’ve been meaning to tour.

All of the participants are listed online at: bit.ly/2s8af9J

Here’s a sampling of some of the offers:

At the SportsCenter of Connecticut, in Shelton, adults and children can try their hand at one free activity from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., such as at mini-golf and a practice batting cage.

In Orange, free admission from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., is offered at the child-friendly PEZ Visitor Center.

In New Haven, the historic Pardee-Morris House will feature activities from noon to 4 p.m.; the Yale Center for British Art (admission is always free) will offer special tours at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.

At the Stamford Museum & Nature Center, free admission for the first 100 visitors will be given to those who mention Open House Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In Bridgeport, there is free admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Barnum Museum and discounts for shoppers at the historic Arcade Mall, both on Main Street in downtown.

Mystic Aquarium offers $6 off general admission, good for up to four guest when residents mention Open House Day, from 9 a.m. to 5:50 p.m.

In Danbury, free art receptions, with light refreshments, will be presented at three Danbury galleries: Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut & Workspace Collective, Art & Frame of Danbury and at Gallery at Still River Editions.

Derby’s Osborne Homestead Museum will offer free tours of its Japanese woodblock prints and Asian art collection.

In Hartford, there is a variety of attractions that are offering free admission, including the Butler-McCook House & Garden, the Connecticut Old State House and the Wadsworth Atheneum art museum.

At Fairfield Museum & History Center, which covers much of Fairfield County, admission is free from 10 .a.m. to 4 p.m., with activities/exhibits for children and adults alike. At the Connecticut Audubon Society Center, a free birding program takes place from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

In Greenwich, the Bruce Museum of arts and science will be open free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the Greenwich Historical Society is open from noon to 4 p.m.

pasboros@ctpost.com; Twitter: @PhyllisASBoros