Enter to win every day in CTNOW's 21 Days of Summer Giveaways. Click here to see today's prize.
Family Fun
Family Fun

No Fees Charged At State Parks This Weekend

HARTFORD — No one's going to have to pay to get into a state park this weekend as Connecticut marks the 100th anniversary of the state park system.

"To encourage everyone to visit a state park this Centennial year, we are waiving fees at our parks this Saturday and Sunday," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement issued Wednesday. "We will not charge the usual parking fees, and we will not collect admission fees at state park museums."

Parking or entrance fees are normally charged at 26 state parks and three state park museums, according to Dennis Schain, spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

State officials normally expect to collect about $120,000 in parking and admission fees during a regular summer weekend with good weather, Schain said.

The state routinely charges for parking at state parks, and admission fees are charged at museums at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, Fort Trumbull in New London and Gillette Castle in East Haddam.

The state is also putting on some programs for the free-parks weekend, including:

•A live reptile show Sunday at Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury.

•Tours at Gillette Castle, Fort Trumbull, Heublein Tower at Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury, and the mansion at Harkness Memorial State in Waterford.

•Craft and nature programs at the Goodwin Conservation Center in Hampton and at Kellogg Environmental Center and Osborne Homestead Museum in Derby.

DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee urged people hoping to visit one of the big shoreline or inland lake parks to "arrive early … as parking lots at those locations can reach capacity quickly."

Klee also suggested residents visit some of the lesser-known state parks "to avoid possible crowds."

Connecticut's state park system made its first purchase of land for public use in 1914 when a 5-acre parcel was bought for what would eventually become Sherwood Island State Park. Today, 107 state parks in Connecticut cover 32,000 acres. An estimated 8 million people visit state parks each year, according to the DEEP.

The state normally charges $9 for parking at state parks with inland beaches — such as Stratton Brook in Simsbury, Bigelow Hollow in Union, Gay City in Hebron and Wharton Brook in Wallingford. Parking fees on regular weekends at shoreline parks — including Hammonassett, Rocky Neck and Sherwood Island — are ordinarily $13 a vehicle.

For more information about the free parks weekend, go to www.ct.gov/freestateparksweekend.

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
Related Content
  • Hikes In Connecticut

    Hikes In Connecticut

    Outdoor enthusiasts Peter Marteka and Steve Grant have been sharing their hikes with Courant readers for years, and we've gathered some of their far-reaching Connecticut adventures for you here.

  • Waterfalls To Gush Over In Connecticut

    Waterfalls To Gush Over In Connecticut

    By ALAINE GRIFFIN | The Hartford CourantWith two young family members by her side, Leanna Iamunno walked along Indian Well Road in Shelton on a recent sunny June day in search of one of Connecticut's treasures. West of the roadway, Iamunno found what she was looking for after a short trek into...

  • Giant Slide The City Slipping Into Hartford

    Giant Slide The City Slipping Into Hartford

    More than 3,500 people will relive a little bit of their childhoods on a giant scale as they slip and slide for 1,000 feet down Trinity Street in Hartford when Slide the City comes to town Saturday, Aug. 22.

  • A Madison Daycation: A Beach, A Bookstore, A Beautiful Hotel

    A Madison Daycation: A Beach, A Bookstore, A Beautiful Hotel

    Downtown Madison, Connecticut, has the feel of a beach town, though the beach itself is nearly 2 miles away. In addition to shops and restaurants, the town has one of the best independent bookstores in the state and a century-old independent movie theater.

  • Caribbean and Jerk Fest Returns To The Riverfront

    Jamaican reggae artist Luciano, Barbadian jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman, the music and dance troop Iroko Nuevo and other Caribbean-style performers head to Mortensen Riverfront Plaza on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 1 to 11 p.m. for the 10th annual Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival.

  • 10 Tips For The Best Summer Runs

    10 Tips For The Best Summer Runs

    Summer is a great time for running in Connecticut — outside of the heat and humidity, the swarms of mosquitoes and flies and the crowds trying to enjoy this short-lived season of sunshine. Besides that, it's great getting a chance to lay down the ear warmers and unearth those tank tops. But once...

  • Sounds Of Mexico Come To Old State House Farmer's Market

    Sounds Of Mexico Come To Old State House Farmer's Market

    The sounds of Mexico, along with dancing, hand-clapping and maraca-shaking, come to the Old State House Farmers Market. Fiesta del Norte, Connecticut's first mariachi band, performs on Friday, July 31, at noon at Connecticut's Old State House, 800 Main St., Hartford.

  • Sunflower Maze Returns To Lyman Orchards

    Sunflower Maze Returns To Lyman Orchards

    Dinosaurs return to the fields of Lyman Orchards in Middlefield when its annual sunflower maze opens Saturday, Aug. 1. This year's maze, approximately three acres, is shaped like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.