Happenings Lifestyle Reader Contributed

‘Whale of a Year’ Celebration Kicks of at The New Children’s Museum

Events celebrating Conny the whale’s 40th birthday begin May 31 at The New Children’s Museum in West Hartford.

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Submitted by Jennifer Toone

Conny the Whale is a beloved mascot and landmark of The New Children’s Museum. Next summer, Conny turns 40 years old!

In celebration of the Sperm Whale being named the Connecticut State Mammal in May 1975, and the construction and dedication of Conny in June 1976, a yearlong celebration of programming and events will be hosted by The New Children’s Museum and Cetacean Society International (CSI), previously Connecticut Cetacean Society.

Events will showcase both The New Children’s Museum and Cetacean Society International, demonstrating their vital roles within the State of Connecticut.

The Year of Conny will launch on Sunday, May 31, with a family-focused celebration featuring art crafts for kids, storytelling, Conny videos, and CSI presentations. Weather permitting, activities will be held outdoors and families are welcome to bring a picnic and blanket.

Conny is a life-size replica of a sperm whale, the State Animal of Connecticut since May 1975. The 60-foot long whale, built between 1975 and 1976, was the result of thousands of hours of volunteer labor and donated material. Made up of cement and iron, Conny is an icon in the West Hartford community, and an example of what a group of dedicated individuals can accomplish.

Conny represents all whales, as well as the region’s centuries old history of whaling. Almost four decades later, Conny continues to amaze visitors of all ages. He also serves to educate and encourage individuals to help save the sperm whale.

Founded locally in 1974, Cetacean Society International is an all-volunteer, non-profit conservation, education research organization working on behalf of cetaceans and their environment. Cetaceans are an order of marine animals that include whales, dolphins and porpoises.

As part of the collaboration, CSI will be holding their bi-monthly meetings at the museum with public programming held before each.

For more information, visit www.thechildrensmuseumct.org/year-of-conny.

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