Today is Saturday, June 22, 2024
Hop-on Hop-off Harbor Cruises are not running today.

Catherine Foley

April in the Park … NL Whalers in the Southern Ocean, David Sadaris, Mandy Patinkin & Kathryn Grody, Farmers Market, NL Restaurant Week, Youth Programs and more!

April in Thames River Heritage Park  

From New London “Whalers” in the Southern Ocean to Live Improv, David Sedaris Live and a Conversation with Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody; to Farmers Market and New London Restaurant Week, Family Nights, Community Yoga, Student  Performances and Art After Dark there’s so much to do during April in Thames River Heritage Park

#DiscovertheThames #VisitCT #ExploreNewLondon

Docent Academy II: New London’s Black Heritage Trail

New London’s Black Heritage Trail stands as a testament to three centuries of Black strength, resilience, and triumphs. Spanning fifteen sites, this trail not only commemorates nationally recognized figures and events but also pays homage to those nearly forgotten. Each site weaves a narrative that reflects the unwavering determination of New London’s Black community to overcome obstacles, showcasing personal courage and the establishment of institutions to address social, political, economic, and spiritual needs.

Working in collaboration with the City of New London Cultural District Commission, Curtis Goodwin (trail creator), and various heritage trail contributors and researchers, Thames River Heritage Park is delighted to introduce  Docent Academy II – New London’s Black Heritage Trail. This innovative training program aims to empower interpreters with the knowledge and skills to effectively convey the rich tapestry of African-American history in New London and beyond.

Our mission is rooted in preserving African American history, filling gaps where stories have been forgotten or lost and where rediscovery occurs due to the absence of written records. Collaborating with cultural preservationists, storytellers, and cultural training experts, our interpreters will serve as ambassadors, sharing these invaluable stories with schools and visitors to New London.

New London’s Black Heritage Trail, factual and family-friendly, offers a profound experience that goes beyond mere historical documentation. It strategically emphasizes the interconnectedness of our community, fostering a deep understanding of the roles played by New London’s Black residents in the larger narratives of enslavement, the Great Migration, the intersectionality with other races, and the ongoing struggle for civil rights.

By becoming an interpreter for New London’s Black Heritage Trail, you are investing in preserving African-American history and the education and enlightenment of present and future generations. Your contribution directly continues to unveil, preserve, and share these vital stories that contribute to the rich tapestry of New London’s cultural heritage.

This training program consists of a series of 3 workshops, each lasting 3 hours and taking place once a week over a span of 3 weeks. These sessions will delve into the intricacies of New London’s Black Heritage Trail (NLBHT) and feature comprehensive information coupled with guided walking tours of the trail’s sites.

Session 1
Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 11 AM – 2 PM
Introduction to New London’s Black Heritage Trail by Nicole Thomas and Tom Schuch, primary researchers.

Session 2
Saturday, June 1, 2024 | 1 PM – 4 PM
Exploration of Cultural Storytelling and Cultural Narratives by Tammy Denease, Hidden Women

Session 3
Saturday, June 8, 2024 | 11 AM – 2 PM
Walking the trail with Nicole Thomas and Tom Schuch

Session 4
Saturday, June 15, 2024 | 11 AM – 2 PM
Docent-led Interpretive Review with Nicole Thomas and Tom Schuch

All sessions will be held at Public Library of New London, 63 Huntington Street, New London, CT 06320

Stories from the Park: Island Affairs of the Thames

Inspired by “The Power of Place” in the Spring 2023 issue of Connecticut Explored, Thames River Heritage Park’s 2024 lecture series probes the historical impact and influence of the connections with islands near and far to the Thames River. Throughout the series the “power of place” will be explored from social, cultural, political, economic and ecological perspectives along with impact and influence on life on the Thames – historically and up to the present time.

Mariners, Whalers and Traders: Islands Connections to the Thames 
An evening of stories and songs with Geoff Kaufmann
January 3, 2024

Kinship, Trade and Culture: Eastern Long Island and the Thames
by Patricia Schaefer, New London County Historical Society
February 7, 2024

Connecticut’s Sweet Tooth: New London, the Sugar Trade, and Slavery in the West Indies
by Matt Warshauer, Central Connecticut State University
March 6, 2024

Bound for Desolation: Whalers and Sealers from the Thames
by Deborah Donovan, TRHP Director Emeritus
April 3, 2024

Whaling, Religion and Royalty: New London and Lahaina
by Stephen Manuel, New London County Historical Society
May 1, 2024


Series Pass – Limited Time Offer

Lecture Series Pass includes five receptions and lectures hosted in partnership with Lyman Allyn Art Museum. The number of passes are LIMITED and ONLY AVAILABLE through December 20, 2023. Reserve yours today!

TRHP + LAAM Members – $45
Non-member* – $65

New scavenger hunt brings family-friendly fun to discovering the Thames

Drive, bike, walk, or take a hop-on, hop-off harbor cruise on the water taxi with Thames River Heritage Park Scavenger Hunt to explore the heritage sites in New London and Groton. This family-friendly, youth-centric activity created by Lyman Allyn Art Museum team members Sophie Kyle, Intern, and Eileen Donovan, Director of Learning & Engagement for the Thames River Heritage Park program committee.

Follow these 5 easy steps to join the hunt:

  1. 1.  Find the recommended object or spot.
  2. 2.  Take a selfie.
  3. 3.  Post your pics to social media.
  4. 4.  Tag @ThamesRiverHeritagePark
  5. 5.  Tag the site in your photo.

You can print all pages of the hunt or just the first page to help keep track of your progress! Pair the hunt with the Thames River Heritage Park Map and Guide for more location details.

CT Open House Day on the Thames – June 10, 2023

Discover both the hidden and larger-than-life gems in Groton and New London during CT Open House Day.

Once a year on the 2nd Saturday in June, sites in Thames River Heritage Park host open houses in celebration of CT Open House Day. Start in Groton Heights or Downtown New London or Fort Trumbull State Park for a fun-filled day filled with special events, festivals, demonstrations, and guided tours. Take the City of New London shuttle to tour the sights, then hop on the water taxi to explore the sites across the river. New London Community Shuttle Map 2023

The special hop-on, hop-off harbor cruise/water taxi fare is $5 for all and is good for all day with promo code 2023CTOHD. Children ages 3 and under are free. 

Reserve your harbor cruise in advance or at the boat. The harbor cruise schedule flows in a continuous loop beginning at 11 AM and ending at 7 PM at Fort Trumbull State Park as follows::

  • Fort Trumbull State Park – on the hour
  • City Pier – 20 minutes after the hour
  • Thames Landing in Groton City – 40 minutes after the hour

BUY TICKETS  with promo code 2023CTOHD for $5 fare.

Just take a look at the specials and opportunities the Park has to offer you on Saturday.

  • Narrated Boat Tour: Submarines, Battlefields and Betrayers.
    The Military on the Thames.

    Saturday, June 10 | 4:05PM | City Pier, NEW LONDON
    From the vantage point of the river you‘ll understand the strategic value of this storied waterway and region and hear a few of the 1000 stories in the Park. For centuries our harbor has guarded the Thames River and entry to Long Island Sound, with Navy and Coast Guard installations, the ship building industries that support them, as well as two forts that have seen battles, defeats and the birthplace of the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. BUY TICKETS

  • Avery-Copp House Museum Neighborhood Celebration 
    Saturday, June 10 | 10AM-3PM
    Enjoy our special 18th Century theme. Meet a Revolutionary War soldier, see a historic fashion display, learn to play dulcimer music, and explore homemade herbal medicine! Take your own picture with our vintage paper moon photo prop, discover the fairy garden, and play old-fashioned games for children.

  • Fort Griswold Guided Tours / Monument Climb
    Saturday, June 10 | 10AM-3PM
    Friends of Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park will greet visitors to the Fort on CT Open House Day, Climb 166 steps to the top of the Groton Monument, tour the Monument Museum, or enjoy a guided tour of the battlefield at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Do some shopping for great books, mugs, patches, and other Fort Griswold memorabilia. ADMISSION – FREE

  • Custom House Maritime Museum Open House
    Saturday, June 10 | 10AM-5PM
    New London’s historic custom house at 150 Bank Street was designed by Robert Mills, one of the country’s first formally trained architects and built in 1833-35. It is now the home of the New London Maritime Society which curates a museum covering the city’s maritime history. For CT Open House Day the museum is offering free admission plus 10% off gift shop purchases (30% off for members). ADMISSION – FREE*

  • Fort Trumbull Visitor Center 
    Saturday, June 10 | 9AM-5PM
    Immerse yourself in an interactive history lesson at the visitor center or just walk the Fort and its ramparts for a view of the Thames River. A visit to Fort Trumbull has something for everyone including a boardwalk, fishing pier and hop-on, hop-off Harbor Cruises for visits to historic Downtown New London and historic Groton Bank. Grounds open dawn to dusk. ADMISSION – FREE*
  • Ebenezer Avery House Guided Tours
    Saturday, June 10 | 10AM-3PM
    Located at the base of Fort Griswold and a short walk from Thames River Landing where the water taxi docks, this 1750 circa home which became hospital of necessity after the Battle of fort Griswold is filled with period pieces that is sure to bring delight to all who enter. ADMISSION – FREE*
  • Lyman Allyn Art Museum Exhibits: American Perspectives, Tiffany In New London, Barkley Hendrick in New London, Small Wonders
    Saturday, June 10 | 10AM-5PM
    Explore the museum’s permanent collection exhibitions American Perspectives and Tiffany in New London, as well as our great summer shows Barkley L. Hendricks in New London and Small Wonders: Insects in Focus. Family centric exploration guides are free to pick up to help young learners enjoy the museum. ADMISSION – FREE*`

*Free Admission available on CT Open House Day – June 10, 2023.

This is the opportune time to visit the Thames: $5 harbor cruises, free admission to heritage sites and museums*, guided tours, complimentary shuttle to heritage sites in New London, and more. 

Get your harbor cruise ticket today for only $5 on CT Open House Day to visit Thames River Heritage Park’s sites on both sides of the river. Remember to use promo code 2023CTOHD at check-out.

See you in the Park!


View This Week in the Park – available on June 6 @ 8 AM – for more events in the Park.

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