NEW LONDON, Conn. – Riders on the water taxi service offered by the Thames River Heritage Park (TRHP) will now be able to continue their journey on land to historically significant sites courtesy of a free Groton bus shuttle, thanks in part from the support of the Submarine Force Museum Association and Friends of Fort Griswold.
“We want to give our water taxi riders a convenient way to visit all our Groton Bank sites including the Submarine Force Museum, which is not currently connected by water taxi,” said Amy Perry, the park’s executive director. It will also give those visiting the submarine force museum a convenient and fun way to see other historic sites.”
The Groton land shuttle is part of a stepped up effort to acquaint both visitors and local residents with the many historically important museums and sites on both sides of the river. The land service comes in anticipation of another significant change in 2020.
“Next year will be another story when our boats will be able to dock at our new landing right at the museum, thanks to funding from the Connecticut Port Authority, our partnership with the Museum and significant support from leadership at Naval Submarine Base New London.”
But for now, the land shuttle will take riders to the museum, along with Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park and Bill Memorial Library, Ebenezer Avery House, the National SubVets WWII Memorial East, which honors submariners who served in World War II and the Avery-Copp House.
The shuttle bus will do a one-hour hop-on loop between these stops on Saturdays between 10:40 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. in July and August. It will not operate on Sailfest weekend.
The land shuttle is part of the changes offered by the park that also include themed walking tours on both the east and west banks of the river. Details can be found on the park’s website, www.ThamesRiverHeritagePark.org.
The water taxis are authentic Navy vessels, known as liberty launches that provided ship to shore transportation for sailors when they pulled into a port without docking facilities. The water taxis, one named Groton, the other New London are a central feature of the park’s operation. Round trip taxi fares for adults are $10; $5 for children and active duty military (military ID required.) Children three and under ride free. Adult season passes are $50; $30 for children.
Water taxi rides after 6 p.m. are $5 for a two-stop ride between City Pier and Thames River landing.
Heritage sites within the Park in New London include, Fort Trumbull State Park, the Garde Arts Center, Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, the Hempsted Houses, Monte Cristo Cottage, and Lyman Allyn Museum. For more information on the park and the water taxi, visit www.thamesriverheritagepark.org.
The Thames River Heritage Park is sponsored by Groton Utilities, Atlantic Broadband, Hall Communications, The Day, The Resident, Thames Valley Communications, Crockers Boatyard, Garde Arts Center, and Cross Sound Ferry with additional support from the state of Connecticut, cities of New London and Groton and the Town of Groton.