NEW LONDON, Conn. – “Submarines, Battlefields and Betrayers: Military Stories on the Thames” will be the latest themed tours to be offered by the Thames River Heritage Park, starting July 20 and continuing through Aug. 25.
“This new tour is an exciting addition to the park experience,” said Amy Perry, the park’s executive director. “The Thames River has seen its share of historic happenings, some of them going back to the very founding of our country. We plan to highlight them and others.”
As the name suggests, the 90-minute boat tour will deal with a variety of topics. These range from the role submarines have played here, to the Revolutionary War’s battle of Groton Heights and the general role of the navy and coast guard here.
All tours leave from City Pier behind New London’s Union Station. The tours on Saturdays leave at 4:30 p.m., while their Sunday counterparts depart at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under, and may be obtained through www.thamesriverheritagepark.org.
Retired Navy Captain Paul Whitescarver and former Groton City Mayor Marion Galbraith will narrate the first tour.
The Thames River region is rich in military history, with museums and heritage sites on both the Groton and New London banks that highlight important periods in our nation’s history and the role our ancestors played in it. The Thames River Heritage Park is dedicated to supporting the effort to keep these stories alive.
The water taxis used in the tours 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. Appropriately, one is named Groton, the other New London. They are a central feature of the park’s operation.
“There’s really so much history and getting out on the water in our genuine navy utility boat gives riders a different perspective,” Perry said.
In addition to the themed tours, conducted both on the boats and in walking tours on the land, the Heritage Park offers regular Friday – Sunday 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.
For more information on the park and the water taxi, visit www.thamesriverheritagepark.org.