Connecticut - The Nutmeg State, the Constitution State, The Provisions State. Nestled between Long Island Sound, NY, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, this beautiful little state offers many things to do! Whether traveling with children or just the adults, there is much to see and do. Connecticut has 183 nature trails and parks, 115 museums and 198 sites and landmarks to visit and see. Whether visiting Hartford, Connecticut’s capital city, or one of the surrounding towns of New Haven, Stamford, Milford or Bridgeport, you won’t be bored!
History and Museums
Connecticut holds a lot of history as it is one of the first colonies in North America. Discovered by Adriaen Block in 1614, there is much to learn. Hartford is the Capitol of Connecticut, and there are many museums allowing a visitor the opportunity to soak up as much of the history as he or she can handle.
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art was the very first public art museum in the United States. The museum features 50,000 pieces of art and holds the most extensive collection of Hudson River School paintings (named as such because the paintings depict the Hudson River Valley and surrounding area) in the world. The Museum's decor is beautiful as well as historic with Pilgrim-era furnishings and European and American art.
The Mark Twain House and Museum was the home to America’s most celebrated author, Samuel Clements (also known as Mark Twain) and his family from 1874 to 1891. Clemens lived here when he wrote his famous books, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and more. The Museum has an exhibition on Twain’s life and work, a lush glass conservatory, a library, and a grand hall. There is also a Mark Twain store and café and patio area. Anyone who is familiar with Clements’ work shouldn’t miss this beautiful museum.
If museums are not high on your priority list, why not visit the Connecticut State Capitol? There is a tour of the Capitol available, and you can visit the Hall of Flags. If you have the right timing, you may even experience a session with the state senate and house of representatives.
If you’re a sports fan, why not check out Dunkin’ Donuts Park? It’s Connecticut’s home for both professional and college baseball games. Listed as one of the best ballparks in the country for Minor League baseball, it's a must-see for the sports enthusiast. The atmosphere is family and fan-oriented, and in season, you will find many special events.
Although some may feel it’s morbid, visiting the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford offers not only beautifully kept grounds, but a lot of history. Some headstones date back as early as 1580. Buried here are five early Connecticut governors, Hartford founders Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone, Jeremiah Wadsworth who was the Commissary General of the Continental Army and Daniel Gardiner, the first white child born in Connecticut. If it is the history you are seeking, you will undoubtedly find it in this quiet resting place.
Now that you've filled your day with the vast array of places to visit, why not enjoy some of Connecticut’s fantastic nightlife? Comix Mohegan Sun is not only a great place to enjoy good food, craft beers, and cocktails, but a great show as well. Comix showcases some of the best local comedic talent as well as national headliners. In addition to enjoying great food and drink, you can partake in some good laughs, play board games and listen to music. You won’t be disappointed in this enjoyable way to spend an evening.
Do you enjoy good jazz music? The Side Door in East Lyme, CT is the place to go. The club is intimate with only 75 seats, but everyone will have a great listening experience. Because it’s a small club, you are open to interact with the artists during their breaks of after the show. If you care to make a night of it, head to the Inn for dinner before heading to the venue. If you do, you will enjoy a 10% discount on tickets.
Children as visitors
If you are traveling with children, there is much to see and do to keep them entertained! KidCity Children’s Museum in Middletown, CT is a great place to take the little ones. The museum offers many themed rooms and hands-on experiences for young children. They can learn, play and explore while visiting this museum. There is even an experience where children can dress up and “perform on T.V.” It’s a great place to take the kids on a cold, rainy Connecticut day!
If the weather is nice and you want to take your kids to spend some time outside, visit the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. The Center is on 118 acres and is home to Heckscher Farm, which is an 18-acre working farm. There is also an otter pond, Nature’s Playground; Animal Embassy and Stamford Observatory. If you like to hike, this center boasts more than 80 acres of hiking trails. After visiting the Stamford Nature Center, a good night’s sleep will be had by all!
For the maritime enthusiasts, Mystic Seaport Museum is a great place to visit! Founded in 1929, this Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels including America’s oldest commercial ship. It is also home to the last wooden whaleship in the world. Not only will you get to see historic vessels, but there is a recreated 19th-century coastal village, artifact storage facilities, and a working shipyard. Be sure to visit this attraction on a beautiful day as you will be doing a lot of walking outside. There are historic houses and gardens to visit, eateries, and gift shops as well. Plan to spend an entire day at Mystic Seaport Museum!
The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is a must-see for families with small children. They can interact and touch jellyfish, stingrays and small sharks. Visitors can also observe seal feeding, an IMAX movie and a fun show about diving with sharks. There is even a play area allowing little ones to run off some excess energy. If you don’t want to eat at the Aquarium’s eatery, there are plenty of restaurants near the Aquarium.
For a comprehensive list of all available sites and attractions in Connecticut, visit TripAdvisor. Have fun!