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Its breathtaking beauty, from Bear Mountain to Long Island Sound, and the proximity to large East Coast urban centers, make Connecticut a popular weekend destination for families, couples and those seeking solitude.

Here are the best things to do in CT today. This charming Connecticut seaside village is a focused on its glorious maritime past. Visitors can explore the magical Mystic Seaport , a beautifully recreated 19th-century village with its tall ships, or visit the Mystic Aquarium which is home to seals, beluga whales and dolphins.

The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat adventure is a two and a half hour trip through the picturesque Connecticut River Valley, called "one of the last great places on Earth" by the Nature Conservancy.

The trip starts at the historic Essex Station. The train will take you to Deep River Landing, where you board the Becky Thatcher riverboat for the one and a quarter-hour pleasant cruise along the Connecticut River, pass Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle and beautiful landscape on both sides of the river.

It is a great example of early use of normally industrial materials such as steel and glass in home design. The Glass House is one of 14 structures located on the verdant acre property that today features a permanent collection of significant 20th-century sculptures and paintings, as well as occasional temporary exhibitions.

The property is a National Trust Historic Site. The site is open and tours are available from May to November. The house became the core of what is known as the Lyme Art Colony, the most famous American summer art colony and the home of American Impressionism.

The most significant collection at the museum is the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection which includes oils, 31 paper works and two sculptures. The three hangars of the museum display over 65 aircraft, from the early pioneering flight eras to modern jet planes, as well as helicopters and ultra-light aircraft.

There is a large exhibit of aircraft engines spanning the history of flight, a good-sized display focusing on the history of commercial aviation, and educational videos for children and adults. There is an emphasis on interactive exhibits at the museum, with a flight simulator, cockpits in which visitors can sit and test out the controls, and hands-on activities and interactive games for children. Visitors can even watch aircraft being restored.

The museum has a gift shop. It includes European, non-Western and American decorative and fine art. Some of the most significant artworks are American 19th-century paintings, European 17th-centuryartworks on paper and contemporary works of art. The museum organizes educational programs for visitors of all ages. The museum today holds more than 50, works of art covering more 5, years of human history.

Morgan What was once a mighty 2, ships-strong American whaling fleet, consists today of only one ship: This magnificent tall ship was launched in from the Jethro and Zachariah Hillman yard in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

At almost feet long and with a beam about 27 feet wide, the ship carries 7, square feet of sail and used to sail with 35 sailors from around the world. The cramped, stifling hot quarters for officers and men were below the deck. After five years of restoration, the Charles W. Mystic Seaport, 75Greenmanville Ave. Today it is a museum, best known for its major French Impressionist masterpieces, which hosts art collected by Pope and his daughter.

The house remains as it was when Theodate lived in it, and 19 rooms are open to the public. It is furnished with magnificent paintings, prints, art pieces, furniture and.

An Amusement Park in Bristol Lake Compounce , continuously-operating since its opening in , is the oldest North American amusement park offering acres of pure family fun. The park has over 50 attractions and exciting rides for the entire family, including Boulder Dash, the best wooden coaster in the world.

The park offers food of all kinds for every taste. Osprey, cranes, herons, and mute swans make their homes here, no doubt attracted by the herring spawning grounds on the coast.

Salt water fishing is permitted, and the catch is usually mackerel, blackfish, flounder, and striped bass. The park has a site campground, showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and a seasonal lifeguard. With several opportunities for hands-on exploration of sea animals, visitors here get a rare up-close look at the creatures of Long Island Sound. Touch pools feature sharks, rays, jellyfish, sea stars, hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, and whelks. The aquarium replicates a salt marsh and a river woodland environment and displays the animals who dwell in them.

Other popular displays contain meerkats, frogs, and toads, and a delightful tankful of baby sharks. Low Illustration Collection includes important works by Norman Rockwell. Groups of eight people or more can participate in hour-long docent-led guided tours, and the museum welcomes school groups, early childhood groups, and has resources for homeschooling. The museum, housed in the neo-Tudor Bendel Mansion, contains collections of American art, natural history, artifacts of Native American art and culture, and a display of farming implements.

The ten acre farm incorporates barns, a maple sugar house, and dozens of farm animals, including chickens, pigs, and cows. Along the nature trails visitors may spot red foxes, white tailed deer, salamanders and toads, woodpeckers, Eastern bluebirds, and wood ducks.

The property maintains a pond inhabited by river otters, and has an observatory with a inch telescope, where monthly astronomy talks and guided star gazing take place. The museum and nature center offer tours, educational programs, and summer camps. PEZ dispensers have become part of American pop culture and reflect the times, as new character heads are developed to keep up with current trends. The Visitor Center has been open since , and offers self-guided tours, a display of historic advertisements, viewing windows to watch the manufacturing process, and videos which show the candy being made.

Scavenger hunts and bingo games make this a fun visit for adults and children alike. School and other groups of more than ten persons can enjoy a candy-making demonstration. The museum is famed for its collection of over vintage transit vehicles, and its diverse collection of equipment, photographs, documents, and artifacts related to the history of the Trolley era.

Visitors to the museum may take a ride on a vintage trolley through scenic salt marsh surroundings, and for an extra fee, may drive a trolley car. The museum is home to replicas of important hominid skeletons, such as the Turkana Boy, the most complete early hominid ever found, and a set of footprints, 3. The mammalian evolution and dinosaur halls are highly popular, and contain full-sized fossils of a mastodon, a brontosaurus, and a stegosaurus.

The Discovery Room is a great place for children aged , and has touchable specimens and hands-on activities.

Quassy Amusement Park Photo: It is home to the decommissioned U. Completed in , it was the first ship to go to the North Pole, and had a long and varied service life. Audio-guided tours of the submarine are available; visitors who dislike close quarters and tight spaces are advised not to take this tour. The museum is full of interactive displays, which give visitors a chance to try out a periscope, and contain artifacts, documents, and photographs related to United States Submarine Force history.

Beardsley Zoo The Beardsley Zoo is a small attraction geared mainly for children. It is dedicated to the preservation of endangered species, and contains mostly North and South American animals. The zoo is home to several endangered species, including the Andean condor, the Siberian tiger, the ocelot, the golden lion tamarin, and the giant anteater.

A tropical rainforest zone takes visitors into the humid climate that supports its monkeys and tropical birds. Visitors may ride on the back of a camel, or pet the animals in the barnyard area.

The zoo has a carousel, an eatery, a gift shop, and is available for birthday parties. Beardsley Zoo also has an educational program that can be accessed on or off-site.

Along with the usual fascinating tanks of colorful sea-dwellers, the aquarium has unique offerings. The Arctic Coast exhibit brings visitors up close to beluga whales, the African penguin exhibit shows off many of these critically-endangered little birds, and the frog exhibit houses more than thirty species of frogs from all over the world.

Visitors will love the sea lion show in the marine theater, will have an opportunity to touch lizards, snakes, and American alligators in the Reptile Encounter room, and to marvel and shriek in the 4D theatre.

Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, lived here with his wife and three daughters from , and it was here that Twain wrote his beloved major works, including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

The three-story twenty-five room house is representative of fine Gothic architecture, and visitors may take docent-guided tours of rooms including the grand hall, the grand library, the elegant glass conservatory, and the billiards room where Twain did his writing.

Living history tours are also available; these are led by docents in period costume, and give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the house.

Seasonal ghost tours and murder-mystery tours add to the delightful offerings of this beautiful historic home. The museum seeks to bring those studies to life, through exhibits, dioramas, videos, films, and artifacts, and through a life-sized recreated Native village which visitors can walk through.

One gallery is dedicated to Native American arts and crafts. It has 5, square feet of space, including an outdoor play space, and is designed to encourage, challenge and engage children to explore sciences, art and cultures of the world. Some of the most popular rooms are the Discovery Room with activities focused on science, the Imaginative Play room, where children can ride a fishing boat or fly a plane, and an outdoor play area with a tree house, climbing wall and whale drum.

There is also a special Toddler Land for younger guests. The museum hopes to connect visitors to contemporary art using hands-on workshops, tours, and presentations, and by on-site and classroom programs. Guided tours of the museum are presented by curators and artists, and take visitors through the two-story building that houses the museum.

It has vast collections and curates special exhibits. The museum has particularly fine collections of early Italian art, African sculpture, and is considered to have the best collection in the world of American decorative arts. Its modern art collection contains works by such luminaries as Picasso, Degas, Rothko, Miro, and Giacometti.

Other collections include coins and medals, Asian art, Indo-Pacific art, Islamic art, and photography. The museum provides educational programs for university students, for New Haven schools, and for the general public.


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