Museum Of Natural And Other Curiosities
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Are you beginning to notice a theme?
Although there are many reasons Connecticut is one of the most beautiful states, it is also home to museums by the hundred.
Unique museums like the Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities are one of many reasons Connecticut has so much stuff to do.
This gem of a museum is situated in downtown Hartford in the Old State House.
Opened in 1797 by a famous painter who had a personal collection of unusual collectibles, the museum was borne of his desire to share his oddities with his community.
Home to freakish rarities, exotic stuffed animals, a two-headed calf, rare insects and skeletons, and a wide assortment of sideshow sights, the museum has been drawing crowds for decades.
Best of all, this quirky pitstop on your visit to Connecticut is one of many free things to do in the museum-laden state of Connecticut.
Address: 800 Main St, Hartford, CT 06103, United States
Swim Or Scuba Dive In Candlewood Lake
What better way to spend a day than on the water? Boasting more than 3,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, Connecticut is a great place to practice your cannonball. At 16 miles in length and 8.4 square miles in size, Candlewood Lake is one of the state’s largest and arguably most beautiful lakes.
Scuba diving is another popular activity. While the visibility is often low, there are a ton of interesting artifacts to be found on the lakebed.
Music Mountain: String Quartets And Jazz At A Hidden Gem
To honor the 250th anniversary of Haydns pioneering Sun quartets, this summers theme at Music Mountain is Here Comes The Sun! The six Sun quartets will be performed in conjunction with pre-concert talks and workshops. Composer Alexandra du Bois also will present her new string quartet in response to Haydns Opus 20 quartets.
West Cornwall artist Duncan Hannah has created two collage prints to celebrate the theme, which will be on sale to raise money for Music Mountain, tucked away on 90-plus acres in the hills of Falls Village.
Other highlights of the season, under the direction of Oskar Espina-Ruiz, include the Rolston String Quartet playing Haydn and Brahms the Balourdet Quartet performing works by Haydn, Wolf and Dvorak Cuarteto Latinoamericano playing Mozart, Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos and more the Arianna String Quartet performing Haydn and Brahms the Ulysses Quartet playing Haydn and Elgar the Harlem Quartet performing Beethoven and Brahms the Ariel Quartet playing Mozart and Schumann the Daedalus Quartet performing Haydn and Dohnanyi and the Jupiter String Quartet playing Haydn and Tchaikovsky, among other performers and composers works. In each case, quartets are joined by special guest artists.
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Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds
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Sculpture Grounds is home to a vibrant landscape of art and artists whose work comes alive with the backdrop of natures beauty.
The displayed sculptures are the work of dedicated house artists who fabricate their pieces from Studio 80.
With over 100 sculptures displayed in gardens and courtyards, a tour of the grounds is site seeing at its best.
The sculptures encompass nearly 5 acres of land that are beautifully landscaped and tended to, making the juxtaposition of sculpted art against natural elements a sight to behold.
Tours of the grounds are self-guided, however, the park provides guiding maps in boxes scattered throughout the property.
The property is open daily year-round and best of all, a visit here is one of a few free things to do in Connecticut.
The property has a picnic area and cafe, so you can plan to make a day of your visit to Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.
A visit here is a site seeing experience you wont want to miss.
Address: 80 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371, United States
Even More Uniquely Connecticut Activities
There are plenty more attractions, activities, and things to do throughout the Land of Steady Habits.
And even if some of these activities are doable in other states, Connecticut offers its own unique spin on all of them.
Our state even offers a unique spin on dog-friendly activities in Connecticut.
Our state has played host to artistic minds for millenia.
And Connecticuts museums, from Hartford to New Haven, Greenwich to Stonington house many of these native-born treasures.
Explore the bucolic life on Connecticut farms
Farms in Connecticut have stood the test of time. Today, small farms remain a rarity in other parts of the country, but theyre doing quite well here in New England.
Some farms have been in operation since the 1700s. Others are recent additions, thanks to the resurgence of interest in local food.
Help support local Connecticut farms while enjoying such bucolic activities as:
- Enjoying a glass of wine and the scenery at top Connecticut wineries
- Even downing a glass of locally-brewed beer on patios of Connecticut breweries
Few other states offer beaches lining one of the largest estuaries in the world .
The result is that Connecticut beaches are wonderfully safe and calm. And because theyre not as famous as the beaches in other states, theyre also much calmer and quieter.
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Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
This unique art museum houses no permanent collections but rather functions as a gallery space for traveling art exhibits, so no two visits are alike. Visitors applaud the well-curated rotating displays, as well as the two-acre outdoor sculpture garden, but mention it isn’t a great spot to bring kids. The museum sits on a pretty green space just a few blocks from the center of the suburban town of Ridgefield, the first city in Connecticut to receive a Cultural District designation.
Located in the town’s historic district, the 17,000-square-foot facility blends old and new with its traditional Colonial architecture juxtaposing the ultra-modern and contemporary artwork found inside. A half-mile walk will deliver you to the West Lane Inn, a boutique bed and breakfast. Admission ticket prices range from $7 to $12, but on the third Saturday of the month admission is free.
Address: 258 Main St., Ridgefield, CT 06877
Visit The Former House Of Mark Twain
The iconic novelist lived in this beautiful American High Gothic-style Hartford home from 1874 to 1891. It’s where he wrote “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court.” The , restored and maintained as a museum, is now considered a National Historic Landmark. Come to explore the grounds, learn about Twain’s legacy, and participate in regular activities, lectures, and educational programs.
Doug Kerr / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Chester, Connecticut, is an old mill town whose single-block Main Street is flanked by picturesque 19th-century buildings housing art galleries, boutiques, and independent eateries. Only about 4,300 permanent residents live in this sleepy village, a tranquil escape from bustling Hartford just 30 minutes away. Consider it a very Americanized version of the English walled cathedral city from which it gets its name.
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New England Air Museum
The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks is spread throughout three large hangars, with more than 55 of its 100-plus aircraft on display at any time, along with a collection of aircraft engines.
Flying craft include helicopters, amphibious aircraft, jets, WWII aircraft, and others, including two historic examples of balloon baskets, one of which is the oldest surviving American-built aircraft. It was built and flown by Plymouth, Connecticut native and aeronaut Silas Brooks in the 1870s.
Silent Wings is an exhibit featuring the World War II glider pilots whose missions were some of the most dangerous of the war.
Address: 36 Perimeter Road, Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Feed The Belugas At The Mystic Aquarium
Photo by Eric F Savage
Mystic Aquarium is located in the quaint seaside town of Mystic. It has charming, shop-lined streets and several restaurants including the famed Mystic Pizza from the movie of the same title starring Julia Roberts.
Mystic Aquarium provides a glimpse into the undersea world with tanks containing sharks, eels and other marine life. You can also take in a sea lion show. Programs involving feeding the belugas, caring for the penguins and for the less brave, touch pools of sea life and cow nose ray feeding.
Additionally in town is home to Mystic Seaport Museum, the largest museum of its type in the USA, where the nautical history of Connecticut is brought to life. Whaling exhibits, ship-building displays, boats to board and stories of the slave trade are just a few of the exhibits you can check out here.
For an even more fantastic ship experience check out Project Oceanology offered at the nearby UCONN campus at Groton on Longpoint. A charismatic and educated marine biologist will be your guide as you cast nets and check out your catch. You will also complete experiments on board, a great combination of a fun and educational adventure.
Lead Photo by: Bigstock
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Refine Your Mind In Hartford
As the state’s capital city, Hartford is a hotbed of historic and cultural attractions to explore like the Connecticut Science Center, the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts and the Old State House, a national historic landmark that was the center of government activity from 1796 to 1878, which now serves as a museum.
One of the city’s most popular landmarks is the Mark Twain House & Museum where the famous literary lived while penning several American classics, including the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Visitors speak highly of the beautiful Gothic-style home and grounds, accessible via guided tour only .
Twain’s neighbor, author Harriet Beecher Stowe, also has a museum dedicated to her life and work located nearby. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art houses its collections described by aficionados as “impressive,” “diverse” and “stunning” in a 75,000-square-foot castle, and is the oldest public art museum in the country as well as the largest in the state. The Delamar West Hartford Hotel and its on-site restaurant, Artisan is considered one of the best stays and restaurants in town.
Shore Line Trolley Museum
Shore Line Trolley Museum
This unique museum offers a fun perspective on Connecticut history.
Home to a diverse collection of nearly 100 trolley cars and related equipment, Shore Line Trolley Museum is a great place to visit for the automotive lovers in your group.
Beyond the trolleys, gear, and equipment the museum also exhibits photographs, historical documents, tokens, badges, ticket punches, and other archival artifacts related to the historic Connecticut trolley system.
Best of all, the tour of the trolley museum begins with a ride aboard a restored trolley upon which youll learn the history of trolleys and witness a real trolley route and related equipment.
The museum recommends packing a picnic lunch because during your ride the trolley will deliver you to the museums beautiful picnic cove for a break.
Itll be a fun way to travel to other area attractions near Connecticuts Shore Line Trolley Museum.
Address: 17 River St, East Haven, CT 06512, United States
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Putnam Memorial State Park
In the midst of the American Revolutionary War, the troops of General Israel Putnam’s Continental Army spent the winter of 1779 camping on this site, which is now the oldest state park in Connecticut. The facility features a visitor’s center and museum to educate visitors on the rich war history of this area.
Admission to the park and its facilities are free of charge. Follow a well-maintained interpretive trail through the woods to immerse yourself in the ways of life during this era, with restored log cabins, archaeological sites and memorabilia like bronze statues and Civil War cannons along the way to aid your imagination. Further exploration of the grounds is encouraged by travelers who recommend the area for peaceful nature walks, picnics and taking kids to look for frogs in the pond.
The nearby town of Danbury offers a variety of lodging options, from basic chain motels to the upscale Ethan Allen Hotel.
Address: 499 Black Rock Turnpike, Redding CT 06896
Connecticut Top 25 Attractions
Connecticut is one of the favorite travel destinations in New England. Its a state filled with history, art, culture, and fun.
Whether youre looking to experience outdoor recreation or explore the many historical sights, there are plenty of things to do in Connecticut for everyone.
Being one of the original 13 states established in the US, there are many historical landmarks from the colonial era to be explored by the history buffs. Or, if you’re into artwork, you’ll find some of the best museums exhibiting American art and other works from world-famous artists.
Get ready for lots of fun and sightseeing as you make your way across the great state of Connecticut. Its a place that will truly amaze you!
Here are the top tourist attractions in Connecticut that you must add to your itinerary.
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Millwrights77 West St Simsbury Ct
This old sawmill has been renovated into a new upscale restaurant. This is a magical place to bring a loved one. The ambiance speaks for itself , the exposed beams and elegant furnishings make this restaurant a must have on a weekend to-dos list. In addition to the stunning elegance of the dining room, the skills of the culinary team may be more impressive. Tyler Anderson is the chef at Millwrights and has been nominated for being one of the best chefs in Connecticut. I think it is safe to say that if you make the trip to this fine restaurant you wont be let down in presentation or food.
Grab A Drink At A Brewery
If you enjoy relaxing at a trendy brewery, you can check out a list of some of our favorite places in the state to sip handcrafted beer. I love bringing a group of friends to Two Roads, Bad Sons, and New England Brewing Co. In addition to sampling each unique blend, you can also take a tour of the breweries or challenge your friends to a game of cornhole.
Check out some of our favorite microbreweries in CT!
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Things To Do In Connecticut: The Perfect Ct Bucket List
Connecticut is one of New Englands most popular states. Its southerly location and proximity to New York City make it an easy choice for a day trip or weekend trip to New England. And like the rest of the region, Connecticut is chock full of charm, history, and things to do and see.
Planning a visit to the Nutmeg State? Weve put together an essential list of 50 of the top things to do in Connecticut. The activities on this list range from historic sites, family attractions, and quirky highlights to classic Connecticut items to eat and drink and beautiful spots not to be missed. Get ready to check off your Connecticut bucket list!
Harkness Memorial State Park
After Labor Day, Connecticut state parks are free so we stumbled upon Harkness Memorial State Park on accident. We turned in one morning thinking it would probably have a trail or two to stretch our legs.
We were pleasantly surprised to find an estate with a flourishing garden and ocean views.
Where: 275 Great Neck Rd, Waterford
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Go To Devils Hopyard State Park
This is a great place for outdoor adventure in CT. Devils Hopyard State Park has beautiful hiking trails criss-crossing its 1000 acres, but it also has a lovely cascading waterfall, Chapman Falls. This is definitely a place youll want to explore for a bit, so considering camping here in the park, too.
See more of Connecticuts prettiest waterfalls.
Weir Farm National Historical Park
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Situated in historic Wilton, Connecticut, this historic site is one of many beautiful places to go in the Constitution State.
Weir Farm National Historical Park combines the beauty of the natural world with the art of the human world.
Once home to impressionist artist Julian Alden Weir, Weir Farm National Historical Park is the history-rich site of the artists home, studios, and body of work.
Pristinely preserved and open to the public to tour, the farm also boasts over 100 acres of intertwined hiking trails.
While visiting Weir Farm you may take self-guided or guided tours of the property, explore the gardens and grounds, draw inspiration from the landscape to create your art, talk with rangers, visit museum exhibits, and children can even become a junior park ranger.
Of all the beautiful places to go, Weir Farm National Historical Park should be at the top of your list.
Address: 735 Nod Hill Rd, Wilton, CT 06897, United States
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Wadsworth Falls State Park
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Visiting Wadsworth Falls State Park is one of the best outdoor activities to add to your itinerary.
With scenic, waterfall overlooks, nature/hiking trails abound, and even designated swimming areas, this park is a must-see.
If you love the beauty and adventure of outdoor recreation, Wadsworth Falls has it all.
With nearly 270 acres of scenery, trails, and open expanses of verdant land, youll have a blast exploring the park.
Some of the approved activities your crew can partake in include hiking, mountain biking, stream fishing in the adjacent river, swimming, and picnicking.
Beyond the aforementioned adventure that awaits you at Wadsworth Falls State Park, if youre a geology enthusiast, this is the place for you too.
With different rock types and formations found along the main hiking trails and other interesting geologic features, rock enthusiasts will adore their time hiking the trails of this beautiful Connecticut park.
This is a great way to spend your time in one of Connecticuts most beautiful places, so plan a stop at Wadsworth Falls State Park this weekend.
Address: 721 Wadsworth St, Middletown, CT 06457, United States