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10 great and fun things to do in Hartford Connecticut

351 Farmington Avenue Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-247-0998

Come and explore the beautiful home of America’s favorite author which was featured in 1000 Places To See Before You Die. Take guided tours through Mark Twain’s historical home, visit his personal library, the children’s rooms, the servants’ wing and his famous Billiard Room where he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Enjoy informative exhibitions and documentaries held in the Museum Center, visit the museum store to discover one of a kind treasures, or grab a relaxed lunch in our Nook Farm Nook cafe. House tours run daily beginning at 9:30 A.M. with the last tour leaving at 4:30 P.M., while the Museum Center is open for self-guided visitation during regular hours.

950 Trout Brook Drive West Hartford, CT, 06119 Phone: 860-231-2824

The learning place for fun and adventure

This creative community where learning and fun connect adds a healthy dose of whimsy, geared toward children 2 to 12 years old. Founded in 1927, it’s the fifth oldest children’s museum in the nation. Its various components offer hands-on, minds-open, child-centered interactive labs, workshops, multi-sensory exhibits and demonstrations. There’s a renown science-curriculum-based Preschool program and Connecticut’s largest public, digital, and full dome planetarium, and science camps during school vacations. Roaring Brook Nature Center in nearby Canton is our outdoor classroom, with hiking trails, bluebird boxes, and wildlife habitats on 165 acres of the State Wildlife Refuge. The Wildlife Sanctuary takes in unwanted and confiscated Illegal pets, and injured animals. Then there’s the mammals, turtles, tortoises, birds, lizards, amphibians, arthropods, snakes and fish - Oh My! Be sure to visit our latest exhibit Dinosaurs in your Backyard: A Portal to Past Worlds.

77 Forest Street Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-522-9258

Don’t Miss the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford’s Nook Farm

Nineteenth century Hartford was an intellectual mecca for writers, publishers and social thought leaders. Harriet Beecher Stowe came to Connecticut’s capitol city as the most famous American women in the world. Her landmark novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in 1852, set the world on fire and helped to escalate an international groundswell of opposition to the enslavement of people in the United States. Stowe’s Hartford home was her residence for 23 years. The Stowe Center uses the story of Stowe’s life to inspire social justice and positive change, with a 21st century tour experience using the historic collections to “paint a picture” of the significance of Stowe’s impact and to engage visitors in connecting Stowe’s history to today’s headlines. Open year round, check website for tours, programs and events (Park once and visit both Stowe and Twain with a combination ticket).

Wooden Furniture Is Kloter's Specialty

Fine furniture from beautiful wood is artwork that lives around us throughout daily lives. Kloter Farms at 216 West Road in Ellington is a family-owned enterprise that started in 1980 as a horse and carriage hobby. The  range of products is wide: from gazebos to furniture to children’s playhouses. Many items – from jewelry boxes to quilt racks to lazy Susans -- make great gifts, so stop here for some great. Open daily except Sundays. 860-871-1048.

Ten Thousand Villages Brings the World to You

Visit the Ten Thousand Villages store at 967C Farmington Avenue in West Hartford to browse and purchase folk art, ceramics, textiles, baskets, jewelry, wall hangings, pillows, rugs, mirrors, vases, incense, candleholders, and furniture handmade by artists in the developing world. Enjoy international music, the aroma of gourmet coffee, and rich chocolate. Your fair trade purchase helps improve the lives of thousands of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. 860-233-5470.

Bombs Awaaaayy!

Swimming, snorkeling, rock climbing, cliff jumping, scuba diving, zip lines, kayaking, hiking, biking. Are your eyes tired just from reading that? It is a partial list of the activities in store at the Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park at 161 Brownstone Avenue in Portland. For those of us built for comfort, not risk, the list also includes lounging next to the lake and visits to the snack shack. Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park is Connecticut’s first outdoor adventure park. Equipment is available for rent and activities are supervised by experts. The park sells a General Swimming pass and an Adventure Sports pass, so everyone in your group – from lounging platypus to maniac cliff-diver, can enjoy the day. Great summer and fall fun for the whole family. Park is open and active until October 28. Phone: 866-860-0208.

Hop-Scotch Your Way Among CT’s Farmers Markets

Summer and fall in particular are the times for harvesting, cooking, and eating fresh produce grown right where you live. Connecticut has devised a Farmers Market Trail – including a very helpful trail map – that guides you to farmers markets, with all the details about days, times, locations, and products. These  are places with live music, entertainments for kids, hand-made goods and gifts. The Trail map tells you where to find farm-to-table eateries, walking trails, art galleries, and historic sites. The map shows ATMs near markets. 

City Stampede

Bushnell Park on Trinity Street in Hartford is a wonderful public sanctuary that merits a full-day visit. The park is home to a carousel that dates from 1914. Created by Russian immigrant craftsmen, the carousel is notable for the horses’ flamboyant faces and real horsehair tails. Besides the 48 horses, there are two lovers chariots, 800 twinkling lights, 24-sided pavilion houses, and a Wurlitzer organ. Open Friday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rides are $1.

Maze Exploration and More Fall Foolery

Brown’s Harvest at 1911 Poquonock Avenue in Windsor is a real farm with plenty of good things to eat, but it’s also built for play, especially in the fall. The larger, 6-acre interactive corn maze is open on the weekends and Columbus Day, 10 a.m.to 6 p.m. Flashlight mazes will be held on October 20, 21, 27 and 28. A visit to the farm includes a hay ride, kids play area, and visits to the “B” Barn, with a hay pile, corn bin, and other activities. Open weekends; call for information about possible weekday hours. 860-683-0266.

Covered Bridge Is the Hidden Jewel in This Serene Forest

Comstock Covered Bridge in East Hampton, one of Connecticut’s last remaining covered bridges, crosses the Salmon River and is limited to pedestrian traffic. The bridge is located within the Salmon River State Forest , which covers over 6,000 acres in Hebron, Colchester, East Hampton, and Marlborough. The forest includes the Airline Trail, which follows an old railroad bed and features the 137-foot-high Lyman Viaduct, providing a wonderful view of the Dickenson Creek valley; a handicap accessible fly-fishing area; and a letterbox hike. 295-9523