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Museums in Mystic, Connecticut range from fine art to American history

55 Coogan Boulevard Mystic, CT, 06355 Phone: 860-572-5955

Discover nature’s amazing works of art at Mystic Aquarium

Among the world’s riches are its sea creatures found here amidst wonderful indoor and outdoor exhibits. Experience a personal connection with thousands of marine animals including a beluga whale, shark, stingray and more. Our funky frog friends are here - 30 unique species of them in fact. Sea lions will demonstrate their amazing skills and intelligence through their tricks and behaviors. Watch captivating footage at the National Geographic Theater and enjoy a virtual adventure in the 4-D Theater. Participate in various events throughout the year, become a champion for conservation and join the Aquarium’s mission to protect our precious marine life. Enrich your mind, roll up your sleeves, expand your knowledge and get involved right here. Sea more at MysticAquarium.org.

67 Main Street, Steamboat Dock Essex, CT, 06426 Phone: 860-767-8269

"Connecticut’s Founding Fish" – A special exhibition open through July 31

Discover the exciting history and spectacular environment of New England’s Great River at the Connecticut River Museum, in beautiful Essex, CT. Bring your family, climb aboard a replica of the Turtle submarine, and imagine being a submarine pilot during the American Revolution. Walk the River’s 410 miles as you travel our vertical gallery of fantastic aerial photos and a whimsical mural. Learn about the people of the River from Native Americans through the present. The Connecticut River Museum offers changing exhibitions and programs as well: spend a summer day sailing the River on the historic ship Onrust; the holiday season brings the magic of our annual Train Show; February and March offer EagleWatch exhibit and Boat Tours.

Norwich Free Academy - 108 Crescent Street Norwich, CT, 06360 Phone: 860-887-2506

Unique museum offers the past in a magnificent edifice

Set on the campus of Norwich Free Academy in Norwich CT, this unique museum was founded by philanthropist William A. Slater more than a century ago. Housed in a stunning architectural treasure designed by noted architect Stephen C. Earle. The museum offers a widely diverse collection of fine and decorative arts, plaster replicas of great Greek and Roman sculpture, historical artifacts, and ethnographic material spanning five continents and 35 centuries. Exhibits rotate regularly and you’ll find film screenings, discussions, book signings, and other events. An interpreter-guided tour is free with museum admission. The Museum shop is filled with unique gifts, including fine art prints and reproductions, the works of Connecticut artisans, and other items. Open year round, Tuesday through Sunday.

Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry

Weaver Road (off Route 44) Storrs, CT, 06269 Phone: 860-486-4605

Collection of more than 2,000 puppets from the world over. Each exhibition features a different view of the variety of styles and periods in puppetry. Hours: Friday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. or by appointment Admission: Free; donations accepted. Information: www.bimp.uconn.edu/

Windham Textile and History Museum

411 Main Street Willimantic, CT, 06226 Phone: 860-456-2178

Museum preserves the textile industry of southern New England at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Exhibits include thread factory floor, rooms from a workers rowhouse and owner’s mansion. Hours: Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Guided tours Sunday at 3 p.m. Admission: Adults, $7; seniors and students, $5. Information: www.millmuseum.org/

Lyman Allyn Art Museum

625 Williams Street New London, CT, 06320 Phone: 860-443-2545

Eighteenth-, 19th- and 20th-century art and decorative arts, American Impressionist paintings, contemporary American art, changing exhibits. Outdoor Children's Art Park. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission: Adults, $10; seniors and students over age 18; $7; children under age 18, $5. Information: www.lymanallyn.org.

Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut

409 Main Street Niantic, CT, 06357 Phone: 860-691-1111

Interactive hands-on exhibits for the entire family. Don’t miss our Long Island Sound Marinelife Tank, Parent Pockets, a self guided tour of the Museum and Kidsville, an entire kid-sized town. Themes include arts and science, health and history. Have fun while learning. Explore the Discovery Room, see live animals and say hello to Richter the Red Tailed Boa Constrictor. Hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4:30 p.m. Hours vary by season; call ahead. Admission: $7 per person. Information: www.childrensmuseumsect.org.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center

110 Pequot Trail Mashantucket, CT, 06338 Phone: 800-411-9671

Permanent exhibits on the Native and natural history of southern New England include a cool descent into a glacial crevasse from 18,000 years ago. Walk through a 1550 Pequot Village. Interactive computer programs, films providing additional information and interpretation of the exhibits. Two research libraries, one for children. Museum store and restaurant. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; last admission at 4 p.m. Admission: Adults, $15; seniors, $13; children age 6-15, $10; under 6 free. Information: www.pequotmuseum.org.

Museum of the Fife and Drum

Highland Terrace at 63 North Main Street Ivoryton, CT, 06442 Phone: 860-767-2237

Exhibits focus on the fife and drum, not only as an important symbol of American patriotism during the Revolutionary period, but as an integral part of military strategy in the 17th and 18th centuries. The museum is a visual and musical history of America on parade, from the Revolutionary War to the present. Theme displays feature drums, fifes, military swords, music, uniforms, medals, awards and photographs. Hours: June 30 through Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; third weekend of July and fourth weekend of August reserved for private activities. Admission; Adults, $5; youth age 12-17, $4; seniors, $3; children under age 12, free.

Brayton Grist Mill and Marcy Blacksmith Museum

Route 44 Pomfret, CT, 06258 Phone: 860-928-0304

This fine example of a one-man mill operation of the 1890's has original milling equipment. The tool exhibit represents the craft of three generations of blacksmiths. Maintained by the Pomfret Historical Society. Hours: Call for hours of operation. Admission: Free; donations welcome. Information: http://bit.ly/X8wycD

Military Historians Museum

N. Main St. Westbrook, CT, 06498 Phone: 860-399-9460

The largest collection of American military uniforms in the country. Unit crest insignia, vehicles from World War II Weasel to a Desert Storm truck, music room, research center. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and by appointment. Admission: Free. Information: http://bit.ly/gPieKT

Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea

75 Greenmanville Avenue Mystic, CT Phone: 860-572-0711

Mystic Seaport is a maritime museum that preserves artifacts of America’s seafaring past. The Seaport’s grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River and include a re-created 19th-century coastal village, a working shipyard, and formal exhibit halls. The Seaport is home to more than 500 historic watercraft, including four National Historic Landmark vessels, most notably the 1841 whale ship Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship still in existence. The Seaport is a great adventure for families. It hosts many seasonal celebrations, along with exhibits and festivals related to seafaring life, such as the annual sea music festival and a lobster fest. A gift shop on the grounds has many high-quality products, from books and maps to toys and home décor, all with a seafaring theme. Open year-round
Information: http://www.mysticseaport.org/

Florence Griswold Museum

96 Lyme Stree Old Lyme, CT Phone: 860-434-5542

In the early 20th century, Florence Griswold’s boarding house in Old Lyme was the hub of one of the most important summer art colonies in America. The colony attracted artists Henry Ward Ranger, Childe Hassam, and Willard Metcalf and others who were in the vanguard of the Tonalist and Impressionist movements. Today, visitors see the boarding house and much of the work of these American Impressionists, an adjacent gallery building with rotating exhibits, and extensive gardens. Special programs are offered in summer and holiday seasons. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Closed on major holidays. Admission: Adults, $10; seniors, $9; students, $8; free of children under age 12. Information: https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/

Prudence Crandall Museum

Junction Routes 14 and 169 Canterbury, CT, 06331 Phone: 860-546-7800

The Prudence Crandall Museum is a collection of objects, from clothing to books and more, from the life and times of Prudence Crandall, a female abolitionist teacher whose legacy is left here. See full description of the Prudence Crandall Museum

Kidcity Children's Museum

119 Washington Street Middletown, CT, 06457 Phone: 860-347-0495

Whimsical, one-of-a-kind rooms filled with hands-on play and learning, for kids ages 1 to 8 and their grown-ups. Hours: Sunday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $8 per person. Information: www.kidcitymuseum.com