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Work the kids' muscles and imaginations at outdoor adventures in Connecticut

Wear out those kids (and adults, too) on your vacation in Connecticut with a day at an outdoor adventure park where they can play Tarzan, Spiderman, or whatever heroic image they love. Experts will get the family suited up with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners and send everyone out on a zip line and ropes course that folks will be talking about well after vacation is over. You can call this educational if you like. The bigger point is that kids and adults get to use their muscles, wits, and imaginations up in the air. Combine the day with a second day at a traditional amusement park. Make this a family outing to remember.

1650 Hartford-New London Tpke. (Rt. 85) Oakdale, CT, 06370 Phone: 860-443-4367

Outdoor adventure at its family finest

Discover this amazing 60-acre adventure park with a seven-acre man-made lake with its own active volcano. Walk along beautifully tended nature trails amongst 40 life-sized dinosaurs. Indoors, dig for gems, pan for “gold” and unearth dinosaur bones in Discovery Depot. Children will love getting lost in the dinosaur themed ”MAZE”asaurus, and playing on the Giant T. Rex Mascot Monty’s playground featuring the SpaceNet, a 15 foot tall three-dimensional swinging, vibrating, climbing web. Cool off in New England’s largest SplashPad, a unique zero-depth water park. Bring a picnic or enjoy great food at the Cobalt Café and locations throughout the village. Enjoy special events, educational programs and endless shopping and plan a birthday party, scout, school or recreational group outing. Check out the new Cooper Creek Mini Golf Course open Summer 2017 for ages 8+!

One Railroad Avenue Essex, CT, 06426 Phone: 860-767-0103 Toll-Free: 800-377-3987

Ride the rails, ply the river at this delightful combo attraction

You are more than riding the rails when you board one of the vintage coaches of the Essex Steam Train. Because after a leisurely ride through the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley, past ponds, waterfalls and meadows, you are escorted onto the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a cruise past rocky shorelines, the Goodspeed Opera House and the Haddam Swing Bridge. Both forms of transport get you up close and personal to flora and fauna, from eagles and blue herons to the eye-popping colors of autumn leaves. Special excursions include a dinner train, sunset cruises, caboose weekends and the popular North Pole Express. Or, take a locomotive out for a spin in a “Hand on the Throttle” session.