Children of all ages will have fun and learn about the natural world at this engaging aquarium
Kids of all ages (and their adults) will love all the interactive habitats at Mystic Aquarium. Plus: dinosaurs and whales! Visitors can touch stingrays and Epaulette sharks in pools, walk through a digital interactive watershed model and watch as breathtaking Beluga whales glide through the Arctic Coast, the largest outdoor beluga whale habitat in the nation. Watch as seals and sea lions are fed or trained, then head to Jurassic Giants to see enormous animatronic dinosaurs “come to life” and enjoy two 4-D movies that combine your senses of smell, touch, and more. Check out Japanese Spider Crabs in the Weird and Wonderful exhibit or paint with a seal in a scheduled animal encounter. Sandwiches and snacks are available at the Saltwater Cafe.
67 Main Street, Steamboat DockEssex, CT, 06426Phone: 860-767-8269
Inside and out, lots to fascinate and entertain families along our riverbank!
There are so many things to do outside at the family-friendly Connecticut River Museum – winter cruises to see majestic bald eagles, sailing adventures aboard the 1614 replica ship Onrust, strolling the harborside grounds, walking to historic Essex Village for lunch – that you might forget to go inside. But don’t! The kids will love to examine the handmade tools used for fishing and hunting in and along the river, old navigation tools, the model train layout set up every fall, the three-story river mural that snakes up and down staircases and the model of the very cool Turtle, the first submarine to be used in combat (during the Revolutionary War).
Sailing from the Niantic Bay MarinaNiantic, CT, 06357Phone: 860-448-3662Toll-Free: 800-382-2824
Fishing excursions, nature cruises fun-filled activities for the whole family
It’s no wonder that dozens of the “regulars” at Black Hawk Sportfishing out of Niantic, Conn., are kids. Fishing cruises are fun-filled activities for the whole family, and there’s no minimum age for children. Experienced captains take you out on one of the fastest, safest and most comfortable boats of its kind in New England to catch everything from stripers and bluefish to cod, fluke and tuna. Bring a cooler or grab a burger, a soda and snacks on board. The kids might even get a chance to honk the horn or win a t-shirt! Or, if you’re not up for fishing, take a nature cruise, seal cruise, eagle-watch cruise or sunset cruise. Private charters for kids’ birthday parties are available.
One Railroad AvenueEssex, CT, 06426Phone: 860-767-0103Toll-Free: 800-377-3987
Boats and trains: a combination bound to be a sure-fire hit with everyone in the family
Imagine telling the kids that today you are going to go on a train, or a riverboat – or both! Or maybe you’ll book a four-seat rail bike and tool along the tracks from Essex Station to Old Saybrook. Or you’ll get up close to vintage train locomotives – and perhaps a caboose! Great family activities await you at Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, the only steam and riverboat connection in the country, with two operating steam locomotives and multiple classes of passenger service taking you through the scenic countryside to Deep River Landing, where you can board the 70-foot Mississippi-style riverboat, the Becky Thatcher, for a 1 1/4-hour cruise past the rocky shores and wildlife along the Connecticut River and its wildlife, including swans, herons and bald eagles. Please check our website for current train & riverboat schedules.
Opening for the season May 1st, 2022!
Sail away aboard the traditional sailing schooner Argia for a journey into the past. The adventure begins as the Ship's horn blows and you depart from Mystic's historic Bascule Bridge, a national historic landmark. As the ship travels down the Mystic River, join the crew in raising sail the old-fashioned way...or lend a hand steering the ship! Morgan Point Lighthouse and the quaint fishing village of Noank greet you at the river’s mouth, followed by islands and peaceful sailing.
May 1st through mid-October, choose a day or sunset cruise aboard ARGIA!
1650 Hartford-New London Tpke. (Rt. 85)Oakdale, CT, 06370Phone: 860-443-4367
Something fun for everyone, from a Splash Pad to a dinosaur trail, at this adventure park
From the tiniest tots to young-at-heart adults, there is something for everyone to do, and love doing, at The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village. At the Splash Pad, a zero-depth water playground, there’s a separate area for infants to toddlers, while older kids will love the water cannons, dino rib cage waterfall and dumping buckets. Over at T-rex Tower, obstacles include zip lines, slides and bridges. There’s also a tricky dino maze and, of course, the 50 life-sized dinosaurs who inhabit 1.5 miles of easy-to-travel trails (and caves!). Adults will also enjoy Copper Creek Mini Golf and the variety of shops, from those selling fossils and minerals to an ever-changing antiques marketplace.