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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.

Find more great outdoor adventures at Explore New England.

Webb Deane Stevens Revolutionary War encampment credit--Charles-Lyle
Kids at the Helm! 500x250 - Argia Mystic Cruises - Mystic, CT
Argia Mystic Cruises

12 Steamboat Wharf Mystic, CT, 06355 Phone: 860-536-0416

Sail into the past aboard the Mystic-based schooner Argia

Aboard the 81-foot sailing vessel Argia, a modern replica of a 19th century packet schooner, you can travel back into the past – gliding by history-rich Mystic, helping the crew hoist and trim the sails – or just enjoy the view of islands, lighthouses and scenic coastlines from the vessel’s spacious wooden deck. The Coast Guard licensed schooner sails protected waters during the day and, for those seeking the romance of the sea at twilight, at sunset. You can bring your own food and beverages. There are seats for all 49 passengers and a lovely little main salon down below. The exquisite Argia also is available for groups and classes who want to know about the ecology of the sea (and handle some of its creatures) and for private charters.
Becky Thatcher 500x250 - Essex Steam Train & Riverboat - Essex, CT
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

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. Please check our website regularly for 2020 schedules and updates.
Leopard - Beardsley Zoo - Bridgeport, CT
Beardsley Zoo

1875 Noble Avenue Bridgeport, CT, 06610 Phone: 203-394-6565

Spend a day outside with the more than 300 animals in this Conn. zoo

The outdoors is even greater when it means getting the opportunity to see nature’s creatures. At the Beardsley Zoo, there are more than 300 of those creatures, from tigers and anteaters, miniature horses and wolves, to howler monkeys, caimans, snowy owls, bald eagles, red pandas and bison. Special themed scavenger hunts and local hikes will keep you on your toes, as will a variety of specialized programs for tots to teens. Enjoy dining al fresco at the Picnic Grove, or get a bite to eat at the Peacock Cafe. The zoo has strollers and wheelchairs for rent and also features a rainforest building and, to top off your perfect day, a colorful carousel.
Red Tailed Hawk at First Churck Steeple - Historic Wethersfield, CT
Historic Wethersfield

The outdoors really is great at various venues in this charming town

Are you an active adventure-seeker, or looking for something on the quiet side? Historic Wethersfield has you covered. A heritage trail bike ride will take you past historic homes and working farms, or head down to the 1860 Reservoir for fishing and canoeing. Mill Woods Park has a skate park; bocce, tennis and basketball courts and a swimming pond, and Wintergreen Woods offers walking trails through 110 acres of forest and wetlands. Visit a nature center for a meadow stroll where you might spy an eagle, or walk through colonial gardens. Historical society walking tours let you see more about the town’s origins. (It was founded in 1633-34). Don’t forget ice skating, swimming, farmers’ markets and shopping along Main Street.
Amazing View - Foxwoods High Flyer - Mashantucket, CT
Foxwoods HighFlyer

350 Trolley Lane Blvd. Mashantucket, CT, 06338 Phone: 860-312-3597

Zip through the skies from the rooftop of this Connecticut casino

Talk about getting up close and personal with Mother Nature: From the rooftop of the famous Foxwoods Resort Casino – that’s 350 feet, or 32 stories, atop Fox Tower – you can take an exhilarating mile-long zipline tour that sends you soaring through the air, above the trees, reaching speeds of almost 60 mph, finishing up at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. A shuttle runs every 15 minutes to take you back to the casino, and a viewing shuttle for family and friends also leaves the casino every 15 minutes.
Inn at Harbor Hill Summer Patio View 500x250 - Distinctive Inns of New England
Distinctive Inns of New England

Luxurious Accommodations throughout New England , CT Phone:

If you love seaside activities, this shoreline inn is perfect for you

Located on the scenic Connecticut shoreline in Niantic, just minutes from Mystic Seaport, the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina offers casual seaside elegance to those who are attracted to spending time near or on the water. Take a complimentary sunset cruise through Niantic Bay aboard a pontoon boat, stroll along the mile-long boardwalk overlooking Long Island Sound or relax and swim at three local beaches. Sport fishermen, pleasure boaters and water sports enthusiasts can dock their vessels at the property’s 67-slip marina and relax on the award-winning inn’s wraparound porch, when they stay at the inn overlooking the marina. The fishing and sailing in this area are top-notch, matched by the hospitality and amenities at this award-winning 16-room bed-and-breakfast inn.
Foliage View - Railroad Museum of New England - Thomaston, CT
Railroad Museum of New England

242 East Main Street Thomaston, CT, 06787 Phone: 860-283-7245

Enjoy the scenery from your seat on a vintage passenger car at this rail museum

Experience a ride through some of the region’s most scenic vistas aboard a vintage passenger car when you set out on a rail excursion at the Railroad Museum of New England. This not-for-profit educational and historic organization tells the story of the area’s rich rail heritage by operating scenic and historical train rides on the Naugatuck Railroad. Leaving from the historic Thomaston Station, trains travel alongside a river, through valleys and woods and over the famous Thomaston Dam. With stunning views all seasons of the year, the diesel-driven trains that are especially popular include the Easter Bunny Express, Chocolate Decadence Tour, Litchfield Hills Train, Spirit-Tasting experience, Pumpkin Patch train, Northern Lights Limited and the Santa Express.
The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village Atractions Outdoor adventure Oakdale CT
The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village

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

Go big with your outdoor adventure this year at this dinosaur-themed park

The adventures are huge at The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village, a 60-acre outdoor park where dinosaurs are everywhere, from the more than 50 life-sized ones along a nature trail to the T-Rexes and Velociraptors that battle it out (with your help) with water cannons at the Splash Pad to the T-Rex mouth you have to slide through to escape the twisty A”MAZE”asaurus. Even the all-ages playground has dinos, with a climbable 3-foot-tall Pachyrhiosaurus skull. There’s also the two-story enclosed T-Rex Tower with exciting obstacles in each room, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and seven shops (one sells fossils). Plenty of places to take a break, from picnic tables to a snack bar. Check the website for health and safety updates.