Connecticut October 01, 2017
The 10 Coolest Attractions in Connecticut That Not Enough People Visit
Connecticut has many popular tourist attractions such as the beautiful Mystic Seaport or Lake Compounce which is the oldest amusement park in the world. However, there are a few less known places that are just as cool to visit. From going to a museum that features thousands of puppets to walking under life-sized dinosaur statues, there are quite a few unique places to visit in our small state. Here is a list of what we think are the hidden gems that not enough people visit.
Please note, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry is temporarily closed.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Dinosaur Place
You will find more than 40 life-sized dinosaurs while hiking around the 60 acre wooded property. But dinosaurs aren’t the only thing at Dinosaur Place. Inside the Nature’s Art Village, you can pan for gold in Thunder Creek or dig for dinosaur bones in the Bone Zone. While you are visiting, be sure to stop by the antiques shop and gift store. The enormous dinosaurs and other activities are located at 1650 Hartford New London Turnpike, Oakdale, CT.
2. Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy
The Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy is an obscure attraction which houses a huge variety of waterfowl and birds. Not only can you view the birds up close, but the very knowledgeable guides will help you understand their habitats as well. This out of the way attraction is located at 55 Duck Pond Rd., Litchfield, CT.
3. Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
A part of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry (BIMP) is home to over 2,500 puppets from all around the world. When visiting, you can also attend a workshop, take a tour or view a live performance. BIMP is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m and can be found at 1 Royce Cir., Ste. 101B, Storrs, CT.
4. USS Nautilus
Visit the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine ship. You will be able to board the submarine and see where the crew slept and ate while they were deep under the sea. You can stop by the museum and check out their vast collection of photos and artifacts. The USS Nautilus is located at One Crystal Lake Rd., Groton, CT.
5. Lighthouse Point Park
Lighthouse Point Park is an 82 acre park situated on the Long Island Sound in New Haven. The park has nature trails and a bird sanctuary for the nature lovers. The kids can enjoy a splash pad, a swim in the sound or a fun ride on the antique carousel. And of course, you can always take a good old fashioned walk on the beach.
6. The Book Barn
If you have a love for books then you must stop by The Book Barn. They have over 500,000 books to browse through. Located in the quaint town of Niantic along the Connecticut shoreline, The Book Barn invites you to picnic on their grounds or spend some time with one of their many cats.
7. Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park
If you are looking for a little adventure and excercise then take an afternoon to go to Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park. As you walk into the park you will see people ziplining overhead as they descend into the water filled quarry. Rock climbing, kayaking, and swimming are other poular activities at the park. There are also water slides, water toys, wakeboarding and cliff jumping available. The park is located at 161 Brownstone Ave., Portland, CT.
8. Peters Railroad Museum
This museum is small in size but fantastic in content. For railroad enthusiasts and history lovers, this museum is a must. You will find it located in the basement of a Wallingford home at 49 Parkview Road. Unfortunately, the museum is not handicapped accessible as there are 13 steps down to the basement. To view the collection, you must make an appointment in advance so the owners know when to expect you.
9. Meigs Point Nature Center
With a newly updated building right next to the beach, Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset Beach has become a revamped education destination. There are hands-on learning activities as well as touch tanks and it holds one of the most extensive reptile collections in Connecticut. Located in the town of Madison directly on the Long Island Sound, Meigs Point is a fun attraction for all ages.
10. Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum
The Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum is full of iconic memorabilia. It has lunch boxes, pez dispensers, puppets, toys and much more. The collection belonged to Herb and Gloria Barker who bought most of the items at yard sales in the 1970s. Outside the museum are wonderful wood cut outs of timeless cartoon characters that make a fantastic photo opportunity. This museum is located in Cheshire at 1188 Highland Ave., Building B.
These unique attractions in Connecticut are just a few that we love. Which ones are your favorites? Did we miss one that should be added to the list? Please share in the comments section below.