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15. Connecticut Safari

Connecticut's got animals. Don your pith helmet, focus your binoculars, and get ready to see everything from woodchucks to watusi cattle. Don't forget the camera!

Connecticut Safari
Connection Types: Family Fun
Seasons: Summer
Driving Tip: Approximately 130 miles round trip.

STAMFORD MUSEUM AND NATURE CENTER

Take to the trails of Stamford Museum and Nature Center’s 118 acres and you’ll see wood ducks, painted turtles and frogs. Then check out Heckscher Farm, a traditional New England farm where kids can watch workers milk goats and shear sheep. Kids can burn off energy at Nature’s Playground, a wooded wonderland that includes a human-size spider web, tree house with lookout tower, tubular slides and a sandbox filled with fake fossils.

SILVERMAN’S FARM

Afterwards, stop in Easton at Silverman’s Farm, owned by the same family since the 1920s. There, you’ll meet buffalo, llamas and longhorn cattle. You can also pick your own fresh fruit in season and purchase a homemade pie from the Farm Market. Then continue north for an overnight at the Heritage Hotel in Southbury (the kids will like the pool, ping pong and racquetball) where you can have a meal at the Friendly’s across the street.

ACTION WILDLIFE FOUNDATION

Up early for a drive up to the Action Wildlife Foundation in rural Goshen. This 116-acre sanctuary is home to 350 exotic species from around the world, including potbellied pigs, Japanese sika deer, wild boars, zebras, water buffalo, reindeer and many more. You can feed some of the animals in the petting barn, hop on a hay wagon for a guided tour, or drive your own vehicle through a 50-acre fenced-in preserve.

CONNECTICUT’S BEARDSLEY ZOO

There are still plenty of animals to see at Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, the safari’s last stop and Connecticut’s only true zoo. Here, you’ll come face to face with a Siberian tiger, an ocelot, an anaconda or a red wolf, should you choose. There’s an Amazon jungle habitat, an aviary with dozens of different kinds of exotic birds and even a carousel.