Start your adventure at Mystic Aquarium/Institute for Exploration, two attractions at one site. At the aquarium, enjoy a sea lion show, meet a beluga whale and don 3-D glasses for a wild ride as an action-packed movie rolls in the XD Motion Theater.
The adjacent Institute of Exploration highlights the accomplishments of the famed undersea scientist, Dr. Robert Ballard. Here, visitors can view footage from Ballard’s expeditions, including his discovery of the remains of Titanic in 1985. There’s even an 18-foot model of Titanic that took three years longer to build than the actual ship.
Eat at Mystic Pizza, the family-owned pizza shop that inspired the 1988 movie of the same name, starring Julia Roberts.
Stay overnight at one of several family-oriented hotels. Mystic’s Howard Johnson Inn, for example, has a heated indoor pool and a “kids stay free” program.
Denison-Pequotsepos Nature Center
Start Day 2 with a hike through a 300-acre wooded preserve at Denison-Pequotsepos Nature Center. On eight miles of trails, you might spot bluebirds, turtles, or bullfrogs.
Explore America’s maritime heritage at Mystic Seaport, a 19th-century maritime village along the banks of the Mystic River. Go on board the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan to see what life was like at sea in the golden age of sail, take a ride on the historic steamboat Sabino or walk along the recreated seaside village. The Museum’s collection of 2 million artifacts and more than 500 watercraft has something of interest for everyone, whether is it fine art, a rare tool, or a 123’ fishing schooner. Each day features a full schedule of historic activities and live music. For the younger ones there is a Children’s Museum, a Discovery Barn, a playground, and crafts such as toy-boat building, plus much more.
Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop
If it’s hot, treat yourselves to ice cream at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop, by the Mystic Bridge. If it’s cold, head to B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill (home of the last steam-powered cider mill in New England) for cider and donuts. If time allows head to Groton and tour the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine.