Springtime Family Fun in Mystic Country Last Updated: May 2022
Spring is upon us once again. We are lucky to have plenty of nearby options for enjoying the weather, entertaining the kiddos and even sneaking in some fun for the grownups too. Let’s hit the road and have some fun this month, shall we?
Dinosaur Place has opened for the 2022 season, and not a moment too soon if you ask me! The holy grail for kids, this 60-acre outdoor adventure park is located within Nature’s Village in Oakdale, CT. It’s home to over 50 life-sized dinosaurs on pristine nature trails, and attractions include a dinosaur-themed maze, two caves with animatronic dinosaurs, Monty’s Playground and T-Rex Tower, and two brand-new exhibits debuting this year in a new section of the park called Lapilli Landing. These attractions include Peewee Putters, a 6-hole miniature golf experience for children of all ages, and Pedal Pushers, an equestrian-themed pedal kart track for ages 6 and up. For older kids and adults, there is also a challenging (that’s putting it lightly) mini golf course called Copper Creek onsite, but you must be over 6 to play. A few tips from the pros when visiting The Dinosaur Place – be sure to bring socks for the kiddos (they are required for certain attractions) and pack your own food and drink.
Image provided by @the dinosaurplace
The Seaport is a classic New England destination for families of all ages. There’s a lot of to explore here, from the many exhibits to the recreated 19th century maritime village. Sometimes, just walking around and taking in the view of the boats can provide plenty of entertainment, but the history behind the vessels is certainly cool enough to pique any kid’s interest. The most famous ship of the bunch is the Charles W. Morgan, which is the last wooden whaling ship in the world. Visitors can don their sea legs and climb aboard this boat as well as several others from the good ole’ seafaring days.
Image provided by @MysticSeaportMuseum
Sugar Factory at Foxwoods
Sometimes the only way to lure the kids out of the house is the promise of some sugar, am I right? The famous Sugar Factory located inside Foxwoods should certainly do the trick. Celebrities love this place and you and your kids will too! Their outrageous milkshakes are the obvious showstoppers, and they also make adult versions of all their creations, including their signature alcohol-infused smoking candy goblets. Besides sweets, they also serve “real food” including salads, burgers and sandwiches.
After you’ve achieved a nice sugar high, you can check out one of the family friendly activities including the Tree House Arcade or High Rollers, their luxury bowling alley. For a great deal, check out the Family Fun package including 2 hours of bowling, shoe rentals and refreshments. For older kids, their go-karting track is also a fun option.
Image provided by @Foxwoods
Spring Outdoors in The Last Green Valley
This annual event is a great way to get the family outside, while also exploring the beauty of the National Heritage Corridor (AKA “the quiet corner”). This year’s event runs from March 20th – June 20th and includes a variety of hikes, adventures and organized clean-ups, all aimed at discovering the magic of spring. There are lots of events centered around Earth Day, as well as the 14th Annual Putnam Beautification Day, a Fairy Tale Scavenger Hunt and the Yantic Cemetery Civil War Tour.
Image provided by @thelastgreenvalley
The Adventure Park at Storrs
Need to burn off some energy? The Adventure Park is the place for you. Located in the heart of Connecticut, this is a great place for families and groups to climb, swing and zip through the trees. Offering eight color-coded trails from beginner to advanced much like a ski resort, both newbies and experienced adrenaline junkies alike can enjoy the 100 treetop platforms connected by bridges, ropes courses, ladders, ziplines and other crossings. The helpful staff will be happy to guide you if you’re a little hesitant, but self-exploration is encouraged. For the little ones (ages 3-6) there’s the Adventure Playground filled with mini versions of climbing and ropes apparatus. Afterwards, swing by the UCONN Campus, just 5 minutes down the road, for some food or to walk around.
(Image: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGBIk2znyr9/ via @theadventureparkatstorrs on Instagram)
Niantic Children’s Museum
Make a day of it and head the quaint seaside town of Niantic. The Niantic Children’s Museum is the perfect place to spend a few hours with kids of all ages. From sailing your own fishing boat to climbing aboard a fire truck, kids will love all the hands-on opportunities. Outside, there’s a giant sand pit with kid-size excavation tools, a water play area, music making with giant instruments, a zip line, a kid’s climbing wall and a huge kid-designed tree house.
After a few hours of playing, hit up one of Niantic’s most iconic landmarks, The Book Barn, with three locations in town. The Main Barn, at 41 West Main Street, is home to the largest selection of books spread throughout several themed buildings. Besides books, of which there are more than 500,000 of, there are lush gardens in the spring and summer perfect for reading and relaxing, and a myriad of friendly cats roaming the store for a little added ambiance.
Finish off your day with a stroll on the Niantic Boardwalk and a stop at Gumdrops & Lollipops Candy Shoppe for some sweet provisions for the car ride home.
Image provided by: @niantickids