From natural wonders to man-made attractions, Connecticut – the third smallest US state – packs a lot into its modest size, including a number of unique ways to occupy your time.
With its picture-perfect towns, verdant landscapes, sandy beaches and cascading waterfalls, Connecticut is positively oozing with quintessential New England charm. Meanwhile its rich history is celebrated at a number of exceptional cultural venues that can be found sprawled statewide. Below, we’ve picked out 20 of the most unique places of interest you’ll find anywhere in Connecticut.
Visit a world class museum
Connecticut is packed full of great museums and a number of them serve to celebrate the state’s long and illustrious nautical heritage. One such institution is the Mystic Seaport Museum, widely considered America’s leading maritime museum. Here visitors will find a huge assortment of exhibits and artefacts, including a planetarium, historic wooden ships, a replica of a 19th-century seafaring village and even a working shipyard. Highlights include the original 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship still in existence.
75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic / Weds-Sun 10am-4pm Closed Mon-Tues
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For a cultural visit of an entirely different kind, Connecticut is also home to the Mark Twain House and Museum, which honours one of the nation’s defining cultural figures. Originally built by the author as a home for him and his wife, the 25-room Victorian mansion was later officially designated as an National Historic Landmark and today welcomes visitors who come to explore its opulent and impeccably restored confines, complete with fascinating memorabilia and many of its original fixtures and fittings.
385 Farmington Avenue, Hartford / Fri-Sun 10am-4.30pm Closed Mon-Thurs
Get up close and personal with amazing wildlife
For an entire state to have only one zoo is somewhat surprising, but Beardsley Zoo certainly succeeds in carrying Connecticut’s wildlife mantle. Featuring mainly North and South American animals, including several endangered species, the zoo places a keen focus on educating visitors on the delicate balance that exists between living things and their environment. Other stand-out attractions include a tropical rainforest with free-flight aviary, a New England Farmyard, and a carousel.
1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport / Mon-Sun 9am-4pm
If you’ve had your fill of land animals, then the Mystic Aquarium offers the chance to see some of the world’s most captivating marine-based species. The aquarium’s indoor and outdoor exhibits feature thousands of aquatic creatures, including beluga whales, African penguins, rescued seals, and a staggering variety of colourful fish. There are also sea lion shows and an animatronic dinosaur experience that lets you step back in time to the Jurassic period.