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Take a walk by the lake, have a picnic, or ride on the vintage 1914 carousel that is housed in one of America's first municipal parks. Since the mid-1850s, Bushnell Park has offered citizens a comfortable place to unwind away from the hustle-and-bustle of downtown Hartford. On the registry of National Historic Landmarks since 1970, the famous Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch dedicated to those in the Civil War is one of the major highlights as well as the Horace Wells Monument and the Corning Fountain.
Mrs. Elizabeth Colt was the wife of famed gunmaker, Samuel Colt. As a local benefactor, she donated 106-acres to the city of Hartford in 1900. Today, that land has been transformed into the beautifully manicured Colt Park, which contains pools, playgrounds, handball and racquetball courts, baseball diamonds as well as Dillon Stadium overlooking the Connecticut River. In the summer, Colt Park is usually packed with sun-starved Nutmeggers trying to enjoy the Great Outdoors before winter comes.
Riverside Park is one of Hartford's oldest public parks and its location on the waterfront invites all for a relaxing stroll or bike ride next to the water. The series of four, 148-acre parks on both sides of the River are popular picnicking and excursion spots for Hartford's residents and the many people who work Downtown during the week. Visitors can use the boathouse for rowing along the Connecticut River, get permits to go fishing or during the summer months, and even attend one of the numerous events at the riverfront venue, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.
Take a break from your hectic schedule and enjoy a few moments of relaxation at Elizabeth Park Conservancy. Operating since 1897, this beautiful park has been a place of interest for the locals as well as the tourists due to its charming gardens. The property spans over an area of 102-acres (41-hectares) and is home to a heritage rose garden, horticultural garden, shade garden and four other gardens. Besides the lush greenery, it features four century-old Greenhouses verdant pathways, lawns and many more things to do on a sunny day. It also provides facilities for recreational activities like tennis courts, basket ball courts, picnic groves and many others. All in all you are sure to enjoy your time here.
Lake Compounce Family Theme Park is the one of the oldest continuously operated theme parks in the United States. The amusement park and adjoining water park are two of the hottest summer attractions in the region, as well as the Wildcat, (a wooden roller coaster built in 1927 and reconstructed with new wood in 1985) and a carousel built in 1911. This is the perfect spot for some family fun or to just admire this historic and fun-filled attraction.