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Since the American Revolution, Connecticut has had three Capitols; built in 1878, this angelic-white structure is the state's third and last one. Designed by renowned American architect Richard M. Upjohn, the gold-domed building was erected in the Victorian Eastlake Movement-style and constructed using marble sourced from three different East Coast states. The iconic structure's stunning main facade is embellished with a series of carefully-crafted statues that bear likenesses to some of the most influential politicians and historic citizens to have come out of Connecticut. The capitol building is currently home to the state senate and the house of representatives, while also maintaining the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
One of the best museums in the entire country, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art houses some of the finest collections of European art. The museum walls are lined with Renaissance and Modern art, including work by Caravaggio, Lorrain, Picasso, Degas, Cézanne, van Dyck, Monet, Van Gogh, and more. One of the most outstanding collections at the museum is that of the Hudson River School and late 19th Century oil and watercolors from local artists. Open since 1842, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest public art museum in the United States.
Hartford Stage is one of the leading resident theaters, known internationally for entertaining and enlightening audiences with a wide range of the best world drama, from classics to provocative new plays, musicals and neglected works from the past. The theater has earned many distinguished awards and it maintains a strong commitment to private/public partnerships, educational programs and humanities initiatives within the the community.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is dedicated to the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin and it offers a profound insight into the life and times of this suffragette. This is the home in which Stowe lived from 1873 until her death in 1893. The house includes authentic, restored furniture pieces as well as souvenirs from her journeys around the world. A library, located on the grounds of the nearby Day House contains books, manuscripts, images and more. Visitors can also view eight Victorian gardens on the grounds of the estate as well as several special events held throughout the year.
The Connecticut Science Center is where everyone can immerse themselves in forensics, physics, astronomy and geology all while having fun at the same time. The stunning 3D theater, educational laboratories and over 150 interactive exhibits are sure to keep the kids as well as the adults amused. Parts of the venue can be hired for children's birthday parties, seminars and luncheons where catering is provided and the center also allows for overnight educational visits too.
This home on Farmington Avenue is where Mark Twain lived from 1874 until he moved to Europe (due to bankruptcy) in 1891. It is also the place where Twain wrote some of his most famous works, such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The estate is in constant renovation and the curating team is always looking to restore it as it was when Twain lived here. Nonetheless, the adjacent Museum offers an exclusive documentary about the writer by director Ken Burns and the home was one of the first 100 architectural sites to be registered as a National Historic Landmark in the United States.
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 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.
The New Children's Museum is the fifth oldest children's museum in the country and was established in 1927. It provides interesting technology exhibits as well as natural ones like a wildlife sanctuary, butterfly house (seasonal) and a visit inside "Conny the Whale." The planetarium is another highlight and the programs include field trips, birthday parties, facility rentals and other outreach events with the community.
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.
The University of Connecticut was founded in 1881, originally as an agricultural college. Today, its location about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Hartford and the school prides itself in its their high academic standards as well as its basketball teams.. The university's architecture is reminiscent of early 20th Century colleges, with gorgeous Gothic buildings alongside the modern facilities. UConn is one of New England's top-ranked public universities and is worth the trip to the serene countryside for a basketball game, to see a show at the Jorgensen Center, or some sightseeing in fall when the leaves change.