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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.
Technically the oldest of the Six Flags franchises, the former Riverside Amusement Park was purchased by the amusement park giant in 1996. Children of all ages can enjoy the park's array of rides, which includes one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the world. The park also houses the Hurricane Harbor Water Park, and many rides and areas designated for smaller children. Visit around Halloween to encounter one of New England's scariest spots, as Six Flags puts on its annual Fright Fest. The park's hours change daily, so be sure to check online before visiting.
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.