Enjoying the distinction of being the oldest mill of its kind in the country, B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill catapults visitors to the past and offers a glimpse of life as it prevailed in the 1880s. Located just north of Olde Mistick Village, this popular attraction is best to visit during the beginning of fall when the apples are at their peak and the leaves are turning. Free tours are available and demonstrations are carried out on weekends during the mill's operational season. The facility also offers wine tastings. Drop by this quaint mill and soak in the historic atmosphere while you sip on their renowned cider and munch on savory donuts.
This tribal-owned and operated museum is housed in a striking building designed by famed architect James Stewart Polshek. Permanent and temporary exhibits focus on 300 years of Native American artistry and history. Don't miss the replica of an ancient Pequot village, replete with life-sized models and sound effects. The gift shop carries splendors from all Native American tribes. Expect at least an hour drive from New Haven and call the toll free number or check the Web site for directions. There is a shuttle to the museum from the Foxwoods Casino.
Hands-on underwater exploration is a key feature of the Mystic Aquarium. Come see beluga whales in a lovely outdoor area, along with African Penguins, sea lions and much more. You can also participate in special Animal Encounter Programs where you get an hour to interact with sea lions, penguins, seals, or sting rays. In addition to exhilarating interactive experiences, visitors can survey the marine exhibits on display at the on-site gallery. Marvel at the Giant Japanese Spider Crabs or admire sharks and pufferfish in their natural habitats. The aquarium also features an expansive Jurassic exhibit that delights kids and adults alike.
The Museum of America and the Sea is a great place to take the kids to teach them about the importance and effects of the whaling industry on the towns dotting the Connecticut shoreline. America's last wooden whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan, resides at this fascinating living history museum in Mystic, a quaint seaside town about an hour outside of New Haven. Learn about the steps involved in making the perilous trip out to sea for fishing or whaling, admire the historic vessels on display here, and walk down memory lane as you explore a historic seafaring village. Scenes from Steven Spielberg's 1997 film Amistad were filmed here. Visitors can also participate in numerous hands-on activities, making a trip here an incredibly memorable one. The nation's leading maritime museum, Mystic Seaport is a must-see if visiting Connecticut.
The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is a 300-acre (120-hectare) wildlife sanctuary, which serves as a refuge for numerous species. It's a place full of adventure, with several hiking trails beckoning to explorers and picturesque environs inviting quiet contemplation. Families can enjoy a picnic in the company of nature at the picnic tables. The Center comprises a natural history museum, a storehouse of information on natural phenomena and wildlife, and a nature shop where visitors can buy nature guides, bird feeders and other useful articles. Events and summer camps for kids are also organized.
The off-shore New London Ledge Light was built in 1909 and has been operated by the United States Coast Guard since 1939. This little brick lighthouse is one of the most iconic structures in Connecticut, sitting at the mouth of the Thames River. Many are aware of the lighthouse thanks to paranormal television programs, like Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters, who have traveled to this outpost in search of the building's most famous tenant, "Ernie." Whether or not Ernie exists is up to you, but you might not want to be out at the lighthouse by yourself after dark.
Sabino is a wooden war boat that was launched in 1908 from what was known as the American mosquito fleet. Its historic importance earned it a National Historic Landmark designation in 1992. This small, coal-fired steamboat can be seen at the Mystic Seaport Museum, where visitors can take rides on it over the Mystic River. It is 57 feet (17 meters) in length and requires a crew of three. A quick tour on this ride is like time travel.
Joseph Conrad is a veteran iron-hulled ship that has traveled more than around 57,000 miles (92,000 kilometers). A ship with a great history, it was originally launched in 1882 as Georg Stage. Further, after sailing as a private yacht, she prepared as a trainer. Today, she stands still as a museum ship at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. In 1905, Georg Stage sank, taking along 22 men with her. Later however, she was heightened and refurbished to regain her career. A ship of mammoth history and spellbinding beauty, it is a must visit.