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The Springfield Science Museum and Seymour Planetarium is dedicated to the natural sciences and artifacts found throughout New England. Children can explore and learn about the habitats of the Amazon rainforest, African savanna, a coral reef or the New England coastal areas. If a trip through time is more their thing, the Dinosaur Hall has replicas of Tyrannosaurus Rex as well as some dinosaurs native to the Connecticut River Valley. Tickets to the Seymour Planetarium (the nation's oldest) can be purchased separately, so sit back and check out over 7000 stars from our solar system.
One of the most unique public spaces in the country, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden has five different statues and sculptures of some of Dr Seuss' most beloved characters. A ten-foot tall Horton, plus the Lorax, Yertle the Turtle and the Cat in the Hat are some of the cartoon creatures that come to life in this playful garden. The largest sculpture is an enormous replica of Oh, the Places You'll Go!, and there is also a statue of Dr. Seuss sitting at his writing desk. Free and open daily, the garden is a great stop for anyone and everyone who loves Dr. Seuss.
Springfield's Museum of Fine Arts includes collections of fine works by some of the world's greatest painters and sculptors. Highlights of the permanent collection include works by Monet, Gauguin, Degas, Pissarro, and Renoir, 19th-and 20th-century Japanese prints, and modern artworks by O'Keefe. The Fine Arts Museum also boasts the only permanent collection of Currier & Ives lithographs.
The Springfield Armory, located in the heart of the city, is the location of one of the country's first armory and is also where the U.S. military arms were manufactured during most of the 18th Century. This significant national site is featured on the National Register of Historic Places and preserves the largest collection of historic American firearms in the world.
Founded in 1959, the present facility of the Basketball Hall of Fame was opened in 2002 in a gorgeously modern building shaped like a basketball. Located on three floors, the museum houses a large collection of sports memorabilia, exhibits, and more dedicated to athletes and teams from around the world, as well as other innovators, coaches, commentators and referees. At the end of your self-guided tour, shoot some baskets on the regulation-size court at a variety of hoops, ranging from the wooden headboards of the 1890s to the fiberglass models of the 21st Century.
Forest Park is 785 acres of pure outdoor fun. With all kinds of entertainment, including a zoo, paddleboats, tennis courts, bocce ball, playgrounds and hiking trails, Forest Park has something for everyone. In the winter, the park is a great location for sledding and snowshoeing. Whether its summer, spring, winter or fall, Forest Park has got it all.
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.
Located in the birthplace of volleyball, Holyoke, the Volleyball Hall of Fame stands as a "living memorial" to the sport of volleyball and the players, coaches and other people who have truly excelled at the highest level in the sport. Since 1987 the hall of fame has inducted over 110 members from over 20 countries and enjoys sponsorships from such organizations and companies as USA Volleyball, Spalding, and the YMCA.
The original Yankee Candle Company's flagship store in South Deerfield, Massachusetts is an exciting, fun experience for everyone. Over 160 varieties of candles are sold, everything from traditional beeswax to Shortbread Cookie scented candles, plus unique and traditionally-made New England housewares and a complete selection of Christmas decorations. There is definitely something here for everyone to enjoy! Make your own candles at the Candlemaking Museum, stroll through the Bavarian Christmas village (complete with 25ft tree and toy train zooming through the trees) with year-round snowfall or relax and enjoy a performance by the animatronic Candle Mountain Boys while snacking on some delicious baked goods. Prepare to spend hours wandering around this massive 16,000 sq ft store full of candles and other delights. There's also a lovely adjacent restaurant, Chandler's, which serves traditional New England dishes, such as Fish & Chips, Clam Chowder, Chicken Pot Pie and Toll House Cookie Pie.