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.
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.
Old Sturbridge Village has been a staple for schoolchildren and families in New England since 1946. This 200-acre (81-hectare) living history museum features beautiful grounds with buildings transported to Sturbridge, Massachusetts from all around the Northeast. Your tour of the property begins at the Visitor Center where you can see special exhibits and videos about life in early 19th-century New England. Step inside any of the buildings and you will find historians dressed in period costumes explaining the origins of the structures and their role in the community. There are over 40 buildings on the property, including a schoolhouse, gristmill, smithery, bake shop, law office, printers and typical 1830s-style homes. There is an on-site restaurant, the Oliver Wight Tavern, where you can enjoy lunch or brunch on the weekends. In springtime, children will love to see the newborn lambs and cows!
Storrowton Village is a living history museum located on the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds. The antique buildings around the mini-town within the fairgrounds recreate a New England town during the 19th Century. The Village is primarily open during the summer months and gets the most visitors of the year during The Big E fair. Take a tour, and have a costumed volunteer docent answer your questions about Storrowton Village, or enjoy a meal at the Storrowton Tavern.
Come visit the birthplace of one of America's best-loved authors, Emily Dickinson, who was born here in December 1830. The famed poet spent most of her life here composing over 1800 poems. The property consists of two different residences that are open to the public: The Evergreens, home to Emily's brother Austin, and The Homestead, where she lived and where her numerous unpublished poems were found after her death. Visitors can see both houses through special guided and audio tours.
This cluster of museums, plus a library and a national memorial, on the corner of Chestnut Street and State Street comprises the Quadrangle. The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is the oldest of the group, and consists of collection of ancient art and artifacts from Greek and Roman civilizations. The Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts is where you can find the collection of work by European and American artists collected over time. Among the most notable collection in the permanent exhibit of the museum includes paintings of John Singleton Copley and Currier & Ives' lithograph works. The Springfield Science Museum is a fine center where you can learn about the physical and natural science and its exhibits display such things as life size models and remains of dinosaurs and animals from Savannah. Various antique automobiles and weapons that were part of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, are displayed inside the Museum of Springfield History that opened to the public in 2009. The Quadrangle also houses the Springfield City Library, which was built in 1913, the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Hours and prices vary for each museum and attraction.
The Zoo in Forest Park is home to 200 animals from all over the world. From camels to lemurs and leopards, the Zoo in Forest Park is a great place to spend a fun day out with the family. In addition to all the fun animals, the zoo has a propane driven train so guests can enjoy a fun ride around the zoo when their feet get tired. One of the most interesting things about the Zoo in Forest Park is their Adopt an Animal program, where you can sponsor an animal and receive information about your animal, free zoo passes, and your name on a plaque commemorating your support of the animal. Open hours vary depending on the time of year and weather.