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10 One-of-a-Kind Educational Day Trips to Take In Connecticut

Educational-Trips-CT-Beardsley-Zoo
Written by Ryan Sylvestre

Looking for a unique day trip in Connecticut that will both entertain and educate? Here are 10 of our favorite educational attractions from around the state perfect for both children and adults alike. From animals to aircraft to submarines and cartoons, there’s something for every taste!

Learning is what drives us. Humans crave knowledge, and most of us dedicate a lot of time to learning about a specific field of study (as in, our college majors). But there’s so much to learn in our world. Why would we just focus on one section?

When I was a kid, my mom would tell me to “learn something new today” before I got on the bus for school. It’s great to know that there is always something new to experience and learn.

We have put together a list of fun educational trips for you to take to in Connecticut that will help keep those brain cogs turning. Whether you’re a parent with a curious child or you’re just curious yourself, these are some of the most interesting educational attractions that Connecticut has to offer.

Editor’s Note: All photos courtesy the various locations’ websites.

1. Beardsley Zoo — Bridgeport

The Beardsley Zoo is a fantastic place to learn about animals from all around the world, from lizards, frogs, and snakes to amazing, exotic birds, to hundreds of insects, and everyone’s favorites: Pandas, leopards, wolves, sloths, monkeys, tigers, and more.

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In addition to their everyday exhibits, the zoo regularly schedules events for each month that give guests an extra dose of education on certain animals. Do you need to get a little more information on the Northern Pintail? Or perhaps you need to sharpen your knowledge on the Amur Leopard.

If you have the little ones with you they might enjoy the scavenger hunt around the zoo or even some great hiking spots located around the area.

2. New England Air Museum — Windsor Locks

The New England Air Museum (NEAM for short) has a huge display of old and newer aircrafts with tons of information about when and where these planes were used, perfect for history lovers.

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If you’re going with your family, there’s a paper-airplane-making station to help abate your competitive sides, and there’s even a flight simulator that will let you test your skills. This simulator is constructed from real airplane parts and kids can learn how to control elevation and rudder controls. You can even hop up in the cockpit of a real E-1B plan!

3.  Barker Character, Comic, and Cartoon Museum—Cheshire

Barker Museum is the spot if you need a break from being so serious all the time. It’s one of the most unique museums in all of Connecticut, chock-full of comic book and cartoon characters, toys, posters, and other media, perfect for reminiscing about your youth and even learning a bit about your favorite characters’ histories.

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Once you’re inside be sure to check out the Popeye collection and the “Early days of Disney,” something they’re known for.

4. Mark Twain House — Hartford

What better way to spend a lazy day than with a visit the home of one of the most influential writers to ever impact American culture: The Mark Twain House. This museum captures the essence of who Mark Twain was and gives visitors insight into his inspiration for some of his most famous works, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Day trip to the Mark Twain House

The house was named a historical landmark in 1963 which was when the formal restoration of his home began. The amazing interior of the house is sure to excite the inner writer in all of us. If you have a passion for his work or know very little, the Mark Twain house is a great place to renew your love for old American history.

5. Westport Art Center Museum — Westport

Take some time to appreciate and learn about some of the finest pieces of art Connecticut has to offer. The Westport Arts Center is here to give you an informational tour which includes a thorough walk through of the exhibits and a small, hands on arts activity inspired by your tour.

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The museum regularly scheduled events for extra learning opportunities, like “Drink and Draw” nights and musical performances. Keep checking back for other activities for kids and families. If you enjoy art and conversation this would be a great stop to take to fuel your brain.

6. USS Nautilus Museum — Groton

This museum houses and takes care of some of the finest submarine artifacts the world has to see. This happens to be the only museum operated by the United States Navy, which almost guarantees that they have the best of the best.

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They have over 33,000 artifacts, tons of documents and photographs. If you want to see torpedoes and submarine replicas hanging from the ceiling this is a must visit! You can even gaze upon the Nautilus, the first nuclear powered ship and first boat to go to the north pole. If you have a future Navy recruit in the family or are just crazy about boats make sure to take a swing by the USS Nautilus Museum.

7. American Clock & Watch Museum — Bristol

Take a trip back in time, literally. With more than 5,500 watches inside, this museum holds one of the largest displays of American watches and clock in the world, bound to peak your interest in older watch technology along with the evolution of the production of this important historical pieces.

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Looking at all of the different types and shapes of watches and clocks makes for a highly educational day. Reading about where some of the finest and most famous watches were made can help you better understand how these products rose above all others. Make sure to pay a visit to the American Clock & Watch Museum for a look back in time.

8. Slater Museum — Norwich

This museum is located on the grounds of the Norwich Free Academy School. This museum operates with the mission to “awakens visitors to the richness and diversity of the human experience through art and history.”

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To really experience the value of the amazing artifacts you may want to consider taking a free tour of the museum. Just be sure to schedule a tour ahead of time if you are visiting with a large group. This museum prides itself on the value of education they offer to the school and surrounding community. Having been here myself I can truly say that this museum is one of a kind and an eye opening experience.

9. Yale Peabody Museum Of Natural History — New Haven

If you love earth sciences then look no further, this is the place for you. The Yale Peabody Museum has exhibits that outline key factors of anthropology, scientific instruments, dinosaurs, and much, much more. This is a place where you can come to learn about mammals and then turn the corner and educate yourself on mineralogy.

Yale Peabody Museum

They offer tours led by experienced museum workers and are offered at no charge. These tours explore “Dinosaurs to Egypt” and “Past and Present.” Tours are offered on a “drop-in” basis every Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to check their website for more information on what times the tours are available.

10. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum — Ridgefield

This museum is all about innovation. If you find traditional art dull, then this museum may be more your speed. The art exhibits at the Aldrich Museum ask you to think and make your own interpretation.

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This is the only museum in Connecticut dedicated to contemporary art. The Aldrich Museum offers tours and special events for adults, kids, and families who need a little extra dose of innovation. This elegant space allows you to take an adventure through new ideas and concepts while learning about influential artists that specialize in contemporary style. Give the Aldrich Museum a try for a truly unique experience.

What do you think?

Do you have a favorite museum or educational day trip that didn’t make our list? Let us know, and we’ll consider adding it to the list if we agree!

About the author

Ryan Sylvestre

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