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Southeastern Connecticut Attractions for Families, Part 2: Nature and Animals

Updated on February 28, 2017
Walking path at the Connecticut College Arboretum
Walking path at the Connecticut College Arboretum | Source

3 Wonderful Places to Experience Nature in Southeastern Connecticut

Southeastern Connecticut is full of wonderful attractions for children and families. The following 3 have always been favorites with my children: The Connecticut College Arboretum, for a place to take nature walks, hunt for frog eggs in Spring, and have picnics in the sunshine. The Mystic Aquarium for a chance to see aquatic animals up close and personal, and the new Titanic exhibit. And the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, to hike, and see wild birds of prey who have been rescued and are being cared for in flight cages. Read on for more in-depth information about each attraction.

1) Connecticut College Arboretum, New London, CT.

Located directly across from the back entrance to Connecticut College, on Williams Street, is the Connecticut College Arboretum. First established in 1931 on 64 acres, it has become a welcome escape for Connecticut College students as well as the public to convene with nature. There are gardens, forests, and meadows all surrounding a beautiful pond. Although Connecticut College biology, botany, and environmental studies students use the arboretum for educational studies, the arboretum is free and open to the public daily from dawn till dusk.

There are walking trails suitable for hiking or casual walks, and gardens and trees throughout the property labeled with their appropriate names for educational purposes. There are stone benches throughout, and large grassy areas, making the Arboretum the perfect places for picnics on sunny days. During the summer months, Connecticut College students often put on plays in the Arboretum that are open to the public. There is a pamphlet available just inside the gates for self-guided tours, and guided tours are available seasonally on Sundays.


2) The Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, CT.


No trip to the Southeastern section of Connecticut would be complete without a trip to the Mystic Aquarium! Home to New England's only beluga whales, it also has outside sea lion exhibits, with live shows inside daily, penguins that you can watch swim with an above water view as well as a below water view, a touch tank for kids, and various tanks to observe fish, jellyfish, sea horses, an octopus, piranhas, turtles, and poison dart frogs, just to name a few species! There is also a sea lion show daily. And just opened in April 2012 was a brand new Titanic exhibit. The aquarium includes a gift shop and a refreshment area.

Whether you take your family and stay for an hour or the whole day, the Mtstic Aquarium is a wonderful place to learn about and enjoy the mysteries of ocean life.


3) The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic, CT.


Located in Mystic, Connecticut the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is a favorite for families who love the great outdoors and exploring nature. The Nature Center includes woodland, meadow and wetland displays. Also get an up-close view of live frogs, fish, turtles and snakes. If your family likes to hike or enjoy a walk through nature, there are 8 miles of hiking trails which include walks through meadows, a wildflower garden, a path around a pond, and wooded areas. There is also a wildlife sanctuary where rescued birds of prey live out their days in outdoor flight enclosures. These birds include a variety of owls, red-tailed hawks, and a Peregrine Falcon. It is a perfect way for children to see these wild birds up close.There are picnic tables for families to enjoy lunch so bring your own. There are also outings for children, and also for families on a monthly basis, as well as a summer day camp for children.

Also get an up-close view of live frogs, fish, turtles and snakes who live in tanks inside the nature center.

If your family likes to hike or enjoy a walk through nature, there are 8 miles of hiking trails which include walks through meadows, a wildflower garden, a path around a pond, and wooded areas.

There is also a wildlife sanctuary where rescued birds of prey live out their days in outdoor flight enclosures. These birds include a variety of owls, red-tailed hawks, and a Peregrine Falcon. It is a perfect way for children to see these wild birds up close.There are picnic tables for families to enjoy lunch so bring your own. There are also outings for children, and also for families on a monthly basis, as well as a summer day camp for children.

And if you enjoy hiking...

There are also many places to go hiking in Connecticut with beautiful scenery, especially in autumn. Connecticut is filled with state forests and even some hilly areas with beautiful views. The book below is helpful in determining the best hikes in Connecticut for you or for you and your family members, depending on their ages, etc.

Enjoy Connecticut!






The pond at The Connecticut College Arboretum
The pond at The Connecticut College Arboretum | Source
Perfect picnic spot!
Perfect picnic spot! | Source

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    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      shuck72,

      Believe it or not, I have never been to the Mark Twain house, but as an adult, have wanted to go for years.I guess I should stop saying I would LIKE to go, and just get there. I love Gillette's Castle, but BOTH of those are in central Connecticut, not Southeastern CT. so I didn't feel as though the belonged in a hub with the S.E. CT. title. Thanks for reading and commenting. Maybe I will write a hub on the Mark Twain house...that will give me incentive to get there!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      teaches12345,

      Yes, the Mystic Aquarium is a big hit around here. Especially with children. The photos are from the ABROETUM, WHICH IS free so yes, that cost is minimal. The aquarium is expensive, and the nature center has a minimal admission cost. Thanks for reading.

    • shuck72 profile image

      shuck72 

      7 years ago from Seattle

      Mystic Aquarium is really fun to visit. I also like the Mark Twain house in Hartford and Gillette Castle.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I would enjoy the mystic aquarium visit for sure. The nature center scene photos look very relaxing. It seems like a good visit and am assuming the cost is minimal. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Lizam and HawaiiHeart, thanks for reading and commenting. I have lived in CT. most of my life and decided it was time to point out some of the good things about CT.

    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 

      7 years ago from Hawaii

      The aquarium sure sounds like something my kids would love to visit!

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      Looks and sounds beautiful.Thanks

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