So today is the first day of spring, and I think we all collectively willed the sun to come out after a gloomy start to the morning. I know I gave those clouds the stink eye and told them they better scat 🙂
Even though the weather may not have gotten the memo yet, I’m still going to start thinking ahead to all those fun, and more importantly, outdoor activities we’ll be able to enjoy before too long (I hope!).
So I’ve put together a list of some of our best bets for springtime, that glorious, all-too-short season nestled right between “Pile on the coats, hats, boots, and mittens” and “Get me inside where there’s some air conditioning” 🙂
All parks come back to life in the spring, but some are particularly lovely with crops of fresh flowers and artful displays of foliage. Others are also filled with fun things to discover like animals, playgrounds, and trails.
One of our favorite parks to enjoy in the spring is Wickham Park in Manchester, CT. Beautiful gardens, shady picnic areas, three playgrounds (yes, three!), a nature center, plus a sensory garden with a working model train and a snack bar (railroad and snack bar have limited weekend hours, see our post for details). Opening day is April 5th, 2014.
Another great park to explore is Northwest Park in Windsor, CT. It has an expansive playground, a nature center, an animal barn, walking trails, a pond, a dog park (for your other baby), and more.
Other parks to enjoy:
- Dinosaur State Park Exhibit Center and Nature Trails (Rocky Hill, CT)
- Gillette Castle State Park (East Haddam, CT)
What better time of year to take a lovely stroll, get some much-missed exercise, enjoy the fresh air, admire nature’s beauty and bask in the sunshine. And your little one will love it too. Some of our favorite, stroller-friendly walking destinations include the West Hartford Reservoir (a great option for some serious exercise), the Glastonbury Multi-Use Trail (short, sweet, and totally paved), and the Nevers Park Walking Trails in South Windsor, CT (this one even has a great playground nearby too!).
Other trails to explore:
- Elizabeth Park Walking Trails (Hartford, CT)
- Westmoor Park Trails (West Hartford, CT)
- Wintergreen Woods Bike Path and Trails (Wethersfield, CT)
This is a great time of year to check out some of our favorite places to get up close and personal with animal friends. Many of these types of venues have both indoor and outdoor exhibits and activities, so when the weather gets gorgeous you’ll enjoy your visit even more.
Check out Connecticut’s own Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, CT, or zip up to the Zoo in Forest Park in Springfield, MA. Feel like taking a day trip? Head to the fantastic Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI or the Central Park Zoo in NYC.
And don’t forget about Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT; indoor/outdoor nature centers like Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton, CT; and petting zoos like Flamig Farm in Simsbury, CT (Flamig Farm’s petting zoo opens for the season April 1st, 2014).
Also, Westmoor Park in West Hartford, CT is starting up their popular Gentle Touch Class series in April (click here for class dates/times). This is a great way to introduce your little one to familiar farmyard animals.
Last but certainly not least, spring means the return of playground season. After a winter spent searching for indoor places where the kiddos could be active, it’s so nice to once again be able to zip down the street to your local playground any time you want to (seriously, as I type this section, Boo is hanging upside down from the living room sofa–we sooooo need a playground visit soon!). We’ve been to more than 30 playgrounds (!) over the past two and a half years, and we definitely have some favorites.
- Rainbow Playground in Southington, CT is a fully fenced-in Boundless Playground with many unique features.
- Bodie’s Place in Milford, CT is a whimsical playground featuring two large separate playscapes for big kids and small kids, plus it’s fully fenced-in.
- Buckingham Road Playground in Avon, CT is a huge play space that’s fully fenced as well (are you sensing a theme here?! We love fenced-in playgrounds 🙂 ).
- Rotary Park Boundless Playground in Simsbury, CT has something for all ages.
- Or sneak in a visit to the Clinton Town Beach Playground in Clinton, CT for oceanside fun and beautiful views before beach season officially begins and there is an entry fee.
Curious to find out what other playgrounds we’ve visited? Click here to see the whole list.
So there you have it. Our top picks for enjoying a beautiful New England spring. Now we just need that spring weather to arrive. Hang in there 🙂
What’s your favorite springtime activity?
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