June is an exciting month around these parts. The weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer. Schools are closing. Pools are opening. And one of our favorite events is coming up this weekend on Saturday, June 14th: Connecticut Open House Day.
This popular annual event is celebrating its 10th year with a fabulous line-up of CT destinations (more than 150!) offering free or discounted admission, special events or complimentary items.
Every year since we’ve started blogging, Mandy and I have put together a list of all the participating destinations that we’ve written about. But this year, I thought I’d do something a little different. Oh sure, I’ll still give you the complete list, but I thought it’d be fun to put together a few extra special itineraries to help you get inspired to take advantage of this great opportunity to see some of Connecticut’s finest attractions.
Enjoy! And if you come up with your own fabulous itinerary, please be sure to tell us about it in the comments section below.
OAAM’s Family-Friendly CT Open House Day Itineraries
Itinerary #1: Lutz of Fun
Begin your day with an early lunch at the famous Shady Glen restaurant in Manchester, CT where you and the kiddos can indulge in gooey cheeseburgers and delicious ice cream creations. Then, head over the the Lutz Children’s Museum (also in Manchester) where you can enjoy FREE admission from noon to 5:00 p.m., as well as a FREE Touch-A-Truck event from noon to 3:00 p.m.
Itinerary #2: A Sweet Trip
Check out the Pez Visitor Center in Orange, CT. Find tons of fascinating Pez paraphernalia, learn about the history of this iconic candy, watch Pez-making in action, and of course, sample a dozen flavors of this sweet treat. Admission is FREE from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.. Follow up your sugar rush with a picnic lunch at East Rock Park in nearby New Haven, CT where the little ones can burn off all that energy on the playscape before heading home.
Itinerary #3: Dino-mite Discoveries
Go back in time at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT and enjoy FREE admission to the exhibit center from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. View hundreds of real dinosaur tracks, learn more about this prehistoric era, and get hands-on in the newly renovated Discovery Room. Afterwards, you can have an adventure on the Park’s nature trails, try your hand at track casting, or picnic on the park grounds. Alternatively, you can head down the road for a yummy lunch or dinner at On the Border or Wood-n-Tap (both in Rocky Hill), two of our Tiny Dining faves.
- Dinosaur State Park: Website. OAAM Post-Exhibit Center. OAAM Post-Nature Trails.
- On the Border: Website. OAAM Post.
- Wood-n-Tap: Website. OAAM Post.
Itinerary #4: Hot Spots for Tots
From 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., visitors with a valid Connecticut ID receive $2 off regular admission at the Children’s Museum of South Eastern Connecticut in Niantic, CT with its entertaining indoor space plus two outdoor play spaces. Then head for the shore to enjoy lobster rolls and ice cream cones at the über family-friendly Dad’s Restaurant (also in Niantic).
- Children’s Museum of South Eastern Connecticut: Website. OAAM post.
- Dad’s Restaurant: Website. OAAM Post.
Itinerary #5: Sea Creatures and Sea Views
Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (once inside, guests may stay until 6:00 p.m.) and is offering $5 off general admission for up to four people when they mention Connecticut Open House Day and present a valid Connecticut ID (cannot be combined with any other offer). After your ocean adventure, grab a bite at Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in nearby Noank, CT where you can dine seaside (as in right next to the water) at this super casual eatery that feels just like being at a family clambake.
Want to create your own Open House Day itinerary?
Choose from these other participating venues that we’ve explored (see “OAAM Post” links below for all the details) or from the entire list of more than 150 destinations.
Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Clinton, CT will provide visitors with a Connecticut ID a complimentary gift at the Management Office (Suite 225), from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Website. OAAM post.
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in Essex, CT invites children (ages 11 and under) to ride FREE on the train when accompanied by an adult. Train departures: 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Additionally, the Essex Steam Train will officially launch the Roaring 20’s year theme for this event and guests, for no additional cost, will experience an authentic car show, meet characters from the decade, step aboard a branded locomotive, have photo opportunities, and more. Website. OAAM post*.
Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, CT will offer FREE admission to the museum’s galleries, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Lots of family-friendly exhibits to explore plus check out the special Katharine Hepburn costume collection too. Website. OAAM post.
Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT is offering FREE admission from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Celebrate Juneteenth Family Day with art, music and more for all ages. Website. OAAM post.
Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and visitors will receive $2 off the discount combo ticket which includes Aquarium admission and a classic IMAX movie. The discount is extended to all Connecticut residents with proof of residency. Website. OAAM post.
Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center in Wethersfield, CT will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. with free programs featuring live animal demonstrations and fun, educational games for all. Website. OAAM post.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
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