Technically spring arrived in Connecticut on March 20th and while we are still patiently waiting for the snow to melt, the promise of spring and the beautiful weather it brings is right around the corner (I think I may have seen 50 in the weather forecast this week. Woo Hoo!)
So to make sure you are prepared for the warmer weather and sunny days ahead, we are sharing with you today our 10 favorite Connecticut parks to enjoy this spring!
Encompassing 473 acres in Windsor, this park is overflowing with things for families to enjoy. My kids love to visit the park’s animal barn, but that is just the start of the activities available here. Northwest Park has walking/hiking trails, a playground, nature center, a pond with fish and ducks, and year-round family-friendly activities. Plus, the park offers a treat for the dog in your life, a dog park located near the entrance. Be sure to visit Northwest Park this spring and maybe even check out their Easter event on April 4th.
2. Nevers Park
Located in South Windsor, this park has plenty to keep a family busy all day. Its boundless playground, My Friend’s Place, includes a playscape for both the big and little kids, baby swings, a sandbox, musical instruments, a garden, and more. Multiple walking trails offer an easy activity with stroller-friendly pathways ranging in distance from a little under a mile to almost two miles long. If your family has a four-legged member (of the dog variety) bring them along on this outing and let them have their own fun at the park’s dog park. And be sure to return to this park in the summer when the South Windsor Farmer’s Market opens for the season!
3. Wickham Park
This Manchester park will open for the season on April 11, 2015 and while it is the only park on our list with an entrance fee ($4/car weekdays; $5/car weekends & holidays), that bit of information won’t surprise you when you read all that it has to offer visitors. Wickham Park has three playgrounds (including a fully fenced-in option), an aviary, a nature center, trails, sensory garden, fields, picnic areas and more. On weekends you can find the snack bar open and even a model train running in the sensory garden. There is so much to explore here that it might take you a few visits before you see everything!
This BRAND NEW park located in Glastonbury will be a happening place this spring. With scenic river views, two fully fenced-in playgrounds, easy parking, walking paths, a boathouse (with boat launch), and plenty of space for the kids to run and play. Plus, starting in July, this park is home to a summer concert series on Wednesday evenings and a band concert on Sunday evenings. With so much to do, Riverfront Park will be a top destination for kids of all ages.
Each spring, Elizabeth Park in Hartford opens their flower-filled greenhouse and lets visitors enjoy the sweet scent of the season (runs until March 27th this year). Then tulips begin to bloom in their beautiful gardens and soon after their amazing rose garden and concert series welcomes summer. The views in this park are stunning (bring your camera), but there is even more offered here. The Pond House Restaurant, located right on the property, is a great place to enjoy a sit down meal or you can grab a quick bite from their snack bar located outside. Long paved paths in the park provide plenty of space for a stroller-friendly walk and the brand new playground (located on the east side of the park) is a must-see destination.
Tucked away in Granby, Salmon Brook Park mixes natural elements with modern entertainment to create a popular destination for kids of all ages. The Salmon Brook itself provides a place for kids to wet their feet and explore while two playgrounds, athletic fields, walking paths, trails, and a swimming pond provide fun for the whole family. Plus this park even has amenities for your family pet with a dog park and a horse exercise area. Year-round activities and entertainment at this park make it a fun spot to visit no matter the season.
Located in West Hartford, this park is a unique place for families to visit. In the barn, guests can see chickens, cows, goats, horses, pigs, ducks and more. Then inside the main building, there are snakes and other reptiles to observe. Once you are done visiting with the animals, there are several walking trails to explore on this beautiful property. Visit Westmoor Park for FREE daily or support the park by signing up for one of the many programs they offer.
Located in Southington, this park has many wonderful features including its fully fenced-in Rainbow Playground which contains two playscapes, a sandbox, swings, and a stroller-friendly pathway lining its perimeter. Panthorn Park is a great place to visit when you want to meet up with a friend, enjoy your coffee, and catch up while the kids play. The park also has other great features including walking trails, basketball and tennis courts, picnic areas, and more.
Located in Milford, the highlight of Eisenhower Park is Bodie’s Place Playground. This treehouse-inspired play area has separate playscapes for big and little kids, lots of swings, a sandbox, a large covered picnic area and fun things to explore in every corner. And the best part about it — the playground is fully fenced-in!
Getting to this East Haddam park can be half the fun. If you need to cross the river to get there, a historic ferry or swing bridge will be your options (try both!) Once you arrive, there are trails and pathways to explore and absolutely stunning views to discover. Pay a fee (or get a free museum pass) to go inside the actual castle (open Memorial Day to Columbus Day) or just wander around the beautiful grounds (for FREE). Bring a lunch and enjoy it there.
So there you have it, 10 Connecticut parks we think you should put on your outing list for this spring!
Now if we could just get the numbers in this weather forecast to inch up a little further, we will all be out there exploring these great parks very soon. I wish it were this easy . . . Hurry Spring!
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- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- 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.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
- Sleep, Baby, Sleep – Based out of Farmington, CT, this website is dedicated to helping babies and toddlers sleep through the night. It provides tons of great articles and information addressing the most common baby sleep troubles, customized baby sleep plans, and one on one support to help parents and babies get more Zzz’s.
Want to keep up with things to do with kids in Connecticut?
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