20 Reasons to LOVE Spring in Eastern Connecticut

The weather is (sort of) starting to cooperate, time to break your hibernation and get out there, Eastern CT!

For us here in Eastern Connecticut, we don't necessarily pay attention to the calendar to decide if the season has changed. We have our own barometers and signs that warmer weather is just around the corner! Check out some of these springtime rites of passage. And for more springtime fun make sure to check out our Mommy Poppins Spring Guide.

1. Wild N Wacky Wednesday at Waterford Speedbowl
Waterford
From May 16 to September, you'll find few cheaper and louder nights out for the whole family! Adults pay $8 and kids 14 and under are free on Wednesdays at the Speedbowl. Plus, the action starts at 7pm and wraps up around 9pm. Just remember to bring your ear protection!

2. Mystic Aquarium
Mystic
Befriend a beluga or try the touch tank, the Mystic Aquarium gives you the opportunity for a close up encounter with all sorts of sea creatures. On Saturday, April 21 join them for a Nature Play in the Green.

3. Fred's Shanty
New London
When Fred's opens for the season, it's a sign to locals that spring has officially arrived, no matter what the calendar says. A hot dog, burger or chowder, a side of fries, and a seat by the Thames River make for a perfect spring lunch or dinner.

4. Michael's Dairy
New London
A staple in New London for almost 100 years, Michael's red brick building on Montauk Avenue serves up treats by employees in milky white uniforms with some of the best ice cream around. Check their schedule for Friday night sock hops!

5. Cruise Night at Ocean Beach Park
New London
Every Monday, starting mid-May, Ocean Beach welcomes vintage car enthusiasts from around the area to fill the parking lot with classic and collectible cars. Entry to the park is free and rides are half price with a special unlimited ride bracelet option.   

6. Connecticut College Arboretum
New London
Stroll through 25 acres and a two mile trail among tall trees and shrubs in new bloom. It's a great location to take some family photos or spot some resident turtles sunning themselves in the bog! Best of all, admission is free! 

7. Submarine Force Museum
Groton
Home to the USS Nautilus and the only submarine museum operated by the US Navy. Take a tour of thousands of artifacts at the museum or walk across the pier to tour the world's first nuclear powered submarine.  

8. Paul's Pasta Shop
Groton
A hidden gem tucked away on Thames Street in Groton, kids can order fresh pasta, made fresh daily on premises, any way they like. Grab a table on the deck and take in the gorgeous view of the Thames River and downtown New London. Leave room for dessert and order a pound of their fresh pasta to take home.

9. Alice Acres/Cows and Cones ice Cream
Gales Ferry
Shop for spring annuals and perennials at Alice Acres, then take a short walk up the drive to Cows and Cones for a quick, cool treat. Don't forget to look for Farmer Pete and his animal friends!

10. The Dinosaur Place
Oakdale

There are so many dino-themed outdoor activities to keep you and your little ones on your toes at Dinosaur Place. Wander the trails and encounter life-sized dinosaurs along the way, enjoy the playground, and when the weather (finally) warms up indulge in the zero depth splash pad.

11. Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center/Coogan Farm
Mystic
Reconnect with the outdoors at this preserve in Eastern CT. Whether you want to take a walk along the trails or meet some of the animal ambassadors on site, there's lots to keep you busy on a bright, spring day. 

12. Mystic Seaport
Mystic

There's a little something for history buffs of every age at Mystic Seaport. Check out the vast collection of historic ships, the period village, and lots of seasonal events. Check out the website and see what's happening when you decide to go.

13. Florence Griswold Museum
Old Lyme

Tour the beautiful grounds and check out the mansion itself. The gardens are sure to please no matter the weather with seasonal plantings for spring and summer. Exhibits deepen the experience by offering a close look at many aspects of Connecticut history.

14. Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut
East Lyme

Let's face it, sometimes spring means rain. Have no fear, the children's museum is here! Spend the day exploring and learning about everything from art to science. The museum is ideal for kids aged nine months to nine years.

15. Gillette Castle
East Haddam

Learn about William Hooker Gillette, a famous actor and director who built his dream castle on 184 acres overlooking the Connecticut River. The highlight is the 24 room mansion that is built to resemble a medieval castle. Discover the secrets of Gillette Castle.

16. Pachaug State Forest
Eastern CT

This state forest spans six eastern Connecticut towns. When the weather is cooperative enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, and fresh water fishing. 

17. Bishops Orchards
Guilford

As spring moves forward and warms up (seriously, promise) Bishops begins their annual rotation of pick your own. Check the website for what's available when. Or stop by and visit the farm market and enjoy the picturesque grounds.

18. Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum
Willamantic

Got a train fan on your hands? Well then head over to the Railroad Museum in Willimantic to explore Connecticut's railway history. The museum opens for the season in May.

19. The Adventure Park at Storrs Connecticut
Storrs

If you have an adrenaline junkie in the family then this might be the place for you. Climb through the treetops by daylight or moonlight. 

20. Fields of Fire Adventure Park
Mystic

Last but certainly not least, if Storrs isn't in your neighborhood, rest assured your quest for adrenaline can still be conquered at Fields of Fire in Mystic. This 50 acre adventure park offers climbing and ropes courses and is sure to test your mind and body. 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: J. Coe
Originally published 4/21/13

 

Area/Neighborhood: 
location: 
Downtown New London
State Street
06320 New London , CT 41° 21' 17.1252" N, 72° 5' 48.5592" W
Connecticut
Waterford Speedbowl
1080 Hartford Turnpike
Waterford , CT 41° 23' 49.8012" N, 72° 10' 31.8684" W
Connecticut
Ocean Beach Park
98 Neptune Avenue
06320 New London , CT 41° 18' 38.7396" N, 72° 5' 55.4892" W
Connecticut
Mystic Aquarium
58 Coogan Blvd
06355 Mystic , CT 41° 21' 48.672" N, 71° 59' 15.1908" W
Connecticut
Fred's Shanty
272 Pequot Ave
06320 New London , CT 41° 20' 1.95" N, 72° 5' 50.4744" W
Connecticut
Michael's Dairy
629 Montauk Avenue
06320 New London , CT 41° 19' 41.4624" N, 72° 5' 55.8564" W
Connecticut
Connecticut College Arboretum
270 Mohegan Avenue
06320 New London , CT 41° 22' 52.3416" N, 72° 6' 16.7724" W
Connecticut
Submarine Force Museum
1 Crystal Lake Road
Groton , CT 41° 23' 14.982" N, 72° 5' 13.1856" W
Connecticut
Paul's Pasta Shop
223 Thames Street
Groton , CT 41° 21' 23.7096" N, 72° 5' 3.4944" W
Connecticut
Alice Acres
39 Military Highway
Gales Ferry , CT 41° 24' 43.5816" N, 72° 5' 20.8968" W
Connecticut
The Dinosaur Place
1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike
06370 Oakdale , CT
Phone: 860-443-4367
41° 25' 54.4836" N, 72° 13' 19.9596" W
Connecticut
Coogan Farm
162 Greenmanville Avenue
06355 Mystic , CT
Phone: 860-536-1216
41° 22' 3.0612" N, 71° 57' 42.9732" W
Connecticut
Mystic Seaport
75 Greenmanville Avenue
06355 Mystic , CT
Phone: 860-572-0711
41° 21' 41.9976" N, 71° 58' 0.426" W
Connecticut
Florence Griswold Museum
96 Lyme Street
06371 Old Lyme , CT 41° 19' 32.5776" N, 72° 19' 36.606" W
Connecticut
Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut
409 Main Street
06357 Niantic , CT
Phone: 860-691-1111
41° 19' 21.6372" N, 72° 11' 55.2984" W
Connecticut
Gillette Castle
67 River Road
06423 East Haddam , CT 41° 25' 37.7976" N, 72° 25' 43.2192" W
Connecticut
Bishop's Orchards
1355 Boston Post Road
06437 Guilford , CT
Phone: 203-453-2338
41° 17' 23.7912" N, 72° 41' 40.776" W
Connecticut
Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum
55 Bridge Street
06226 Willamantic , CT
Phone: 860-456-9999
41° 42' 42.6456" N, 72° 13' 11.0532" W
Connecticut
Adventure Park at Storrs
2007 Storrs Road
06268 Storrs , CT
Phone: 860-946-0606
41° 49' 51.0456" N, 72° 17' 57.3864" W
Connecticut
Fields of Fire Adventure Park
715 Noank Ledyard Road
06355 Mystic , CT
Phone: 860-449-4628
41° 22' 11.1432" N, 71° 59' 47.4468" W
Connecticut