Essex

All Aboard the Pumpkin Patch Express

These rattling, toot-tooting relics are truly treasures across New England landscapes. Each time those vintage diesel locomotives come to life, you can hear that pitter patter of those train-loving little souls of ours. Their dome-cars with padded seats offer the ultimate views for the leaf peeper in all of us and a stop at the pumpkin patch is sure to delight those littles in tow. Here is a roundup of historic Connecticut trains and trolleys to climb aboard this fall. And, for more autumn adventures, check out our CT Halloween Guide for Kids. 

The Top 10 Things to do with Preschoolers this Holiday Season

From Pinterest-perfect teacher presents to waiting online for those coveted tickets, the Christmas season can be, well, stressful. There's the Christmas parties, the Christmas cards, and then the presents. And the shopping for the presents. We all seriously need a vacation by 5 p.m. on December 25th. But, when you see those little faces light up when they see the guy in red or when they come across an actual living, breathing reindeer, or when they hear that whistle blow. Every second is worth it. We've rounded up the top 10 things to do with your preschooler during the holidays. So get out there and embrace the magic of the season and make yourself some memories to last a lifetime. Be sure to check out our CT Holiday Guide for even more holiday fun. 

North Pole Express and the Santa Special

By the time you read this, most of the good dates for the North Pole Express will be sold out. The good news is, this speaks volumes about the world-class holiday event in our very own backyard. The bad news, of course, is that unless you're willing to trek up on a random Tuesday night or wait until after Christmas (there are trains running until December 29) you might want to hold off until next year. But again, it's likely that even at this late date (and yes, the end of October/early November is very late when it comes to North Pole Express tickets) you will still be able to book in for a school night here and there. On the other hand, if you would rather take your little ones aboard the Santa train during daylight hours, the Santa Special is just the thing for you. And the best part is, it doesn't sell out nearly as fast. 

Best Marine Experiences for Connecticut Kids

Whether you’re helping raise a sail to a sea chantey, steering a wooden ship’s wheel or exploring coastal habitats on land, there is hardly a shortage of marine experiences for your sea-loving scalawags in Connecticut.

We have rounded up some of the best sailing adventures, Long Island Sound tours and shore programs across the state. For more waterfront fun, be sure to check out our Connecticut Beaches and Water Fun Guide and the best places for Canoeing and Kayaking with Kids in Connecticut.

Indulgent Mother's Day Brunches in Connecticut

What's not to love about brunch? A magical marriage of all the best things served up with a mimosa and a slice of cantaloupe, brunch is arguably the most indulgent meal right out of the gate. Maybe that's why it has become something of a tradition to spoil the ladies who work tirelessly making sure everyone is cared for by taking them out to these panoplies of decadence on Mother's Day. We are extra spoiled in Connecticut because of our epic food scene so finding a brunch fit for a queen isn't hard at all. So pick a spot, make a reservation, gussy up the fam and treat mom! She deserves it.

A Visit to the Connecticut River Museum in Essex

In Eastern Connecticut, on the edge of the Connecticut River, a small unassuming building holds many archeological treasures, history lessons, nautical artwork, and a full-sized replica of the first American submarine. The 22nd Annual Train Show is a special seasonal attraction for visitors of all ages, and only a few minutes away, a ride on the North Pole Express awaits at the Essex Steam Train Station. 

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