HARTFORD, Conn – Connecticut invites visitors and residents to kick off the warm weather travel season with new and improved attractions for families and adults, a new centrally located luxury hotel and plenty of arts and foodie events. Whether planning a romantic weekend getaway or family fun vacation, a day of adventure or retreat, travelers can find all the information they need, including suggested trip itineraries and travel packages, at www.CTvisit.com.
This spring and summer, there are even more reasons to visit Connecticut. Here are just a few top seasonal highlights:
New this spring and summer:
- Experience luxury at the Delamar West Hartford this June, Connecticut’s newest boutique hotel, offering a full-service spa, fine dining and even complimentary bicycle rentals. Other unique lodging experiences, including B&Bs, inns and campgrounds, are featured on www.CTvisit.com along with special travel deals.
- Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Connecticut Science Center’s new exhibit, “Butterfly Encounter,” opening this June in Hartford; see an exotic array of species at Mystic Aquarium’s “Weird and Wonderful” exhibit, opening Memorial Day Weekend; explore the Maritime Aquarium’s expanded jellyfish exhibit in Norwalk, opening this summer; and, visit Changbai, a female Amur tiger on exhibit now at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.
- Reach new heights at Skydive Danielson thanks to its new airplane that allows skydivers to jump from 14,000 feet; visit Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, where youngsters can experience two new rides this spring; or, try the two new 75-foot-high zip lines at Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland, opening Memorial Day Weekend.
- Pick your own bouquet at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth on select dates this summer, to be announced; and, use the new “See & Sip Itineraries,” designed by the Connecticut Wine Trail and Connecticut Art Trail, to pick and pair wine tasting locations with local museums.
- Learn something new at Mystic Seaport by visiting the Thompson Exhibition Building, currently showing its inaugural exhibit, “SeaChange;” and, learn all about minerals at Nature’s Art Village’s new state-of-the-art miniature golf course opening this summer, joining the 40 life-sized dinosaurs, pristine nature trails and indoor activity center.
- Explore 216 miles of Connecticut shoreline: soak in the rays at public beaches, including Hammonasset Beach State Park, home to the Meigs Point Nature Center; kayak around the Thimble Islands; take a lighthouse boat tour; and, devour a hot-buttered lobster roll at one of Connecticut’s legendary seafood shacks.
- Hit the hiking and biking trails that crisscross Connecticut for hundreds of miles, including those in The Last Green Valley, a National Heritage Corridor that runs through 26 towns in Connecticut’s northeast corner.
- Hunt for treasures along the Connecticut Antiques Trail. Make your first stop the town of Woodbury, the “Antiques Capital of Connecticut,” with more than two dozen shops to discover.
- Play and stay at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket and Mohegan Sun in Uncasville; enjoy gaming as well as renowned hotels, restaurants, spas, shopping, and live entertainment.
- Enjoy the blooms at any one of Connecticut’s major flower festivals, including the Meriden Daffodil Festival (April 29-30) and Dogwood Festival in Fairfield (May 12-14).
- Cheer on the pros at the Northeast’s only PGA tour event, Travelers Championship, in Cromwell (June 19-25) or the Connecticut Open in New Haven (August 1-4), featuring tennis great Martina Navratilova; and, music fans won’t want to miss the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in Hartford (July 14-16), the largest free jazz event in New England, and the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Goshen (August 5-6).
- Experience the arts at the Greenwich International Film Festival (June 1-4) and take in more than 60 events, screenings, premiers and educational panels; then, enjoy the work of more than 180 nationally recognized craft artists at the Guilford Art Center’s Craft Expo (July 14-16).
- Indulge in seasonal delights at the Milford Oyster Festival (August 19), featuring the largest variety of oysters at any festival in the United States; and, don’t miss all the special events at breweries along the renowned Connecticut Beer Trail.
- Try something new on Connecticut Open House Day (June 10), when Connecticut residents enjoy discounted or free admission, giveaways or special offers at 150+ attractions.
“Connecticut’s prime New England location makes it the perfect destination for visitors looking for a quick weekend escape from metro areas like New York and Boston, or an extended vacation,” said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. “We welcome visitors to come and experience Connecticut for the first time, and encourage those who have visited before to discover what’s new.”