Some great CT spots for kid-friendly fun
Summer flies by with the arrival of August. If you’ve been looking for activities to enjoy with children, here are some fun options:
Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven is on Long Island Sound and welcomes you as long as you’re a resident of Connecticut. Bill Dixon, deputy director of recreation for New Haven, says the 82-acre park has been open since Memorial Day and will remain open, as long as everyone continues to observe health-safety rules.
Picnic tables have been moved, and some have been removed to help with social distancing, he said in a recent phone interview. The carousel is closed for now, but you can swim, walk the beach and build sand castles. The bathrooms are open and cleaned every hour. There’s also a food truck.
Staff members and lifeguards wear masks at Lighthouse Point Park. Dixon said staff members are not policing the area, but there are signs asking everyone to wear a mask.
“If you come on a weekday you won’t have a problem getting in, but if it’s the weekend, good luck!” he said. People have arrived as early as 5 and 6 a.m. to make sure they gain entry when the park opens at 7 a.m.
While out-of-state vehicles were previously allowed into the parking area, Dixon said that’s no longer the case because the park was inundated with out-of-state visitors. “We can allow 225 cars before we shut the gate,” he said.
“Walkers who enter must present ID showing they are residents of New Haven.” The city is trying to make sure streets in adjacent neighborhoods are not clogged with cars that don’t belong there.
Note: Before you head to Lighthouse Point Park or any of the spots below, it’s best to check the associated website. That way you can see if Tropical Storm Isaias has changed anything.
The Danbury Railway Museum has reopened on Saturdays. This fully restored train station, built in 1903, houses all kinds of artifacts — everything from railroad lanterns and china/silverware to maps and photographs. There’s also an operating display of model trains. Volunteer Tom McCullough says kids can operate the trains by stepping on a foot pedal (for “contactless” fun).
Everything in the museum helps illustrate how the railroad industry impacted New England. There’s also a large outdoor area open for exploration; Danbury Railyard is a 15-track, 10-acre historic yard that’s home to more than 75 pieces of equipment and locomotives. McCullough says exhibits which are open include a 1907 Boston & Maine Railroad steam locomotive and a 1940 Maine Central Railroad caboose.
You can’t miss the Danbury Railway Museum because the world’s tallest Uncle Sam (he towers 38 feet) keeps watch over its parking lot. The 4,500-pound fiberglass statue is from the Great Danbury State Fair, an annual fair that ran for 112 years before closing in 1981. Uncle Sam then moved to a Lake George theme park for 37 years; when that shut down the city got him back.
While we’re on the subject of trains, did you know Alfred Hitchcock filmed some scenes for his 1951 thriller, “Strangers On a Train,” at Danbury’s old railroad station?
The Danbury Railway Museum, a nonprofit, is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Masks are required. Admission is $7 for ages 3 and up. Donations are always welcome.
The Ingersoll Auto Pop-up Drive-in, behind Edmond Town Hall Theater in Newtown, will be hosting screenings Friday, Aug. 14, through Thursday, Aug. 20. Pajamas and teddy bears are welcome.
This is the animated film about a kingdom that’s trapped in an infinite season of winter. Fearless Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer sidekick to find Anna's sister, Snow Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), and break her icy spell.
“Love conquers all” is the message shared in this 2013 movie. Tickets must be preordered and printed out. It’s $10 per carload. You can present your ticket in the parking lot starting at 8:30 p.m. (If you can’t print it, be sure to have it on your mobile device.) The screening starts at 9 p.m.
Anyone leaving their car must wear a mask. If you’d like the “popcorn special” — a large bucket of popcorn, two bottles of water and a packet of chocolate M&Ms — you can order it for $8 when buying your movie ticket. The special will be delivered to your car. Additional treats may be ordered by phone once you’re in the lot.
If the movie is canceled for any reason, such as storms, the change will be posted on Edmond Town Hall’s website and Facebook page by 6:30 p.m. Ticket buyers will receive a refund, but the online system fees cannot be refunded. Also, no refunds are given if it rains during the event. The screening is made possible by Ingersoll Auto of Danbury and DNR Laboratories.
Randall’s Farm Preserve in Easton is ideal for those neading a nature fix. The former dairy farm offers 34 acres of open meadows, stone walls, groomed trails and forests. The meadows are filled with wildflowers, so be sure to keep an eye out for butterflies. There’s also small ponds and snapping turtles.
This beautiful property opened in 2012 and is part of the Aspetuck Land Trust, which has joined forces with the global community of citizen scientists through the iNaturalist app . If you add your wildlife sightings to iNaturalist when you hike here, it will help the Land Trust document and manage the property. Plus, it’s great fun for kids.
Randall’s Farm Preserve is also home to a new project involving the rearing of honey bee queens. The project is run by the Back Yard Beekeepers Association. The Easton preserve is a perfect spot for this important work, thanks to its diverse environment.
Aspetuck Land Trust, a nonprofit, was founded in 1966 to preserve open space in Westport, Weston, Fairfield and Easton. Over the years it has protected 150 properties on more than 2,000 acres of land, and recently launched a Green Corridor initiative to save more land and increase biodiversity.
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