If you’ve grown up in Connecticut, it’s most likely that you visited the state’s major attractions through family outings. You went to landmarks and museums for a homework assignment or with your classmates on a field trip. Even more so, you probably explored a state park, nature preserve or family-owned farm.
Yet there are still many hidden gems throughout its regions that deserve a second look.
Each year, the CT Office of Tourism organizes Connecticut’s Open House Day, a marketing promotion that encourages CT residents to stop by or spend more time at the diverse public offerings across the state. This year, the open house falls on Saturday, June 8.
As of this writing, 188 locations are providing free or discounted admission, gifts or special activities. From Coastal Fairfield County up through River Valley, long-time favorites and local names are scheduling tours or sample tastings, offering giveaways or unveiling new exhibits.
With attractions suitable for many ages and personal interests, here are some spots worth a visit (or revisit):
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo: From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission will be free for the first 100 visitors. Bridgeport, (203) 394-6565.
Spa at Norwich Inn: From 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., the Spa is offering a 15 percent discount on day spa treatments and dining. Also, free tours of the historic property are scheduled. Norwich, (860) 886-2401.
Westford Hill Distillers: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this distillery, which is not generally open to the public, will offer free, guided tours. Ashford, (860) 429-0464.
Lime Rock Park: Open from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., each visitor get a free hot dog and Coca-Cola drink. Come in the morning to watch Lime Rock Drivers Club travel over the tracks and the afternoon, the Eastern Motor Racing Association. Lakeville, (860) 435-5000.
The Glass House: Visitors will receive a complimentary hard cover coffee table book, “Modern Views,” and can explore the interior of this iconic house and its 47-acre landscape. The two-hour tours leave at 9:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., noon, and 1:30 p.m. Advance reservations are required. New Canaan, (203) 594-9884.
To get a full list of participants in Connecticut’s Open House, visit http://www.ctvisit.com/dontmiss/details/1256. As for me, I’m going to hit up the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport and Stamford Museum & Nature Center.