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Best family parks in Connecticut

Connecticut is home to hundreds of state and local parks that are fun for the whole family. Here is just a sampling of some of the best family parks in Connecticut.

Family picnic at the park

Bushnell Park

Located in the middle of downtown Hartford near the State Capitol, Bushnell Park offers a great escape for families to enjoy some fun in the sun. The park features a lot of open grass to play, over 150 varieties of trees and their famous 1914 carousel. Though parking is a little difficult, it’s worth the hassle to get to this wonderful park. You’ll find a number of photo opportunities in front of the park’s many fountains, statues and memorials. The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch is especially popular. The park is also home to concerts, kids’ programs and other events throughout the year.

Location: 30 Arbor St., Hartford, CT 06106

Phone: 860-232-6710

Rates: Admission to the park is free


Dinosaur State Park

Take your kids to Dinosaur State Park where they can get a look at real dinosaur tracks. Underneath their dome, you’ll find a unique display of early Jurassic fossil tracks, a life-size Triassic diorama and a number of interactive displays. In addition to the exhibit center, the park also features over two miles of trails, picnic facilities, the popular arboretum and a track casting area. Dinosaur State Park is a must-see destination for both kids and adults visiting or living in Connecticut. Dinosaur State Park’s 200-million-year-old sandstone trackway is a registered natural landmark.

Location: 400 West St., Rocky Hill, CT 06067

Phone: 860-257-7601

Rates: $6 for adults, $2 for kids (ages 6-12), free for kids 5 and under


Silver Sands State Park

Cool off with a swim or take the family saltwater fishing in the Long Island Sound at Silver Sands State Park in Milford. This 47-acre park features the beach, boardwalk, picnic areas, restored salt marsh and much more. During low tide, you can walk across the tombolo — a narrow strip of land — to Charles Island. The island is a 14-acre bird sanctuary, which is said to be the location of Captain Kidd’s buried treasure.

Location: Silver Sands State Park Park Way, Milford, CT 06460

Phone: 203-874-3703

Rates: Admission is free


Gillette Castle State Park

Not your ordinary park, Gillette Castle State Park features an amazing castle that was designed by and home to actor William Gillette, who is known for portraying Sherlock Holmes on stage. Over 300,000 people visit Gillette Castle State Park each year. The park also features a museum, picnic areas and hiking trails. The castle is open for tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day, while the park and grounds are open all year.

Location: 67 River Road, East Haddam, CT 06423

Phone: 860-526-2336

Rates: Admission to the park is free. Castle tour tickets are $6 for adults, $2 for children (ages 6-12) and free for kids ages 5 and younger.


Northwest Park & Nature Center

This 473-acre park features a nature center, an animal barn, beautiful gardens, picnic areas, a tobacco museum and 12 miles of trails. The park is also home to a number of environmental education programs, live animal exhibits, a summer nature camp, community gardens, outdoor concerts and a fully operational maple sugar house. There’s always something new to do and see at Northwest Park, so your family will want to come back again and again. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk.

Location: 145 Lang Road, Windsor, CT 06095

Phone: 860-285-1886

Rates: Admission to the park is free


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