Dinosaur Park, Connecticut

One day a civil contractor was bulldozing a piece of land in Connecticut when he stumbled upon skeletons of dinosaurs. Further excavation led to the discovery of one of the largest dinosaur tracks of North America. Today you can visit the Dinosaur Park to catch a Jurassic Trail that goes back 200 million years back in time! Some of the other places that can be covered in this trip are Peabody museum, Children's natural history museum, Wickham park and even Mark Twain's residence!

Dino Footprints

Reaching Dinosaur Park

Dinosaur State Park is located at 400 West Street in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Take I-91 to exit 23. From I-91 South, turn left at the end of the exit ramp. From I-91 North, turn right at the end of the exit ramp. Dinosaur State Park will be on your right, watch for the dome.The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University is located in the Science Hill section of the Yale campus, at Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street in New Haven, Connecticut. Wickham Park is located at 1329 West Middle Turnpike in Manchester, Connecticut and is easily accessible from Interstate 84. From east or westbound Interstate 84, take Exit 60 (Manchester-East Hartford). The park is about 500 feet west of the exit. Look for the stone gatehouse that leads to hours of relaxation and recreation. From 291 East, take exit 5.  Take a right at end of exit ramp and proceed to second stop sign.  Take a left onto Longhill Drive.  At stop light take a left onto Burnside Avenue.  Park entrance will be on the left in approximately 1 mile.

What to do at the Dinosaur Park

The Dinosaur Park consists of a Geodesic dome with fossils surrounded by a 2 mile cover of 250 species and cultivars of conifers, as well as katsuras, ginkgoes, magnolias and other living representatives of plant families which appeared in the Age of Dinosaurs. 

Start the Jurassic tour with the special cell phone provided at the counter which will help you get all the information about every exhibit. Right at the beginning is an impressive valley with a huge dinosaur surrounded by non-flowering trees. You will find it interesting to note that flowering trees had not yet evolved at that time! A dinosaur trail follows with meticulously preserved footprints. The valley from time to time, echoes with thundering sounds that are conjectured to have been made by these historic creatures. While inside the dome, don’t miss the primordial bird archaeopteryx. Other interesting specimens at the Dinosaur Park are the fossilized stones and wooden pieces of the Mesozoic age. If you want a memento, pretend to be a child and solve the Kids Puzzle to win a dragonhead with movable jaws!

 

Park History 

 

You can also visit the Peabody Natural Museum inside Yale University campus. This museum has 3 floors. The first floor is dedicated to prehistoric features like dinosaurs. An interesting Sound and Light show is available in the second floor that as exhibits from ancient civilizations of Egypt and Machupichu.  The third floor comprises of birds and animals of Connecticut. Out of these the Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Cottontail Rabbits Woodchuck, Wood Duck and Muskrat still roam the land! 

Another museum worth a visit especially if you are travelling with kids is the Children's Natural History Museum. It showcases different theme rooms like Goodnight Moon storybook. It is designed for 3-10 years old, but rumor has it that kids as young as 1 and as There is a separate science center with lots of models of movement like the pendulum and other mechanical devices which the children are encouraged to operate. There are also musical instruments like the Xylophone.

The most fun part of this museum is the weather broadcasting room. Enter here and read aloud the weather forecast and see yourself as the news reader on the screen. Other attractions are a model ship which kids can walk through, a well to draw water from and a library made interesting with several models of trains.

You can end the museum circuit with a visit to Wickham Park. It is named after Horace Wickham - the inventor of Window Envelopes, and official stationery supplier to US Govt. This park is huge with a small museum and large playgrounds. The circumambulation of the park is more than 5 or 6 miles. There are different parks like, Oriental Garden, Lotus Garden, Rhododendron Garden, Cabin Garden, Wetlands Garden and English Garden. You can also spot many birds here like turkeys, pheasants, peafowl, emus, waterfowl, and exotic chickens. The park also shelters turkey vultures,  Red-Tailed hawks, Canada geese, and a Great Horned owl, all migratory birds un-releasable to the wild due to injury.

 

Wikhahm Park 

A Discovery 

If you are a Mark Twain fan, there is a surprise waiting for you. He used to live around here. You can make a  visit to Mark Twain’s residence. There is a museum at his 19 room erstwhile mansion.

For my travelogue on other places around New York, visit Holiday Ideas around New York.

For my trevelogue on places around London, visit Holiday Ideas around London.

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