BOSTON -- Connecticut has emerged from the shadow of its neighbors
to the north to establish an identity of its own, according to
Joyce Fredericks, manager of national and international tourism
sales programs for the state.
"Connecticut is no longer looked at as a drive-through state. We
have gained visibility through promotional efforts but also through
coordinating efforts with the other New England states," Fredericks
One of Connecticut's draws, she said, is its diversity, with
attractions designed to appeal to active travelers, oceanographers,
romantics, families and history buffs.
"We don't claim to keep people here for three weeks, but we have
a nice combination of niches that will serve to satisfy our clients
in all four seasons."
One of the biggest new attractions available year-round,
according to Fredericks, is the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and
Research Center in Mashantucket.
Open for a year, the tribally owned and operated center serves
as a resource for the history and culture of the Mashantucket
Pequot Tribal Nation as well as other tribes.
Located some seven miles from Mystic, the 308,000-square-foot
project cost $193.4 million and features permanent exhibitions that
tell the story of the area from the Ice Age to the present day.
Interactive exhibits include archaeological collections,
dioramas and videos as well as a walk-through 16th century Pequot
village, 17th century fort and 18th century farmstead.
Following is a sampling of what else is new for the upcoming
season. Individual contact information is listed where available;
otherwise, contact the state office of tourism.The Mark Twain House and the adjacent Carriage House in
Hartford have undergone an extensive renovation. An exhibition of
original Tiffany designs will run through June 1, 2000, at the Mark
The construction of a $1.4 million, 28,000-square-foot visitor
and education center is in the works, with a targeted completion
date of 2001. The opening of the center was timed to coincide with
the debut of an upcoming Ken Burns PBS documentary on Twain's
Phone: (860) 247-0998"Mark Twain's America," an IMAX film, will run daily at the
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Oct. 22 to Dec. 24.
Phone: (203) 852-0070
Mystic Aquarium is adding an outdoor beluga whale exhibit this
year and is opening the new, interactive Institute for
Exploration's Challenge of the Deep.
Phone: (888) 9SEAPORT
The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport will feature the 20th
International Marine Art Exhibition through Nov. 7, with more than
100 artists from around the world."In Style on the Nile: Boats of the Pharaohs" will run through
February 2000 at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.
The exhibition is offered in conjunction with the new IMAX film
"Mysteries of Egypt," which opens Oct. 22 at the Maritime
Phone: (203) 852-0700
The American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol has been
renovated and added new exhibits.In Litchfield, renovations have taken place at the Tapping
Reeve House and First Law School as well as at the White Memorial
Conservation Center Museum, located in a 4,000-acre state
park.In New Haven, the Yale Boathouse in Derby will be relocated to
Long Wharf and converted to a museum about the Amistad
The ship, made famous by Steven Spielberg's recent film of the
same name, is under construction at Mystic Seaport and will be
moored at Long Wharf from March 2000.The Yale Center for British Art in New Haven was renovated and
has reopened.The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport has added tigers to its
inhabitants and has opened a new restaurant.Harkness Mansion, located in Harkness Memorial State Park, has
been renovated and now is open to the public. The 42-room estate,
which overlooks Long Island Sound, features picnic areas and formal
gardens.The WPA stone picnic pavilion, which dates from 1935, reopened
after a two-year renovation. Located in Rocky Neck State Park, the
pavilion can accommodate some 400 people; the second floor is
available for rent by groups.Kid City in Middletown recently opened, offering hands-on
exhibits for children 12 and under. Exhibits include a TV station,
a ship, a farmyard, a Main Street and a diner.The Stepping Stones Museum in Matthews Park in Norwalk,
designed for kids up to age 10, is set to open this fall. The
museum offers interactive play in a variety of disciplines,
including art, science and technology.Timexpo, a watch museum sponsored by Timex Corp., will open in
Waterbury in 2000.Winter celebrations in Connecticut include tree lighting
celebrations and holiday bazaars in early December in Stamford,
Mystic, Avon, Norwalk, New Britain, East Hartford, Southington,
Bethlehem, Hartford, Milford and Cheshire, just to name a few.The 11th annual Saybrook Stroll, set for Dec. 3, will feature
such New England fare as hay rides, live entertainment and a visit
from Santa. The event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m.
Phone: (860) 388-6188Stamford will ring in the new millennium with a fireworks
display by the Grucci company.
Phone: (800) 866-7925
The 22nd annual Lantern Light Tours will take place in Mystic
Seaport from Dec. 3 to 20.
Phone: (860) 572-5315, (888) 9-SEAPORTThe third annual Trashy Winter Wonderland at the Children's
Garbage Museum in Stratford offers a holiday exhibit from 10 a.m.
to 2 p.m. Admission is $2.50 per person; $5 per group of four and
Phone: (800) 455-9571The 32nd annual Gingerbread Village & Bazaar in Middlebury
will run Dec. 4 to 11.
Phone: (203) 758-2165The 12th annual Festival of Lights in Olde Mistick Village in
Mystic is set for Dec. 17. The event will feature more than 4,000
luminaria as well as holiday music and costumed revelers.
Phone: (860) 536-4941The 11th annual First Night Danbury on New Year's Eve will
feature some 80 performances at 20 locations in the city as well as
fireworks and children's performances. Admission is $10 for adults;
$7 for children.
Phone: (203) 792-5095The 11th annual First Night Hartford 2000 will be celebrated
throughout downtown Hartford.
Phone: (860) 728-3089The sixth annual First Night Westport/Weston 2000 will feature
more than 200 performers and fireworks.
Phone: (203) 454-6699
The Connecticut Office of Tourism
Phone: (800) CT BOUND, (800) 282-6863