By Mary Fischer
75 Greenmanville Ave.
Hours: Daily during summer – 9:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.
Fall Hours (Beginning October 31st): 10:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
Ticket Prices: $15 – $24 – general admission
Free Admission: Sundays, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. thru August 28
Taking day trips down to Mystic is something that has become a year round tradition in my family. While every season has something special happening, there is no doubt that summer days spent in Mystic really showcase just how much this picturesque town has to offer.
No excursion to Mystic would be complete without a visit to the historic Mystic Seaport, and my family always builds our day trips to the town around this wonderful museum. Situated right on Mystic Harbor, the Seaport allows visitors to have the experience of going back in time and seeing what life was like in a quaint New England fishing village before cars, electricity, and other modern conveniences.
Strolling the grounds of the Mystic Seaport and just taking in the scenery is entertaining in itself, but the part of the museum that kids love most is definitely getting to board and explore the ships that are docked in the harbor. From whaling vessels to fishing schooners, children love catching a glimpse of the tiny bunks and close quarters that sailors long ago had to endure during life on the high seas.
In addition to the ships that are available to tour, Mystic Seaport has a series of buildings that are set up as they were in the old fishing village. From an old-time grocery store to an apothecary shop, kids love learning about what life was like for Connecticut’s early settlers.
After spending a couple of hours during the morning at the Mystic Seaport, my family usually has one thing on the brain… lunch!
While there is a restaurant onsite, we usually head in one of two directions to grab a bite to eat and refuel for the afternoon.
Sea View Snack Bar145 Greenmanville Ave.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
If you aren’t in the mood for the whole sit-down restaurant thing and would rather savor more of Mystic’s incredible water views, then don’t miss the Sea View Snack Bar. Serving hamburgers, hot dogs, fried seafood dinners, and more, this is the perfect spot to take hungry kids who don’t want to wait for their food. There is nothing better than sitting at a picnic table enjoying a great meal while watching the boats pass by and feeling the fresh breeze.
56 West Main St.
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Mystic Pizza may hold a bit more significance for parents who are fans of 80s movies than for the kids, but since pizza is the universal kid-pleaser, this is a win-win lunch spot. Made famous by the movie of the same name starring Julia Roberts and Annabeth Gish, Mystic Pizza is the perfect place to grab “A Slice of Heaven” after a long morning of sightseeing.
After the kids’ bellies are full, it’s fun to take a walk down Main Street in Mystic to check out all of the cute little shops or do some window shopping. Kids will also love popping into one of the ice cream shops on the main drag for a frozen treat after lunch.
If families aren’t too worn out after visiting the Mystic Seaport and grabbing a bite to eat, then making an afternoon stop at the Mystic Aquarium is a great way to finish off the day.
55 Coogan Blvd.
Summer Hours: 9:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.
Ticket Prices: $21 – $29
The Mystic Aquarium is small, and you can walk through the whole interior exhibit in 45 minutes to an hour. There is also an outdoor exhibit with penguins, sea lions, and seals that tacks an extra 20 to 30 minutes onto the trip. This is a great final stop to top off your day trip to Mystic. Kids will love checking out the array of sea life, and parents will love having worn out kids on the car ride home!
Mystic is truly one of Connecticut’s best gems. Don’t miss taking a trip there this summer!
Mary Fischer lives in Ellington, CT with her 5-year old son and husband of almost 8 years. She is the owner and author of a popular parenting blog, called The Mommyologist, where she features articles all about the changes in life that go along with being a parent.