Top Science Exhibits In Connecticut

August 11, 2014 8:00 AM

Getting out of the hot sun and into the climate-controlled air of a museum is not a bad plan for the summer, and in Connecticut there are many places to go to cool off while learning about the world, the universe and the scientific principles that make it all go round.  There are also shady parks where visitors can walk in the steps of the dinosaurs and aquariums where seals and other creatures frolic for fun while also helping people learn about life in and around the waters of the state. Connecticut’s museum, aquariums and science centers have exhibits year round, but summer is their busiest season – and they play to the crowds to keep them coming back for more.

“Mindbender Mansion”
Connecticut Science Center
250 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 724-3623

Date: Now through Aug. 31, 2014

Although designed for children, “Mindbender Mansion” is an interactive puzzle of an exhibit that will challenge and charm museum goers of all ages. Produced in cooperation with Hasbro, the exhibit is an adventure through time and space where visitors tag along with Mr. Potato Head on an archaeological dig, a jungle safari, a voyage to the bottom of the sea and a trip into outer space. “Mindbender Mansion” is one of over 160 exhibits on view at the Science Center this summer. Many are designed for hands-on exploration in which visitors and especially children are encouraged to touch and play with so as to better understand the scientific principles of sight, sound and motion. Among the most popular and ambitious is the “River of Life” in which visitors follow the 400-mile course of the Connecticut River and learn about the fish, animals, plants and people who live in and along the great waterway.

“Blue Planet Red Planet”
The New Children’s Museum
950 Trout Brook Drive
West Hartford, CT 06119
(860) 231-2824

Date: Ongoing

When NASA wants to show off what it does, it can put on quite a show – and that show is on exhibit in West Hartford at the New Children’s Museum. “Blue Planet Red Planet” is a walking tour of Mars and NASA’s numerous projects to view and explore the Earth’s mysterious neighbor. The exhibit goes along particularly well with the show in the Planetarium, which has been a major and immensely popular part of the museum for over 40 years. While officially rechristened as The New Children’s Museum after a major renovation project, long-time patrons will see much that is familiar as well as a great deal that is indeed new at the storied kid-friendly museum next to the giant whale on Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford.

Related: Historic Walking Tour of Farmington

“Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies”
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
170 Whitney Ave.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 432-5050

Date: Now through Sept. 1, 2014

The Yale Peabody Museum is well known for its dinosaur collection and its long-time support for paleontology. Its newest addition in that regard is the delightful and insightful “Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies.” Instead of focusing on the skeletons and bones of the giants who roamed the Earth in the age of the dinosaur, this exhibit looks at them before and shortly after they were hatched. The Peabody is a prestigious center of learning and education, but its directors also know how to put on a show that will intrigue as well as inform.

Track Talks
Dinosaur State Park Arboretum
400 West St.
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
(860) 257-7601

Date: Ongoing

Dinosaur State Park is both a museum and a park. Its famous Dino Trail lets visitors literally follow in the fossilized footsteps of the dinosaurs who trod the state during the Jurassic Period. The Track Talks exhibit is a moving, guided tour of the trail. As the park is also an arboretum, visitors can view hundreds of trees and plants native to Connecticut. There are also live animals to see and pet, films to view and other exhibits to look at and touch.

Long Island Sound and Harbor Seal Exhibit
The Maritime Aquarium
10 N. Water St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
(203) 852-0700

Date: Ongoing

Everybody enjoys seals, those perky clowns of the sea, but at the Newman’s Own Hall in The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, visitors can not only see the seals put on a show, but also follow their life cycle on a massive interactive map. That map is “bigger than a school bus,” as the aquarium staff chortle with pride, and includes stations where visitors can watch videos or take quizzes that challenge their knowledge about the animals and the Connecticut waters in which they live. The aquarium has many other exhibits and sea creatures, as well as an IMAX theater.

Related: Top Museums For Dates In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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