Fairfield County Attractions
Fairfield County Connecticut is situated in the southwest section of the state, bordering New York State and Long Island Sound. While some of its towns are more residential and quietly rest in the countryside, other towns and cities in the county are booming with activities. Whether you are looking to entertain children, partake in a family adventure or need a place to impress a date, you can find plenty of attractions in Fairfield County to keep you busy.
Family activities are bountiful in Fairfield County and many often include a mix of educational learning and fun. For the littlest of your crew, check out Stepping Stones Museum located in Norwalk. This kids’ museum is interactive for toddlers and preschoolers all the way up to 10 years of age. With exhibits such as “Build It!” that allows children to explore architectural design and construction while promoting curiosity and imagination. The Energy Lab exhibit teaches about renewable energy sources such as solar power and consists of a fun water exhibit. Through exploration by splashing and pumping and directing water, they will begin to learn how water can help to generate electricity.
Ages 5 and up can enjoy the Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport consisting of a rope style obstacle course among the treetops. It is a perfect way to be healthy and have fun while appreciating nature and the outdoors. The Discovery Museum itself is one of the leading science museums in the state. The exhibits cater to children and educate by using colorful and creative ways to show how science and technology work, all in a hands-on environment. Attached to the museum is a Planetarium that provides shows for different age groups giving them an immersive theatre experience among the stars.
The EverWonder Children’s Museum in Newtown is yet another hands-on experience for little ones meant to spark imagination. Some of their exhibits include a magnet wall, tinker stations, a flight lab, dinosaur dig, digital media lab and studio, iPad table, and Lego table. The mission of the museum is to encourage children to think, inquire, and wonder about their surrounding environment. Other area attractions that are great for children include Earthplace in Westport, Sportsplex at Fairfield and the Connecticut Audubon Society in Fairfield.
Two of the most popular attractions in the county include Bridgeport’s Beardsley Zoo and Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium. Both locations have dedicated staff who work hard at conserving and protecting wildlife both on land and in the sea. Adults and children alike will enjoy watching and learning about their favorite animals through educational exhibits. The aquarium is home to the largest IMAX theater in Connecticut and presents a mix of educational documentary-style movies as well as hosts some fun events showcasing movies such as “The Polar Express”, “Jaws” and films from the “Star Wars” saga. Both locations serve food and provide hands-on activities to keep the kids entertained for an entire day’s visit.
Parks are plentiful throughout the county and provide an outdoor setting among nature where families can create some of their own fun. Levels of difficulty along trails vary from beginner to novice allowing anyone to walk a simple path or hike a more difficult route. Bring a picnic lunch to Sherwood Island State Park in Westport which has both a beautiful beach area as well as a large park filled with picnic tables and playgrounds. Other parks in the county include Indian Well State Park in Shelton, Lake Mohegan in Fairfield, Boothe Memorial Park in Stratford, Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens in Stamford and Collis P. Huntington State Park which stretches across Redding, Newtown and Bethel. Getting over to a good gym in Danbury is always a blast too.
If you enjoy the sand and salt water on a hot sunny day, Fairfield County is home to several beaches along Long Island Sound. Most of them hold contests and events throughout the summer. Two popular beaches in Bridgeport are Seaside Park and Pleasure Beach. Fairfield has quite a few different beaches, Jennings Beach being the most prominent. Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk is frequented all summer long and has a great layout for families to easily access both the beach and playground areas. Short Beach Park in Stratford is another great family location. If you’re looking for a less popular location, Long Beach in Stratford provides for a bit of peace and quiet due to its lack of food and restrooms.
If you enjoy performance art and live entertainment, Fairfield County is home to quite a few theatres and playhouses. Nationally recognized Westport Country Playhouse puts on multiple performances each year with many future Broadway stars gracing its stage through the years. Some well-known actors that have performed at the Westport Country Playhouse include Alan Alda, Liza Minelli, Sammy Davis Jr., Paul Newman and Gene Wilder just to name a few. Other area theatres that are worth checking out are the Ridgefield Playhouse, Stamford Center for the Arts, Square One Theatre Company in Stratford and The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport. Some places to check out if you are interested in visual art include the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield. Both Fairfield University and Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport also have notable art museums on campus open to the public.
Fairfield County also has its fair share of historical attractions. The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk was built during the Civil War and stands today as one of the oldest Victorian Era style mansions in the United States. Putnam Memorial State Park located in Redding is overflowing with a rich history from the Revolutionary War when the Continental Army set up camp at the site. Other historical attractions in Fairfield County include The Glass House in New Canaan, The Danbury Railway Museum, and Weir Farm National Historic Site.