Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Staycation Connecticut Style

Staycation – a word originally coined by Brent Butt from the hit Canadian comedy Corner Gas – has been bandied about quite a bit recently. Watch the news, the ever-rising cost of filling up your tank is The Top Story in most cases. Enter The Staycation. What is a Staycation? In Brent Butt’s case, it’s an escape from his everyday life at Corner Gas. Brent takes a deckchair and sits outside his gas station with sunglasses, shorts and a case of beer, and sends “verbal postcards” to anyone who tries to talk to him as he imagines himself in some exotic locale. In our case, Staycation is a way to save money by staying local this summer. The message is you don’t need to be a tourist to visit Connecticut.

Instead of flying somewhere or driving out-of-state you can save a ton of money by taking a look at what’s available for you to do locally. Here are some suggestions for staying local this summer.

Update (7/3/2008) Today Gov. Rell introduced the Connecticut Staycation program that includes savings at 300 locations in Connecticut. Details can be found here.

Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport
Arguably Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport are Connecticut’s top tourist attraction. Now with the Mystic Sea Everything Passcard (Over $250 in value*), $49 adults $45 senior 65+, $39 youth (6-17), $20 child (3-5) this pass includes Admission to Mystic Seaport and admission to Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, a large fountain drink at both locations, a limited edition Mystic Sea Tee Shirt and multiple discounts for restaurants, shopping and lodgings in the Mystic Area. See website below for details.
Expect to pay: With the promotion Mystic Sea Everything Passcard $49 adults, $39 children.
Mystic Seaport: $18.50 adults, $16.50 Seniors, $13.00 children
Mystic Aquarium: $23.00 adults, $20.00 Seniors, $17.00 children, Children age 2 and under are FREE


Open House Day – Saturday June 14th 2008
You can visit a local museum any time of the year, but on Connecticut Open House Day, almost 200 CT attractions will open their doors to the public at dramatically reduced prices, or even free. If there’s a museum you always wanted to visit, but had put it on the back burner, here’s your chance.
Expect to pay: On Open House Day lots of bargains, or free entry. Regularly between $5 and $25 for most museums.
Click here to see the complete list of participating venues.


Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino
There’s something for everyone at Connecticut’s casinos. From shopping and dining, to great concerts, oh, and you might win something. Add a casino to your destination this summer.

MGM Grand at Foxwoods provides a total luxury shopping, dining, and entertainment experience.
www.mgmatfoxwoods.com Mashantucket, CT

Foxwoods is the largest casino in the world, with 340000 square feet of gaming space in a complex that covers 4.7 million square feet.
www.foxwoods.com Mashantucket, CT

Mohegan Sun covers 240 acres (97 hectares) along the Thames River in scenic southeastern Connecticut.
www.mohegansun.com Uncasville, CT

Amusement Parks

Lake Compounce in Bristol, open May – October.
Play all day on rides like Boulder Dash, Zoomerang and Thunder n’ Lightning. Chill near the lake in Anchor Bay, Clipper Cove and Mammoth Falls. Little thrill seekers will enjoy Garfield’s Circus World -perfect for ages 3-10, and families can enjoy our newest addition, Zoomer's Gas n' Go!
Expect to pay: $33.95 Regular Admission (52" and taller), $33.95 Junior Admission (Under 52" tall), $24.95 Senior Admission (Over 60 years of age), $17.95 After 5 pm $17.95, 3 years and under FREE

Quassy Amusement Park in Lake Quassapaug Middlebury, open May – October.
Rides for kids and adults, Quassy Beach & Saturation Station and Family Entertainment Center.
Expect to pay: Saturday Carload - 5pm -10pm (Parking charge included! May 24-Aug. 30) $20.00
Adult (45 inches and taller) All-Day Ride & "Saturation Station" Pass $21.00
Kids (under 45 inches) All-Day Ride & "Saturation Station" Pass $17.00
Senior Citizens All-Day Ride & "Saturation Station" Pass $17.00
After 5pm Ride Pass (Excludes July 4) $9.00
Visit the website below for a printable coupon.

Out of State, but still local:
Six Flags (Springfield, MA)

The Big E
For 17 days each September, Eastern States Exposition Center hosts the largest fair in the northeast and the 8th largest in North America, The Big E, in West Springfield, MA. Over 1.2 million visitors experienced the Big E last year.
This year’s Exposition is from September 12 - 28, 2008.

Local Animal Parks

Action Wildlife, Route 4 in Goshen, CT
An animal haven with a petting zoo and drive-through Safari.
Expect to pay: $10 adults, $8 children under 12

Beardsley Zoo, Bridgeport, CT
Over 80 years as Connecticut's only zoo.
Expect to pay: $11.00 adult (ages 12 & older), $9.00 child (ages 3 -11), $9.00 Senior (62 & older), Under 3 years FREE

Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, CT
CT’s top attraction with Beluga Whales, African Penguins, Sting Rays, Sharks and more.
Expect to pay: $23.00 adults, $20.00 Seniors, $17.00 children, Children age 2 and under are FREE

The Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk, CT
Highlight: Great White Alligator (only 44 exist)
Expect to pay: Value Pass (Aquarium + Daytime IMAX Movie + Ride Film*) $21.50 adults, $17.50 child, $20.00 Senior
Aquarium Only $11.00 adults, $9.00 child, $10.00 Senior

Out of State, but still local:
Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org
Highlight: Flutterby: Butterflies in Bloom (May 24 – September 1)

Riverfront Recapture
From June through October there are over 20 free events on the riverfront in Hartford. Events include free concerts, ballet, Riverfest, the Riverfront Grand Prix, festivals including, a Taste of the Caribbean, Dragon Boat Races, a Celtic festival and more.

State Parks and Beaches

More than 800 miles of hiking trails. 2,000 miles of rivers and streams. 1,300 campsites in 14 parks. 9 historic sites. 237 lakes and ponds. It all adds up to some amazing natural resources and recreational activities. And it’s all right here, in Connecticut’s 138 State Parks and Forests!

Expect to pay: Varied Parking

Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison, CT
Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven, CT
Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme, CT
Sherwood Island State Park, Westport, CT
Silver Sands State Park, Milford, CT
Expect to pay: Varied Parking

CT Wine Trail
The Connecticut wine trail is a state approved winery and vineyard awareness program complete with special directional signs, brochures and special events. No matter where you are in Connecticut there is one or more wineries open to visitors within a 45 minute drive. There are 16 wineries in CT.
Expect to pay: Varied
For a complete list please visit:

Connecticut Fairs
From July through October there are over 50 major fairs, local fairs, district fairs and 4-H fairs all over Connecticut.
For a complete listing please click here:

Connecticut's Summer Sports include Basketball, Baseball, Tennis and Golf.

Connecticut Sun (Basketball)
May – August, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT
Expect to pay: $16

Bridgeport Bluefish (Baseball)
May – September, Bridgeport, CT
Expect to pay: $6.00, $10.00, $14.00, and $20.00
All season long residents of Bridgeport will receive $2 off any WALK-UP ticket.

New Britain Rock Cats (Baseball)
May – September, New Britain, CT
Expect to pay: Club $12, Field Box $10, Reserved - Adult $8
Reserved - Senior / Child $6, General Admission $5

Connecticut Defenders (Baseball)
May – September

Travelers Championship, Cromwell, CT
June 16 - 22, 2008
Expect to pay: $25 online purchase, $32 at gate, kds 15 and Under Free, when accompanied by a ticketed adult.

Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament, Yale, CT
August 15 – 23, 2008
Expect to pay: $16 - $40 adult, $8 - $20 Junior

Uconn Football
August – December, Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT


Lime Rock Park

Waterford Speedbowl

Thompson International Speedway

Ice Cream
Take an Ice Cream Tour of Connecticut

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