Written by Denise Koek
Bundle up and hit the road. These local winter wonderlands are full of adventure—and are less than a tank of gas away.
260 Compo Rd. South
Westport, CT 06880
Why Go? This outdoor skating rink benefits the Westport Police Athletic League and will stay open until March. "We pride ourselves on working with the elements. It’s so wonderful to skate outdoors in the snow,” owner Tony Lantier said.
Must Do: Bring a camera to capture the magical combination of sparkling ice and smiling faces.
Insider Tip: Go to the website’s “rink cam” to check the conditions before you arrive.
Fine Print: Open to the public daily; check website for hours. Adults $10; Adult with Westport Parks & Rec Handpass $8; Child (Under 12) $6.25; Child (under 12) with Handpass $5; skate rental $5
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
10 North Water St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
Why Go? “In the winter, you can be out in the water, and see Manhattan in the distance, but see seals surrounding the boat," aquarium spokesperson Dave Sigworth said. "It’s very surprising.”
Must Do: Learn about the seals and the way the Sound's animal population changes in the winter—which animals swim south, which bury in the mud and which have adapted to the cold.
Insider Tip: Dress warmly. Passengers must be more than 42" tall. If you're under the age of 21, you must be accompanied by an adult.
Fine Print: $22.95 per person; Aquarium Members: $17.95. Visit the museum’s website for a detailed cruise schedule.
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Rd.
Fairfield, CT 06824
Why Go? Kids and adults alike are captivated by the sight of model trains winding through a winter wonderland.
Must Do: Grab a list of the museum’s family-friendly indoor activities while you’re there, including a Candy House workshop, a storytelling event, and a Kids Night Out.
Insider Tip: The train show is included in the museum admission ($5 for adults; $3 for seniors/students; children under 5 are free).
Fine Print: The show runs every day until Sunday, Jan. 5.
499 Black Rock Tpke.
Redding, CT 06896
Why Go? “There are many folks who come there to cross country ski or snow shoe, with over 8 miles of gravel roads suitable for all levels as well as 15 miles of single track trails for the advanced or more adventurous types; it is very quiet and peaceful,” said Nathan Hale, DEEP Park and Forest Supervisor.
Must Do: Be sure to study the Ski Touring Safety section before you arrive.
Insider Tip: Keep in mind that they plow the parking lots for winter access, but the park itself is not maintained in the winter for these activities and there are no rentals there. Hale adds: “For the novice person looking for a less taxing trip, I would recommend Putnam Memorial in Redding.”
Fine Print: The Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. There are no fees.