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Sunday, October 30, 2022

Visiting the Beardsley Zoo - Bridgeport, CT

Some things are just so much sweeter through the eyes of a child. I have always loved zoos and aquariums as an adult and visited my fair share before Whitney. I majored in Marine Science and completed an internship at the Mystic Aquarium, working with the beluga whales, sea lions, and penguins, learning the ins and outs of a research-based zoo/aquarium facility. 

Zoos and aquariums often get a bad reputation when visitors see animals in their enclosures. As someone who has seen the ins and outs of these operations, I have a different appreciation for research and non-profit-based zoos and aquariums. I understand that these establishments are needed, captive subjects are researched and studied which in turn helps the larger wild populations. Beyond that, kids (and adults) need to see these animals up close and personal to care. It's one thing to read about a polar bear in a book, it's another thing to see one in real life and truly care about its existence, or possible lack thereof.

I hope Whitney grows to love animals, the kinds in our home, and in the wild. I hope he grows into a curious little boy with a respect for nature and everything in it. What better way to start than your local zoo?

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit owned and operated by the Connecticut Zoological Society. The zoo's mission involves education, recreation, and conservation. There are numerous indoor and outdoor exhibits fun for kids and adults of all ages. There is also a cafe, gift shop, and indoor historic carousel which is a must-visit while at the zoo. It was the perfect size for a toddler and we spent about an hour and a half walking around the exhibits, learning about the animals, and riding the carousel. There was some construction during our visit but we still had a great morning at the zoo. 

We showed up first thing Monday morning and were happily surprised to enjoy the quiet zoo on a beautiful fall day. We even had a sneak peek at the lanterns set up for the after-hours event in the fall called "Glow Wild". Glow Wild runs every Thursday - Sunday from September 15- November 27, from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The event includes 35 large-scale illuminated displays of lanterns and has been quite the hit this past year. 

Tickets: Tickets can only be purchased online and must be purchased prior to your visit.

Members: Zoo members do not need to reserve tickets prior to their visit.

Hours: The Zoo is open daily from 9:00am - 4:00pm. The zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day (closing at 12pm on the days before these holidays) *Hours are subject to change due to weather and operational capacity.

Adult Admission (ages 12 & older) = $19.00
Child Admission (ages 3 -11) = $15.00
Senior Admission (62 & older) = $15.00
Under 3 years = FREE
Zoo Members = FREE

Covid-19 Protocols: Masks are required for all indoor exhibits (optional outside)

Address: 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06610

Contact: 203-394-6565 /

Friday, October 21, 2022

Soapstone Mountain/Shenipsit State Forest Loop Hike, Somers, CT

Every year, I head up to the beautiful northern New England states for some kind of leaf-peeping fun. Whether it be mountain biking in Vermont or hiking in the Whites, I love to experience the glorious month of October up north. This year, it just didn't happen and I had to keep reminding myself, we are just in a different season of life. Things have been hectic between babies, renovations, colds, and the dogs and we just never found the time to make it north. 

The good news is that my lack of travel meant I had to soak up all the color right here in Connecticut. Forced to slow down and explore a bit around here, I was pleasantly surprised at just how lovely the foliage was this year. From our own backyard to northern parts of Connecticut, the nutmeg state has a lot to offer come mid-October. I originally planned to head to the quiet northwest corner of Connecticut but after a bit of research, wanted to try somewhere a bit different. A quick search on google led me to the northern border to hike Soapstone Mountain in Shenipsit State Park in Somers, Connecticut. Short family and dog-friendly hike in a state park to a scenic vista with an observation tower to enjoy the views. What's not to love?

Monday, October 17, 2022

Sleeping Giant State Park (Tower Trail) - Hamden, CT


Sleeping Giant State Park is a well-known landmark here in Connecticut and has been since 1924. Named for the five ridges that form a "sleeping giant" in the 2-miles of the mountainside and is known for its climbable towers that offers sweeping views of the valley. The park has public restrooms (at the bottom and at the tower), a rentable picnic area, fishing options, and a lot of scenic hiking trails (30 miles). 

The tower trail is a very popular gravel trail 1.5 mile trail (one way) to the scenic tower and is family and fido friendly. If you want time to yourself, there are miles of other trails throughout the park that are far less traveled. Truth be told, I hadn't been to hike Sleeping Giant since 2006 while a freshman at Quinnipiac University. The campus is conveniently located directly across the street and you can often find college students, family and friends sporting their bobcat gear on the trail.