DEEP: Free State Parks Weekend - Suggested Parks

Free State Parks Weekend:  July 26-27
Suggested Parks to Visit
American Legion and Peoples State Forest
Four season fun can be found at American Legion/Peoples State Forests which offer the region's finest fishing, hunting and year round sporting activities nestled amid the wooded splendor. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935, the historic Stone Museum features displays on forestry, flora and fauna native to Connecticut, local history artifacts, rocks and minerals, and insects.
  • East River Road, Barkhamsted
  • The Stone Museum will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am - 4:30 pm
Tucked into the scenic rolling hills of the Western Highlands, 439-acre Black Rock offers a variety of outdoor activities. Steep, wooded ledges covered with pine, hemlock and oak provide the setting for Black Rock Pond. Swimming and fishing are available.
  • US Route 6, Watertown
  • The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset
The Connecticut Valley has a long history of fossil track discoveries. Outstanding specimens uncovered in 19th century brownstone quarries found their way into museums throughout the world. A new chapter in the history of such discoveries was written in 1966 when hundreds of tracks were exposed in Rocky Hill. This remarkable site became Dinosaur State Park. The Museum presents a bird’s-eye view of the preserved Mesozoic floodplain covered with tracks, dioramas of Triassic and Jurassic environments, collections of fossils, and interactive exhibits.  Come for the day and make a plaster cast of a real dinosaur footprint, mine for gems and fossils, visit the arboretum and hike the trails or walk along the boardwalk through a beautiful wetland.
  • 400 West Street, Rocky Hill
  • The Exhibit Center will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • The park grounds are open at 9:00 am and close at 4:30 pm daily. The nature trails are closed at 4:00 pm.
This is the historic site where, on September 6, 1781, British Forces, commanded by the infamous Benedict Arnold, captured the Fort and massacred 88 of the 165 defenders stationed there. The Ebenezer Avery House which sheltered the wounded after the battle has been restored on the grounds. A Revolutionary War museum also depicts the era. Fort Griswold was designated as a state park in 1953.
  • Park Avenue, Groton
  • The museum and monument will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am -5:00 pm
Built from 1839 - 1852, the fortification is one of a group of 42 forts which were constructed for the defense of the coast of the United States, and for defense of the harbors they guarded.  This group of forts became known as the Third System of Fortifications.  The Fort is a wonderful example of its era, a masterpiece in stonework and masonry. The Visitor’s Center contains state of the art multimedia theaters, computer touch screen interactive exhibits, 3-D models, and extensive graphics and text panels.  This one of a kind center depicts over 225 years of military history and technological advances from the Revolutionary War to the Cold War. Fishing is also available at the pier.
  • 90 Walbach Street, New London
  • The staff will offer short interpretive presentations to the public at 9:30 am, 11:30 am 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm.  These presentations will take place inside the fort on the ramparts (second floor)
  • The Fort will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • The Visitor Center will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Atop the most southerly hill in a chain known as the Seven Sisters, William Hooker Gillette, noted actor, director, and playwright, built this one hundred and eighty-four acre estate, the Seventh Sister. The focal point of his effort was a twenty four room mansion reminiscent of a medieval castle.
  • 67 River Road, East Haddam
  • The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset.
  • The gate at Gillette Castle State Park is open at 8:00 am, and closes at sunset year round.
  • The Castle will be open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
A visit to Hammonasset Beach State Park, is more than just another day at the beach.  Connecticut's largest shoreline park offers over 2 miles of beach to enjoy swimming, strolling along the boardwalk, or just relaxing in the sun and surf. The Meigs Point Nature Center offers programs and activities for park visitors on a year round basis.
  • 1288 Boston Post Road, Madison
  • The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset
  • The Meig’s Point Nature Center will be open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday
Enjoy the panoramic views of Long Island Sound from Eolia, the elegant summer mansion of the Harkness family set on over 230 seaside acres of sweeping lawns, with stately trees and spectacular gardens. Named Eolia, for the island home of the Greek god of winds, the mansion was built in 1906 and purchased by Edward and Mary Harkness in 1907. The 200+ acres were a working farm and the mansion served as the Harkness’ summer home.
  • 275 Great Neck Road, Waterford
  • The Mansion will be open for tours on Saturday and Sunday – the first tour of the day starts at 10:00 am and the last at 2:00 pm
  • The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset
The James L. Goodwin Conservation Center is an environmental education facility owned and operated by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Currently there is a public/private partnership with the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.  Together we offer programs for the public, schools, and educators, and those who use and impact Connecticut's forests, including landowners, foresters, loggers and municipal land use commissioners. 
  • 23 Potter Road, Hampton
  • Sunday, July 27th – Skulls and Bones from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Visit Osbornedale State Park for a hike or fishing expedition, then relax with a picnic or visit the nearby Osborne Homestead Museum. As part of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the Kellogg Environmental Center offers workshops, exhibits, nature activities, and lectures for the general public. Through hands-on programs, families can enjoy learning about nature and the environment. Throughout the year, the Center offers special weekend programs, nature walks, and family workshops.
  • 500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby
  • Osborne Homestead Museum will be open Saturday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Kellogg Environmental Center will be open 9:00 am - 4:30 pm on Saturday
  • Saturday, July 26th – Children’s Tea Crafting Workshop from 10:30 am-12:00 pm
  • Sunday, July 27th – Learn Simple Crocheting from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Kettletown State Park, situated in the towns of Southbury and Oxford, contains 605 acres and was originally inhabited by the Pootatuck Indians, members of the Algonquin group. The State of Connecticut purchased 455 of the 605 acres in Kettletown in 1950 with funds left by Edward Carrington of New Haven, which he had dedicated to the acquisition of public land in the Naugatuck Valley. There are hiking trails, fishing and swimming available.
  • 1400 George's Hill Road, Southbury
  • The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset
This was the site of the Continental Army's 1779 winter encampment under the command of General Israel Putnam. The site consists of remains of the encampment, reconstructed log buildings, and a museum.
  • 499 Black Rock Turnpike, Redding
  • The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset