Cables, wood, and rope snake throughout 5 acres of woodlands behind the Discovery Museum, forming the bridges, ropes, and ziplines that carry visitors on roaming wilderness adventures over the forest floor. The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum challenges visitors as young as 7 years old with color-coded trails through the treetops, each ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Adventurers discover their own routes between platforms, and each path presents a different challenge, which prompts climbers to balance on ropes or sneak past owls? nests without waking them. Visitors must scale these courses before soaring down ziplines through wispy branches and dappled sunlight. Though the courses are designed to challenge minds and bodies, guides keep adventurers safe with a double-connected system of locked harnesses. Course designers Outdoor Venture Group eschew motors and electricity to stay environmentally friendly, and designed their course around trees to give each enough space to grow its own treehouse.
A full quarter mile of outdoor track snakes across the grass, sending racers on an adrenaline-fueled grudge match of hairpin turns, pedal-pushing straightaways, and close finishes. A speedy fleet of go-karts sends drivers flying down the track in vehicles such as the swift 9-horsepower Interceptor, or the two-seater Tornado, which allows children to ride alongside their parents to learn proper three-point turn technique. An on-track scoreboard displays racers’ lap times with accuracy up to a 1,000th of a second, and printed results enshrine automotive achievements and bragging rights for display. Inside, a beeping, blinking arcade pits gamers head-to-head in pro-racing simulators, bouts of Guitar Hero, or rousing tournaments of air hockey.
In its massive indoor facility, Funtime Junction has room for laser tag, an arcade, and even a ride that seats children in tiny model helicopters. Youngsters cavort on classic attractions as well: inflatables encourage record jumps, whereas jungle gyms have slides to zoom down and tunnels that kids can explore after sending in a scout party with headlamps. The playground hosts casual visits and birthday parties, which reward guests with pizza, hot dogs, goodie bags, and tokens to use on games.
The din of go-kart buzzing floats through the air throughout Stratford Speedway, calling drivers to their destinies: some as race-day participants, and others as champs. Drivers taller than 54 inches take the helm of low-sitting crafts adorned with real corporate brands to mimic true racecars. As drivers zoom around the wide, road-size track, tires line each edge, helping to prevent detours and wrong turns. Races tend to last five minutes each, and cars speed around the grand prix-style track for 20–25 laps. The speedway also serves as a welcoming oasis for birthday parties and events, with the track available for private rental by the half-hour and hour.
Don't be fooled. Though it looks like a relatively small coaster, the Wooden Warrior at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark packs some serious thrills. A turnaround through a pitch-black tunnel and ample amounts of "air time" have made this coaster a favorite for many; in fact, The Coaster Critic put it on the list of the top 25 wooden coasters in 2012. And that's just 1 of more than 20 attractions sprinkled across the park grounds.
Once home to a summer resort, Quassy Amusement Park first began with a picnic area, paddleboats and a carousel. But Quassy really took shape around 1952, when the owners purchased some children's rides. A couple of the rides are still around today, including a boat ride that skims the surface of a circular trough filled with water, and two-seat jet fighters that send flyers up in an aircraft worthy of Flash Gordon. Of course, new kids' attractions have arrived over the decades, including the Frog Hopper, a seating platform that soars up a 16-foot tower and then descends with a series of quick, gentle drops.
Other areas cater to the whole family. The Grand Carousel spins with jumping horses and other animals that have the patience to sit perfectly still.
The largest attraction at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark is Lake Quassapaug, and the park makes great use of its waterfront location. In addition to lounging on the beach, visitors can take a boat tour or charter their own voyages on paddle boats.
Inside tip: When not on rides, park visitors should play a game of Whac-A-Mole or order some ribs at Quassy Restaurant.
Take a virtual ride on the park's star attraction, the Wooden Warrior.