When the drilling of Leduc #1 turned out to be a game-changing discovery of crude oil, it surprised a whole lot of people and essentially put Alberta on the world's map. That was in 1947. Five decades later, Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre was created to showcase the site and its ingenuity, as well as Canada's oil industry.
Here, science and discovery blend into one exciting experience stretched across 80 acres of exhibits, artifacts, and displays. Visitors can feast their eyes on award-winning films, get their hands dirty in an interactive lab, and even take a virtual ride in the world's largest drill bit, which is expected to replace family minivans in the near future. Additionally, tours with industry veterans provide insider facts, and stops to the gift shop ensure memories last long after visits end.
Each of the five participating Connecticut Landmarks offers a glimpse inside the domestic lifestyles of the state's early settlers, patriots, and prominent citizens. Grab a three-cornered hat and a nerf musket before storming the grounds of any one of the landmarks with a compatriot, or choose the individual membership for admittance to each house as many times as desired throughout the year. Members also receive a free subscription to the Landmark News newsletter, invitations to special events, a 10% discount on all museum shops, and a discount subscription to Connecticut Explored, a magazine that chronicles Connecticut's history.
Stamford Museum & Nature Center has come a long way since its founding in 1936. Over the decades, its sprawling grounds have grown to include areas focused on nature, agriculture, astronomy, art, and history. On a hill lies the Henri Bendel Mansion. This once-private residence echoes classic British manor houses with its lead-framed glass windows, half-timbered walls, and stone gargoyles that speak in cockney accents. Visitors can view the ground's sculptures before going inside to gaze at the museum galleries and rotating exhibitions, which explore topics in art and pop culture.
Back outside, more than 80 acres of nature trails wind through the trees. One such trail leads to Nature's Playground, where kids soar down slides and play in a treehouse. Elsewhere, the accessible Wheels in the Woods trail lets people of all abilities explore the forest.
Crossing over Bendel's Pond brings visitors to Heckscher Farm, where kids learn basic animal care. The New England?style farm, which stands next to an otter pond, home to otters Bert and Edie, encompasses structures such as the Cheshire Barn, which was built in 1750 and houses heritage-breed animals, including chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, cows, and llamas. The Stamford Observatory sits west of the farm and offers visitors an opportunity to peer into a 22-inch research telescope (on Friday evenings, weather permitting), to view the night sky.
Timexpo: Inside a brass mill built in 1854, the Timex Museum traces the story of the famous watch brand and its impact on modern timekeeping, starting from its inception as Waterbury Clock Company in 1854. Here, visitors learn about the heritage of Timex through modern and interactive exhibits and discover how the watch company turned Waterbury into a landmark.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children encourages kids to learn through play with permanent and traveling exhibits tailored to different age levels and activities designed to develop growing brains. The newly renovated 22,000-square-foot space—which boasts five main galleries with more than 100 hands-on activities—was founded in 2000 to expand children's minds through an interdisciplinary mix of subjects, including art, culture, literacy, and string theory. Because kids learn best by doing, the museum's interactive exhibits are perfect for improving cognitive function. Tykes 0–36 months explore the multidimensional Tot Town, and the futuristic Energy Lab powered by wind, water, and sun keeps older kids conducting experiments amid an array of vibrant colors and textures. Outside, the museum's gigantic open-air tent known as Celebration Courtyard hosts an oversized checkerboard and big foam building blocks. A community garden teaches little ones about butterflies and edible plants, and Healthyville employs computer games to educate kids about nutrition, the body, and why you shouldn't eat fake fruit.
The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden creates a natural journey through an ever-changing landscape. As people follow the curving paths, they come across tranquil ponds, large stepping stones, and wooded hollows, all encouraging contemplation along the way. The museum also stimulates minds with a variety of art exhibits such as contemporary photography, clay sculpture, and Chinese brush paintings, along with programs and events including an annual moon-viewing concert and ceramics classes for kids.