ray touch tank1After a two day Jewish holiday, we woke up early on Columbus Day and embarked upon a road trip with the kids to Mystic, Connecticut. This was our destination of choice because it was halfway between my in-laws home and our home in Queens, New York.  

As usual, we had to pack up our kosher cooler with enough food to last four hours in the car and some extra nosh for the kids. Our meeting point was the Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. This place is extremely picturesque and clean. We made it there by 1:30, and we were watching the California sea lion show by 2:00. The show was a lot of fun and my two and four year old children sat quietly for the entire show (about 15 minutes long). My 19 month old did not want to sit still and those bleacher style seats had my nerves on edge. Once the show was over, it was time to take a potty break and change some very heavy diapers. Family bathrooms are located conveniently near the entrance. They were clean, but it is always a good idea to take disposable gloves and toilet seat covers with you when traveling anywhere. It seems like a lot to remember, but it is worth putting my mind at ease (you never know what tushie was there before).

Once everybody had a clean diaper and an empty bladder, we sat in the outside café area and enjoyed some Emilee’s Italian Ices (all of their flavors are Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Fat Free, Cholesterol Free and Kof-K Kosher). We had a nice time outside until a couple of bees came swarming over (it was definitely the spilled juice box next to my son in the stroller). We were ready to move on, but first this very important message. If you have a two year old that likes to wonder and ponder, I would highly recommend an Eddie Bauer 2-in-1 Harness Buddy to keep them in tow.  

Some of the exhibits that the kids couldn’t get enough of were the Ray Touch Pool (they can actually put their hands in the water and touch these gentle, mysterious creatures, cownose ray). My kids were also mesmerized by watching the buloga whales swim around in a gigantic area of water. There are three 20-foot-long underwater windows that allowed the kids to stand right in front of the whale as it swam by them. This was my favorite part of the aquarium.

We ended our visit in the Hidden Amazon exhibit. This is a great place to hang out and chill for a few minutes. The room is lit up by the lights from several large fish tanks. I would love a room like that in my own home (I could have sat there all day). Unfortunately, it was getting late and we had to end our brief visit and get back on the road.

We weren’t going anywhere until all the kids were buckled in their car seats. This was not an easy task because they had spent more time in the car than in the aquarium. It was a very good thing that we packed extra cookies to lure them into their car seats.  

I had one request before we left Mystic; I had to get a visual of Mystic Pizza the pizzeria. One of my favorite actresses, Lili Taylor, was in a film with the same name, Mystic Pizza. I actually spotted her and her daughter at a park on the Upper West Side. That was really cool

I think that a trip to Mystic, Connecticut, is a fantastic idea for more than just one day. I would suggest an overnight stay at one of the many hotels within walking distance of the aquarium. It is already Thursday and we are still recovering from this one day excursion. Rest? That is why I love Shabbat; it is my day to just focus on the family and be together. The end results get me through until the next Shabbat when we get to be together again as family.

The above photo is from the Mystic Aquarium website