The last time I went to Mystic Aquarium, I don’t think I’d turned 21 yet- and I also think I may have called out of my job at the time just so that I could make the trip to Connecticut with some of my friends (who also may have called out of their jobs, too. None of us were exactly responsible back then.) Before that, spending a day in Mystic was a family Summertime tradition for years- only gradually fading out as my brothers and I got old enough where we could bring ourselves or go with friends whenever we felt like it.
Much like Roger Williams Park Zoo’s efforts, Mystic has the distinction of not only being a great place to view so many species of fish and sea mammals in one convenient location- but the facility is also a leader in oceanic research and in the education of how to care for and protect the marine life within and around the waters. Their conservation efforts over the years have been really admirable- and there are so many ways visitors and locals can get involved to help, too.
This past Sunday, having a lazy afternoon with no concrete plans- my friend Stef and I decided to head down to Mystic for the remainder of the day (coincidentally enough, Stef was with me during the last pilgrimage there before I turned 21, too.) to look at the penguins, sharks, and seals. The place was crawling with temperamental toddlers, so we didn’t stay long- but we had a nice time for the couple of hours we were there- especially in the “Titanic” inspired exhibit within the indoor 4-D theater area. I’m not sure how long that particular exhibit will be on display, but it’s worth checking out if you’re in the area and need to escape screaming children for 15-20 minutes.
Directly across from Mystic Aquarium is Olde Mistick Village, which was also a yearly stop for my family and I when I was a kid. OMV, which hasn’t changed much over the years- is just a series of pathways, small restaurants, and shops. When Stef and I left the aquarium, we headed over and perused a few different clothing boutiques, natural remedy shops, and even a store that specialized in Wicca/Pagan materials until we started getting hungry and headed towards downtown Mystic to grab some food.
Unlike the area on the Mystic River that I’m most familiar with (Chelsea,) downtown Mystic, CT. is charming and full of activity. While we were stopped in traffic, both Stef and I couldn’t help but comment in disbelief at how cute it all was. I’d like to go back before the Summer is over and take a few more photos of the area before it gets blanketed by snow- and check out the farmer’s market I saw advertised on a banner.
It took a little searching, and more than one missed turn, but Stef and I eventually found a spot she’d located on her phone and thought we should try for dinner on Sunday night: Captain Daniel Packer Inne, which as you can probably guess- is an old inn turned restaurant/pub. Besides the really cool interior, the place also had some of the best food I’ve ever tasted- including but not limited to the salted caramel gelato I dove into when I was done chowing down on dinner. So, so good.
The entire afternoon/evening was such a nice time- such a wonderful way to end the weekend (and technically begin the week.)