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Happy November, everyone! Now that we are past Halloween, it’s time to turn our attention to Connecticut family activities that take us through the Thanksgiving season.

There are well over 100 of them, so we went ahead and made this list to get you started on your Thanksgiving planning (and if it’s things to do over Thanksgiving you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered here.)

Whether you’re in the mood for some adorable kid’s shows (we’re looking at you, The Bushnell!), some great date nights (Cabaret at Jorgensen anyone?) or some extra special holiday entertainment (see Cirque at the Palace Theater!), CT Theaters are BRINGING it this month.

Plus, learn to cook something new, check out CT Local produce, or enjoy FREE family fun- the choice is all yours.

Header Photo Credit: Friends of Heublein Tower, Talcott Mountain State Park

Photo Credit: Palace Theater, The Bushnell, Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts

Arts, Culture & Conservation:

1. See dogs perform adorable (and hilarious!) tricks at Puppy Pals Live, coming to the Bushnell on November 5.

2. Get into the holiday spirit at Waterbury’s Palace Theater for A Magical Cirque Christmas on November 25.

3. Grown Ups can head to Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in Storrs for 2 Date Night Cabaret Events: Jessica Vosk on November 4 and Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway on Nov. 11.

4. See Jessica Lynn perform her Christmas Special Live at Torrington’s Warner Theater on November 25.

5. Head to Oakdale Theater on Nov. 4 for Bluey’s Big Play.

6. Head to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo during the day to hang out with the animals- or check it out at night for Glow Wild!

7. Explore Connecticut History at The Pequot Museum (Free during the month of November for Connecticut Science Center Members!)

8. Speaking of the Connecticut Science Center, check out their new Forest of Illusions exhibit!

9. Hang out with the animals at a Nature Center- think Northwest Park, Meig’s Point, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, The Pratt Nature Center, the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, and so many others! Plus- check out Westport’s Earthplace, which features a fully accessible hiking trail!

10. Head to the Talcott Museum and Nature Center for Skygazing.

11. Visit the Florence Griswold Museum– check your library for a free pass!

12. Create a craft at the Carousel Museum– on November 1, kids and their adults can paint, and on November 15, you can make a Thanksgiving themed craft. It’s included with museum admission!

13. Head out for a pottery adventure- visit Glazed in Glastonbury (Little ones will love their totally toddler hour) or The Claypen in West Hartford.

14. Test your wits at a Wigwam Themed Escape Room at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington.

15. Visit Mystic Seaport on November 18 for an Indigenous Craft Fair where you can support Indigenous artisans this Native American Heritage Month.

16. Take a day to play at a children’s museum- KidsPlay in Torrington, KidCity in Middletown, Niantic Children’s Museum, Stepping Stones in Norwalk– and so many more!

17. Explore Nowashe Village in South Windsor and learn all about Native American Heritage- Open Mondays, Thursday, and for special events.

18. Enter daily Native life as it was before permanent European settlement at Life in the Eastern Woodlands – Living History at the Weston History and Cultural Center.

Honoring those who Served

Veterans Day is November 11. Head to one of these museums to pay tribute to those who served. We’ll be working to put together a round up of services and celebrations honoring Veterans so stay tuned. 

19. Experience Aviation and Military History at the New England Air Museum.

20. Pay tribute to American Veterans at the Greater Middletown Military Museum.

21. Honor the men and women who served our State and Country during times of conflict and natural disasters at the West Haven Veterans Museum.

22. Explore submarine history aboard the USS Nautilus at the Submarine Force Museum.

23. Explore Connecticut’s contributions to the Civil War at the New England Civil War Museum, Rockville. 

24. Attend a Veteran’s Day ceremony at the Institute for American Indian Studies on November 5.

Photo Credit: Glow Gardens

Getting in to the Holiday Spirit:

I’ll admit it. I’m that person who gets all decked out for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. One month of Holiday lights isn’t enough, so I wrap Christmas and Thanksgiving together and make it one big great party.

25. Glow Gardens Hartford at the Connecticut Convention Center. A million lights, a train that takes you all around the center- and it’s twice the size of last year! Begins Nov. 18.

26. Beginning Black Friday, you can play in the snow (even if it’s 80 degrees out like it was last week!) at Lifted Spirits at Powder Ridge Park.

27. Ring in the Holiday Season on Nov. 19 at the Stamford Spectacular Parade*.

28. Head to Mystic on Nov. 25 for the Mystic Lighted Boat Parade (Santa Arrives by Tugboat!).

29. Alternatively, visit Stonington for the Stonington Lobster Trap Tree Lighting.

30. If fireworks are more your thing, on Nov. 25 Simsbury Celebrates 2023*

31. On November 22, head to Meriden for the Hubbard Lights Festival. It’s free and so much fun! Plus, the 25th brings Meriden Yulefest.

32. Magic of Lights in East Hartford  begins on the 23rd. It’s this huge, amazing drive through light show- a MUST see!

33. Take a Trolley Ride, and See Santa during Winterfest at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. Rides begin Nov. 24.

34: Santa is also at the Northern Lights Limited & Santa Express at the Railway Museum of New England.

35. See Santa at the Shoreline Trolley Museum.

36. Don’t forget to head to Lake Compounce for their Holiday Light Experience.

37. Visit the Florence Griswold Museum for the Holiday Tree Festival (and stop for afternoon Tea!)

38. Head to Star Hill Family Farm to meet Santa and choose your TREE!

39. Farmer’s HayRide, Broadbrook wil be offering hay rides and more family fun!

40.Choose your tree at Dzen Tree Farm and Rockin Reindeer Cafe – and make sure to wave to the LIVE REINDEER!

41. Head to Rocky Hill’s Holiday Craft & Vendor Fair Fundraiser on Nov. 4 -Plus- check out our list of 70+ Holiday Fairs where you can shop for local CT goods this season!
42. Did you know Connecticut is the setting for a number of Holiday movies? Stroll down Olde Mistick Village or Downtown Old Wethersfield and be transported into a real-life Hallmark Channel Set!

Photo Credit: Clyde’s Cider; Star Hill Family Farm

Tasty Treats:

43. Enjoy Connecticut’s best cider at Gotta’s Farm and Cider Mill, Portland or at Clyde’s Cider, Mystic.

44. Get your Thanksgiving Turkey at Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, Moosup or Holbrook Farm, Bethel.

45. Head to Aquila’s Nest Vineyards, Newtown to rent an Igloo, sit by a Harry Potter Inspired Fireplace, or enjoy the great outdoors- the choice is yours!

46. Visit Cava Southington for their AMAZING Winter Wonderland Display.

47. On November 18-19: Get all your Thanksgiving Fare at the Thanksgiving Farmers Market- The Farm Truck at Hein Farm.

48. Late night (or early morning) at Vernon Diner– traditional diner fare doesn’t get much tastier than this! Fun local gem filled with tasty treats.

49. Eat your way through Parkville Market, an incredible food hall in Hartford with tons of delicious treats, an arcade, and some great spaces for kids to run around.

50. Brush up on your Thanksgiving cooking skills at a Stew Leonards Workshop.

51. Check out all the offerings at Mary’s Culinary Classes LLC to learn everything from pizza to turkey cupcakes- with offerings from PreSchoolers to Seniors!

60. Grab some snacks and see the Animals at Silverman’s Farm in Easton.

61. Head to Lyman Orchards to Taste the Seasons, have a special Friendsgiving Tea or grab some delicious treats from the Market.

Photo Credit: Jamie’s Run

Active Adventures:

62. Support Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and run for a cure at Jamie’s Run (JK5K) on November 5. 

63. Run on Veteran’s Day in support of the Wounded Warriors Project.

64. On Fridays and Saturdays, visit Veteran’s Memorial Skate Rink in West Hartford for DJ Skate Night. 

65. Get outside and hang out in the trees at Bridgeport Discovery Park Climbing Adventure.

66. Climb after dark at Glow in the Park, Tree Trails Mystic.

67. Don’t let the rainy days get you down! Head to Jordan’s Furniture IT Adventure Park for 3 stories of climbing fun!

68. Feeling brave on Thanksgiving day? Try going for a run, like  Thanksgiving Day O’BRiley 5K Turkey Trot in Historic Collinsville or Manchester Road Race, Manchester. See our list of family fun runs and Thanksgiving weekend events here.

69. Hike to the Heublein Tower at Talcott Mountain state park (pictured above in the header!) for some gorgeous fall views.

70. Enjoy a Fall Foliage Hike or Walk– see the waterfalls at Kent Falls State Park, enjoy the views at Meriden’s Hubbard Park, or test out Rails to Trails.
71. Take the whole family on a walk- check out our list of accessible hikes for all to enjoy!
72. Photographers will love walking to explore Connecticut’s scenic covered bridges. 
73. Feel like getting rid of those Halloween pumpkins in style? Visit Kidsplay Museum on Nov. 4 for their annual Pumpkin Chuckin. 
74. Everyone driving you crazy? Want to take take out your aggression in a fun, team-building way? Head to Smash Room CT in Watertown and have a BLAST!
75. Head to Montana Nights to Test out your Axe Throwing Skills.
76. Explore new worlds with the whole family with Virtual Reality- visit Xperiment VR in Trumbull or Orange for tons of family fun!

Photo Credit: Ct Museum of Culture & History, Lowe’s, The Home Depot

Free Family Fun:

77. Visit the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History in Hartford for FREE Family Day on Nov. 4- learn all about Connecticut author Richard Scary and jump right into the heart of Busytown.

78. Create a card for someone special in your life during Second Saturday at the Wadsworth in Hartford– FREE admission for all!

79. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot stores statewide are offering FREE monthly workshops for kids. Kids will love making something for a special person in their lives!

80. Head to Christ the King Church in Newtown for a Family Fun Fall Fair on November 4.

81. During the week of Thanksgiving, there is a Thanksgiving Craft at the Durham Public Library*

82. Check out Essex Library for activities for kids of all ages, including toddler storytime, PreK Storytime, and a Kids Create Session where kids can make beaded keychains!

83. Learn Indian Dance on November 1 or Go around the world with the Very Hungry Caterpillar on November 15 at Farmington Library.

84. Kids ages 3-6 can learn to dance like the Nutcracker during an interactive movement class at the Essex Library on November 15.

85. Create a Thanksgiving Paper Chain at Plainville Public Library on November 18.

86. Cuddle with some farm friends (like turkeys!) at Mystic and Noank Library on November 4.

87. Sing along with AlDecant during “Music for Little Superstars” at Milford Library.

88. Attend a Family Storytime at the East Hartford Library on November 2.

89. Create your own Dinosaur Glow Lamps at Cromwell Library on November 21.

90. On November 24, enjoy Family Storytime at Mystic and Noank Library.

91. Listen to a Saturday Storytime at the Mansfield Library on November 25.

92. Visit Cos Cob Library on November 11 to make a no-sew quilt with your little maker.

93. Check out the “CT State Parks Pass” (Part of the No Child Left Inside Movement!) from your local library and visit Rocky Hill’s Dinosaur State Park or Fort Trumbull.

94. Hour of Code is coming in December! Visit Bristol Library to learn to code. 

95. Explore Art and Science at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich– always free on Tuesdays!

96. Visit the Benton Museum of Art at UCONN Storrs– Admission is free (donations are accepted if you are able). They have some fun things for kids to do too!

97. Become an Animal Detective with the The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center at the Portland Library on November 21.

98. CT Teens under 18 can head to Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 2 for Le Consort- Chamber Music tickets are always FREE for those under 18!

99. Visit the Avon Free Public Library on Wednesdays from 11-12 for FREE drop in Art Studio class for children of all ages!

100. Head to Ridgefield Public Library on November 11 to meet some of the animals from your favorite stories in Books and Beasts.

As always, lots of energy goes into making these lists, but it’s always good to check with the event organizer- better safe than sorry! 

Have an event you’d like to share? Drop it in the comments below, or add it to our calendar- free events and fundraisers are always free! 

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