HARTFORD, Conn., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- According to NASA, and as widely reported in the media, the land rover Spirit made a historic landing on the Red Planet earlier this week in a "Connecticut-sized" basin, which scientists think was once a massive lake. Although the approximate size might be the same, Connecticut has many characteristics different from Mars -- not to mention the more than 3.5 million inhabitants to, as far as we know, Mars' zero population. "At 5,009 square miles, Connecticut is the third smallest state in the U.S., yet has been a state full of significant discoveries and inventions throughout history," said Ed Dombroskas, director for the Connecticut Office of Tourism. "While we may be similar in size to the Spirit landing site, I can say for sure: there's a lot more to do here in Connecticut. Plus it's a much easier trip." Fortunately, Earthlings won't need to travel 106 million miles to Mars to learn about some of Connecticut's interesting places of discoveries, including: * Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, CT Visitors can become part of a team sending a mission to Mars with the Challenger Learning Center located at the museum, which includes several educational simulators. At the core of the learning center is a two-room lab designed to simulate Mission Control and a Space Station. During the program, visitors transform themselves into astronauts, engineers and scientists in order to complete their mission. For more information, visit www.discoverymuseum.org or contact (203) 372-3521. * Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT Made by large carnivorous dinosaurs, visitors can discover 500 real Jurassic Period dinosaur tracks that are 200 million years old. Enclosed by a geodesic dome, this is the only protected dinosaur track way in the world. For more information, visit www.dinosaurstatepark.com or contact (860) 529-8423. * PT Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT The only museum that depicts the life of P.T. Barnum, a man "out of this world," who brought the unusual to the general public and founded the "Greatest Show on Earth." Within the three floors of the museum, visitors will see Baby Bridgeport, a preserved elephant; the Feejee Mermaid, Barnum's biggest hoax; the world-famous Tom Thumb and his miniature equipage; Lavinia Warren, Mrs. Tom Thumb; the Pa-Ib mummy, buried more than 2,500 years ago; and the Lilliputian Circus. For more information, contact (203) 331-1104. * Science Center of Connecticut, West Hartford, CT Visitors can unlock their imagination as they are whisked away to other worlds and gaze the beauty of the night sky in the Gengras Planetarium located at the museum. Couples can even get married in the planetarium under a starry evening or families can host an evening birthday party. For more information, visit www.sciencecenterct.org or contact (860) 231-2824. * Mark Twain House and Visitors Center, Hartford, CT Mark Twain knew all about traveling great distances and throughout time with his book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, which was one of the world's first stories about time travel. Guests of the Mark Twain House will enjoy visiting the famed author's home, and exploring the new 33,000-square-ft. Mark Twain Visitors Center, which recently opened in November 2003. For more information, visit www.marktwainhouse.org or contact (860) 247-0998. For other earthly activities found in Connecticut, travelers will want to visit the Connecticut Office of Tourism website at www.ctbound.org and click on its innovative 52 Getaways for suggested itineraries. In addition, travelers can click onto Specials -- a one-stop resource guide that includes options to create a personalized itinerary. With one simple click, a list appears highlighting some of the hottest deals around the state. All essential information -- including a description of the package, dates of availability, and contact information -- is clearly outlined, in addition some direct links are provided to each individual property and attraction mentioned in the package. For more information please call 1-800-CT BOUND (1-800-282-6863) or www.ctbound.org. Visit www.louhammond.com 24/7; download releases/photography.
SOURCE Connecticut Office of Tourism