Outdoor Museums in (and around) Fairfield County


Outdoor garden.Outdoor museum excursions are a family-friendly way to support art in nature. Here are some options that range in variety and location.

Storm King Art Center – New Windsor, New York

The Storm King Art Center is an open-air sculpture museum on 500 acres. It is roughly 70 miles from Fairfield County and serves as an enjoyable respite and day trip. Multiple visits are required for full viewing by foot. The museum is open Wednesday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and there are late summer weekend hours (10 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.). Also, there is a special event on Fridays. Through August 18, enjoy Food Truck Fridays during the late summer hours.

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens – Stamford, CT

The Bartlett Arboretum is an outdoor museum of trees and one of the country’s best. What started as a residence for the founder, Frank Bartlett of F.A. Bartlett tree expert company has evolved into a nature garden and sanctuary for families to enjoy.

The Arboretum boasts a handful of different garden collections, including one for the senses and one with whimsical garden stone sculptures. There are winding trails to explore that weave through creeks and meadows with impressive flora and fauna.

The Arboretum is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. Check out their website for a list of summer events, including a summer concert series.

Phillip Johnson Glass House – New Canaan, CT

The Glass House is an outdoor architectural museum that covers 49 acres. Architect Phillip Johnson designed it as his residence at one point in the sixties. This architectural wonder is a great excursion during the spring through fall months. The museum is open for tours from April 17 to December 15.

There are 14 free-standing sculptures on the grounds. There is a ton of impressive architecture to take in. They offer scavenger hunts with maps for the kids and offer markers to check off-site points such as The Ghost House and Da Monsta. There is enough to keep the kiddos occupied and learn about impressive world architecture simultaneously.

There are indoor and outdoor areas to tour and explore, including the Glass House, which is described as a location to view the beautiful surrounding landscape. There is also the brick house, which contrasts the glass house and is interesting to view for its architecture. There is an indoor studio space with a workspace and library, a painting gallery, a sculpture gallery, and several other areas to explore. The Glass House offers online lectures, classes, workshops, and exhibits.

The Dinosaur Place – Oakdale, CT

This place is worth checking out for the dinosaur lovers in your family. It is a 60-acre outdoor dinosaur museum and park with over 60 life-sized dinosaurs. There is also a maze, playscape, and water park. Part of the Nature’s Art Village, there are many other places to explore, such as The Genuis Museum, Discovery Depot, mini golf, and shops.

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum – Ridgefield, CT

Since founding of the museum in 1964, the outdoor grounds have hosted outdoor installations available for public viewing. Visitors can view the outdoor exhibit Last Steps, which began in 2022 and ended on August 20, 2023. More information is available on the website, which includes exhibit descriptions and museum hours of operation.

Studio 80 and Sculpture Grounds – Old Lyme, CT

Studio 80 and Sculpture Grounds is a great way to view art and the beautiful outdoors. The gardens and courtyards have over 100 sculptures over 4.5 acres of land.

The sculpture grounds are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. Everyone is welcome, including pets. Check out the Summer Showcase, which presents the sculptural works of over 100 artists.

What outdoor museums or sculpture parks will you and your family visit this season?


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