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Destination Bridgeport: Barnum Festival Is Fixture Of Seaside Staycation

Clown around at the many Barnum Festival events taking place this month in Bridgeport.
Clown around at the many Barnum Festival events taking place this month in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Facebook
Meet the goats at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo.
Meet the goats at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo. Photo Credit: Instagram
Families -- and their furry friends -- enjoy the many trails at Lake Mohegan in Fairfield.
Families -- and their furry friends -- enjoy the many trails at Lake Mohegan in Fairfield. Photo Credit: Facebook
These lovable lynx kittens were born at the Beardsley Zoo this spring.
These lovable lynx kittens were born at the Beardsley Zoo this spring. Photo Credit: Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Got a few extra vacation days lyin’ around? Looking to ditch the traffic jams and really kick back for a relaxing long weekend?

Why not spend a fun-filled summer staycation right here in the greater Bridgeport area?

The Park City is the perfect place to start, especially this month with the 2017 Barnum Festiva l in full swing. Many events make up the annual tribute to the circus showman, but the grand finale is not to be missed.

BARNUM BLAST : Swing by Seaside Park on June 24 for Barnumpalooza , a free, all-day festival featuring food trucks, live music and carnival rides for the kids from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. A jewel of the Fairfield County shoreline, the park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also created a little green space in Manhattan called Central Park.

Capping off the day is a rousing, free concert by the Bridgeport Symphony at 7:30 p.m. followed by a fireworks spectacular over Long Island Sound at 9 p.m.

Haven’t had enough of ‘ole P.T.? Stake out a spot along the parade route for the Great Street Parade starting at noon on June 25. The bands and floats wind from the corner of Brooklawn and North avenues to Lincoln Boulevard and Capitol Avenue.

TALK TO THE ANIMALS : Bridgeport is also home to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo over in another Olmsted-designed gem, Beardsley Park. From the Amazon tree boa to red pandas to the new baby lynxes born this spring, there’s something for every animal lover here. AARP members who show their cards on June 23 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. get in free!

SOMETHING’S FISHY : Ready to fire up the grill for some home-cooked goodies? Motor over to Uberti’s in Stratford for some saltwater delights. Family owned for decades, the market offers super-fresh raw and cooked seafood and has a bustling fish-and-chips counter that has taken top state honors in Connecticut Magazine twice. Check out the latest Daily Voice story here .

TAKE A DIP : Has the heat got you down? Head to Shelton's Indian Well State Park , named for a scenic waterfall and brook. There you’ll find shady picnic groves, hiking options and swimming along the picturesque Housatonic River.

TAKE A HIKE : Has Rover been an especially good boy? Maybe he’d like a little jaunt at pretty Lake Mohegan , one of the few spots dogs are welcome to roam off leash in the area. Found off Morehouse Highway in Fairfield, the open space features more than 170 acres to explore, including a fresh-water lake (separate entry fee applies) and wide hiking trails. Parking and hiking are free.

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