Six things to do around UConn this spring (besides hiking)


Shin Soyoma, a 6th semester Nutritional Sciences major, serves a customer. No sad and terrible grocery store popsicle can compare to the fabulous creamery concoctions dreamed up by the UConn Dairy Bar. (Kelley Huber/The Daily Campus)

Spring is here at the University of Connecticut, which means that besides scrambling to catch up on the enormous amount of studying you put off all semester, you can finally step outside without wearing six layers. See that green stuff on the ground? It’s grass. Yeah, I was beginning to think that Storrs remained buried under the snow all the time, too.

So when you’re not steeped in last-minute cramming panic, take some time to explore the area around UConn and enjoy the weather while it’s here. It’s only two more weeks until finals, and three more weeks until summer break, so make the most of it!

1. The Mansfield Drive-In

As any 50’s movie will attest to, these places are not only a cardinal summer hang-out, but an excellent date idea. But instead of Grace Kelly movies, you can cruise up and enjoy flicks such as “Get Out,” “The Fate of the Furious” and later this summer, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.” Unlike a regular movie theater, you can feel the breeze and bring your own concessions. What’s not to love?

2. Mansfield Flea Market

I love old stuff. It’s cheap. It has personality. Sure, it might smell like your Grandma’s attic, but it’s still less expensive than hitting up Ikea. The Mansfield Marketplace is open every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mansfield Drive-In. You can buy anything from furniture to china to cursed dolls, making it tempting location for the interior designer and the demonologist in you.

3. Adventure Park at Storrs

Now that there’s the free shuttle on Fridays, there is no reason to avoid climbing trees, roping and ziplining at the Adventure Park. Admission is cheap, and there are discount group rates available if you and nine of your closest friends want to make a reservation and spend the afternoon there.

instead of just hiking this Spring, take a walk at Horsebarn Hill and visit the baby calves. The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

4. Visit the baby calves on Horsebarn Hill

You think puppies are cute? Baby bovines are even cuter! The Cattle Resource Unit (and, for that matter, the horse stables by Horsebarn Hill Arena) are open to the public between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week, where you can visit the replacement dairy calves being raised for UConn’s milking herd. The brown ones are Jerseys and the black and white ones are Holsteins. Don’t wear loose clothing, since they like to nibble on pretty much anything.

5.  Swing by Mirror Lake

It’s so serene by the lake, so stop by for a mental health day and enjoy the calmness. You can swing, listen to the blackbirds in the reeds, watch people slackline, pet a dog or two, take pictures of ducks (and, if you’re lucky, ducklings) or just plain lie in the grass and forget about the three organic chemistry quizzes you have coming up this week. Ahhhhhhhhh….

6.  Visit the Dairy Bar

This is cliche. This is so very cliche that it has become tradition; nevertheless, I highly recommend you do this. No sad and terrible grocery store popsicle can compare to the fabulous creamery concoctions dreamed up by the UConn Dairy Bar. It’s made with milk that’s mere hours old (directly from UConn cows, of course) and churned to icy perfection. Winter is over. Go and get a cone. You won’t regret it.

Marlese Lessing is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at She tweets @marlese_lessing.

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