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The sun is shining and collegiate babysitters are (finally) home from school. Alas, if you find yourself stuck in a girls-night-groundhog-day or tinder-date-time-loop, my friends, it’s time to switch things up! Expand the visual repertoire of your next night out by sampling from this list of six local CT outings, certain to give your senses the inspirational shot-in-the-arm it needs:

Souper Dress

Summon your sexy librarian at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and The Cushing Center at the School of Medicine. Located on campus, their permanent and rotating collections include too many curiosities to list―including more than 400 specimen jars and medical illustrations as well as Andy Warhol’s “Souper” dress―all well worth the ogle. On a clear night, head over to the Leitner Family Observatory (open til 9) for more star-studded eye-candy.

Test your visual acuity and really get to know someone (and all their triggers) by trapping both of you inside a puzzle-locked panic room for an hour. Escape New Haven is part brain game, part extreme dating experience. Designed to foster cooperation and creative problem solving, this adventure will surely make an impression on your date― possibly your life. Pro tip: You may need a drink after this.

Speaking of drinks: In the heart of Norwalk, atop BJ Ryan’s―a favorite spot for great beer and pulled pork nachos― sits a surprising little oddity: an artful NYC style cabaret called The Magnolia Room. Featuring live music, comedy and regular open mic nights, check their events calendar and purchase tickets (online only) for an entertaining experience certain to make your senses scream, umami!

Break the bank―or better yet, your neck―by basking in the scintillating beauty of Mohegan Sun’s jaw-dropping architectural splendor. Inside you’ll find Wombi Rock, a three-story high crystal mountain crafted by Italian artisans of more than 12,000 plates of onyx and alabaster mined from quarries in Mexico, Iran and Pakistan; above it all a domed ceiling, 55’ high of fiber optic sky. If your timing is right, dance under the real thing at The Sun’s FREE Party on the Rooftop, hosted every Friday night to live cover bands (thru August 31st).

Paint and sip classes are super fun, but why not turn up the heat and take part in a glass blowing class at Hot Spot Glass Studio in Fairfield, CT. Top-rated by Groupon users, classes are offered for individual or small parties and often featured on the app at deep discounts. If you don’t care to wait or get your hands dirty, Hot Spot allows visitors to shop, commission or simply watch the artists work their molten magic.

Finally, at the American Museum of Natural History, 6,200 sq ft of space has been transformed into an underwater menagerie, replete with over 200 hand crafted models of normally elusive, deep-sea, bio fluorescent fauna. “Unseen Oceans” opened in March and runs through January 2019. But let’s be honest, if you love the museum but really need a kid-free evening, no judgement―once a month the museum hosts One Step Beyond, an opportunity to DJ dance party under the stars of the Hayden Planitarium.

I hope you’re pumped to turn that dull coffee bar scene on its head this summer. May your spring fling segue into a sensory summer experience to enlighten and inspire. Cheers!

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