Mashuntucket Pequot Museum Observation Tower
Elevator-facilitated Tower (185 feet)
I have good news* for the cost-conscious among you CTMQ Tower List completists: This one is actually free! I never knew that until I visited the (decidedly not free) museum.
So yes, you can drive out to the hinterlands of southeastern Connecticut, park and walk to the museum entrance, ignore the beckoning ticketing desk, take a right and go up the elevator to the tower’s observation deck. Boom. Done.
*Update: These first 2 paragraphs are a complete lie. You may only go up the observation tower with paid admission. Oh well.
Of course, you’d be a fool to skip out on what is one of the state’s – and region’s – best museums. But then again, if you’re like 99% of the people who venture out to Mashuntucket, you’re there to lose $15 on one hand of blackjack in 30 seconds rather than spend $15 on hours of educational entertainment.
But enough about that. This page is about the 185 foot tall observation tower. It overlooks the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s reservation, the Great Cedar Swamp, and the tribe’s hotels and casinos.
As most people know, Foxwoods is pretty much the tackiest thing in Connecticut. (I was going to say “east of the Mississippi” but then I remembered Florida exists.) So the view of the gigantic turquoise building isn’t too pretty. At least in the dead of winter.
I’m sure it’s prettier in the fall and all, but the Mystic Country website [used to state], “Come ride the elevator all the way up to the top for an unforgettable view and the experience of a lifetime.”
Wow. If that’s true for you, you lead an incredibly boring life. Now, in my 20 month old son’s case, riding the elevator up to the deck may have qualified as an “experience of a lifetime” I guess. As you can see in this picture, he was a bit scared on the ride up – but was fine once at the top.
The elevator isn’t as cool as I’d hoped it would be. It only exposes a quarter of the view on the way up (I thought it would be all glass walls.) Once up to the top, I was again a bit disappointed.
For some reason – perhaps, oh I don’t know, perhaps because I was told it was going to be an experience of a lifetime – I thought it was going to be amazing. Views at the top were limited to north, west and southwest. I don’t know if there’s anything exciting to the east, but there’s just something extra cool about a 360-degree view. Oh well.
The museum’s website says, “The building is designed to interact with its surrounding environment and maintain the ecological integrity of the area. It embraces the tree line and is nestled into the landscape, with two of the five levels of the facility below ground. A 185-foot stone and glass tower provides visitors with sweeping views of the swamp and region.”
So that’s nice.