Fun for children and families, from riverboats to dinosaur hiding places
Family activities in Connecticut include things as diverse as tracking evidence of dinosaurs to exploring a shipbuilding village of 1830 to visits with Beluga whales. The state boasts lots of child-oriented and science-oriented museums that will keep kids occupied for hour after hours. There is lots to do, indoors and out, in all seasons of the year. Lots of resorts and hotels and inns welcome kids with family friendly lodging
Norwich Free Academy - 108 Crescent Street
Norwich, CT, 06360
Family fun and learning in Norwich
Experience fun and learning at this enchanting museum stocked with art and historical artifacts. People and cultures through 35 centuries and five continents are featured here on the campus of Norwich Free Academy in Norwich, CT. Along with art treasures there is a unique gift shop to browse and shop for prints , the work of Connecticut artisans, books, CDs, puzzles, bags and other accessories. Started by a gift from philanthropist William A. Slater more than a century ago, the museum is itself a treasure done in Romanesque Revival style architecture by Stephen C. Earle. You can all enjoy an interpreter-guided tour -- free with admission – as well as permanent and changing exhibits, film screenings, discussions and regularly scheduled events.
1650 Hartford-New London Tpke. (Rt. 85)
Oakdale, CT, 06370
Dino-Sized Family Fun Awaits!
Just minutes from Mystic, Conn., The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village offers a full day of family fun. The Giant T. Rex Mascot, Monty, welcomes your family to this 60 acre outdoor adventure park. Explore over a mile of dinosaur-filled nature trails featuring more than 40 life-sized dinosaurs and wrapping around a manmade lake with an active volcano! During the summer, cool off in New England’s largest SplashPad. Children will love getting lost in a”MAZE”asaurus and playing on Monty’s playground featuring the custom-made SpaceNet, a 15 foot tall three-dimensional swinging, vibrating, climbing web. More adventures include digging for gems, panning for “gold” and unearthing dinosaur bones in Discovery Depot. Check out the new Cooper Creek Mini Golf Course open Summer 2017 for ages 8+!
67 Main Street, Steamboat Dock
Essex, CT, 06426
Inside and out, lots to fascinate and entertain families along our riverbank!
There are so many things to do outside at the family-friendly Connecticut River Museum – winter cruises to see majestic bald eagles, sailing adventures aboard the 1614 replica ship Onrust, canoeing or kayaking on a quiet cove, strolling the harborside grounds, walking to historic Essex Village for lunch – that you might forget to go inside. But don’t! The kids will love to examine the handmade tools used for fishing and hunting in and along the river, old navigation tools, the model train layout set up every fall, the three-story river mural that snakes up and down staircases and the model of the very cool Turtle, the first submarine to be used in combat (during the Revolutionary War).
Mathews Park - 303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT, 06850
A "wow" experience for all ages, even adults!
Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Conn., our mission is to inspires lifelong learning. We do that with fun and fascinating exhibits and outdoor spaces. Wander about our garden and listen while whimsical sculptures use sun, wind, and water power to produce musical sounds. In our Energy Lab kids are mesmerized by a raceway powered by water, or when balls are whisked away down a wind-powered maze. They'll learn about evaporation first hand by painting with brush and water, and then seeing their paintings disappear. We have exhibits designed for all ages ten and under, including toddlers and infants. Adults will be fascinated, too.
55 Coogan Boulevard
Mystic, CT, 06355
A must SEA for every family
A destination for kids of all ages, Mystic Aquarium provides families the opportunity to learn about their ocean planet all while having fun! With thousands of marine animals including beluga whales, penguins, seals, fish, frogs, alligators and more – Mom, Dad and each of the kids will have their own Aquarium favorite. Hands-on exhibits welcome curious children to touch sharks, stingrays and even some exotic reptiles. Daily complimentary sea lion shows provide a truly unique opportunity to see these fascinating animals up-close and in action. You can even take in a 3-D show at one of our two theaters. And, come face to claw with animatronic dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic Giants’ – that is, if you dare! Plus, special events and activities all year long make the Aquarium a destination worth revisiting often. SEA more at MysticAquarium.org.
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT, 06830
Dinosaur tracks and mechanical banks: lots for kids to see at this lively museum
What is there for kids to see at the Bruce Museum, where art collections and science collections sit side by side? How about Connecticut River dinosaur-track fossils? Meteorites? A collection of bird nests and eggs? Or maybe your young ones will want to see some of the 3,000 insect specimens in the museum, or some of the 2,000 shells. On the history side, there are old-fashioned toys and mechanical banks. In the mineral collection, there’s an explanation of how they play a role in smartphones. Over at the museum’s Seaside Center, there’s a variety of family activities as well as a marine tank where kids can get a feel for some of the creatures that live in the region’s waterways.
1225 Ocean Avenue
New London, CT, 06320
Everyone can be a kid at oceanside amusement park, beach
Ocean Beach Park is for kids of all ages – including Mom and Dad. Little tykes will love the tiny cars and trains in the amusement park and the playground – and sprayground! Older kids will want to hang out on the sugar-sand beach, in the Olympic-size pool, on the triple waterslides or in the arcade. And everyone will want to visit the mini-golf course (you can beat that windmill), grab a cone on the boardwalk or take a nature walk overlooking an estuary. Family dining options include full meals at the Sandbar Cafe overlooking the ocean, faster food in the Boardwalk Galley and a picnic area. Entertainment runs from DJs and bands to magic shows and beach-blanket movies.
12 Steamboat Wharf
Mystic, CT, 06355
Haul Away! Bring the whole family sailing.
Sail away aboard the traditional sailing schooner Argia for a journey into the past. The adventure begins as the Ship's horn blows and you depart from Mystic's historic Bascule Bridge, a national historic landmark. As the ship travels down the Mystic River, join the crew in raising sail the old-fashioned way...or lend a hand steering the ship! Morgan Point Lighthouse and the quaint fishing village of Noank greet you at the river’s mouth, followed by islands and peaceful sailing. Snacks and lemonade are provided.
May 1st through late mid-October, choose a day or sunset cruise aboard ARGIA!
1355 Boston Post Road
Guilford, CT, 06437
Find fantastic family fun and support your local farmer
Almost nothing beats family fun like picking up fresh produce right from the farm. Open year-round, Bishop's Orchards continues a 144-year tradition on 313 acres where you can pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, apples, and pumpkins. The farm market has grown from a roadside stand to a wholesale supplier of fruits and vegetables to New York and New England. It’s also a thriving retail market, fully operating bakery, specialty food grocer and most recently, a winery. The kids will love the llamas, alpacas and goats and the G-Scale train with cars from the NYNH Railroad circling overhead. Get your farm fresh produce and an authentic farm experience at the same time. Look for the "big red apple" known far and wide.
40 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT, 06511
Play nice together on a one of a kind indoor ropes course
Here’s the ultimate in indoor physical activity for the whole family - Jordan’s IT Adventure Ropes Course, the largest such activity in the world. Enjoy an incredible adventure on two 60’ high ropes courses. Climb and zip and jump and walk amidst swinging beams, angled rope ladders, cargo nets, bridges, and planks. Watch 1000 water nozzles dance to lights, stereo sounds and music. Soar across the longest Sky Rail zip lines ever made high above the restaurants and Waltzing Water show - and remember to keep your feet up, you may get wet! Other activities have you free-falling 50' down to the ground, crossing the 200’ catwalk, and climbing wobbly poles and vertical walls that only take you higher with each step. Stop in for some kid-friendly family fun, ages 2 and up.
77 Forest Street
Hartford, CT, 06105
Families learn together about issues of the 19th and 21st centuries
Take advantage of the Family Tour option at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, where visitors learn how the author’s words changed the world – and will be inspired to do the same. At the center, which celebrates the work and ideas of the abolitionist author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” storytelling, photographs and historic letters help connect the past to the present. The Family Tour is for children 5 to 12 accompanied by an adult. Children and adults alike have praised the interactive nature of the tour, where conversations about social justice and issues of Stowe’s day, and of ours, are as important as the exhibits and the home’s beautifully preserved interiors. Outside, Victorian-era gardens are made to be strolled through and enjoyed.
One Railroad Avenue
Essex, CT, 06426
Much more than a Choo Choo
Climb aboard the only steam train and riverboat connection in the U.S! Kids will enjoy riding in the vintage coaches alongside farms, ponds, and boat yards, and spotting swans, ducks, and egrets. The 12-mile, narrated roundtrip brings passengers to Deep River Landing, where the riverboat continues the adventure with a 1¼-hour cruise on the breathtaking Connecticut River. The steam train returns visitors to Essex station. Throughout the year, there are several special events specifically for kids: In April and May, Day Out with Thomas; mid-November through December, Santa Special (daytime) and North Pole Express (nighttime).
1875 Noble Ave.
Bridgeport, CT, 06610
This zoo exhibits hundreds of animals, from tigers to monkeys and everything in between. Habitats for children to explore include a South American rainforest and a New England farmyard. For quite time, there is a picnic grove, carousel, Victorian greenhouse, and café. Summer programs include Animal Tales and A Day at the Ocean.
The Bushnell Park Carousel
Jewell Street at the Memorial Arch
Bristol, CT, 06010
Kids and adults both are entranced by this hand-carved carousel with 48 horses, two chariots, stained glass windows, mirrors reflecting 800 twinkling light bulbs, and a Wurlitzer band organ. Open May to October, Tuesday to Sunday; September and October, Thursday to Sunday. Call for seasonal changes in hours.
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
10 North Water St.
Norwalk, CT, 06854
Kids and parents can visit nose-to-nose with sharks, seals, river otters, wrinkly sea turtles, and stinging jellyfish. Educational public cruises, changing exhibits, a working boat shop, hands-on touch tanks, toddler play area, and an IMAX movie theater with a screen that’s six stories tall make this a place of seafaring adventure.
Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center
10 Deerfield Lane
Ansonia, CT, 06401
This nature center is a wonderful place for kids to run, play, climb, explore, and also learn about nature. There is a large variety of interesting activities. Open daily, year-round.
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