Top 20 Places To Take Kids In and Around Hartford!
Connecticut's Best for Kids in Hartford, Connecticut - 2016
Hartford and the surrounding area is rich in fun events and exciting places. The venues listed below are wildly popular with kids and families in our area. But don’t miss out on ALL the other wonderful places as well! Browse through our site and discover lots more to do! To stay on top of ALL of the opportunities for kids in our area, please make sure to sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter!
Connecticut Science Center
With 150 hands-on exhibits the CT Science Center provides fun exploration of physics, forensics, geology, astronomy and much more! Your family will also enjoy a state-of-the-art 3D digital theater, four educational labs, plus daily programs and events! For the second year in a row, Connecticut Science Center is #1!
Quassy Amusement Park
Affordable family fun and home to the award-winning Wooden Warrior roller coaster. New thrill rides include Reverse Time and Frantic. Take a spin on the Grand Carousel or chug along on the Quassy Express train. Splash Away Bay waterpark has dozens of ways go get drenched from slides, fountains, a splash pad for kids and new Slide City. Birthday party packages are a fantastic value at Quassy as well. Visit our Web site or call 1-800-FOR-PARK for details.
Lutz Children's Museum
Hands-on exhibits, live animals, classes, concerts, trips, special events and a nature center.
Ron-A-Roll Skating Center
Roller and In-Line Skating located in Vernon, close to Buckland Hills Mall. We have classes, public skate, birthday parties and home school programs! Everybody in your family will have fun here!
New England’s Family Theme and Water Park! Featuring rides and entertainment for all ages. Connecticut’s largest water park, 20+ rides for kids 5 and younger, and new this year: Phobia Phear Coaster, perfect for thrill seekers.
The Children's Museum
The Children’s Museum in West Hartford, Connecticut offers hands-on fun with science and nature for younger children and families, school and community groups, and home schooled children.
Mystic Aquarium has more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only beluga whales. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. Mystic Aquarium held the #2 position last year, too!
My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in Hartford are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication.
Hammonasset Beach State Park
Connecticut's largest shoreline beach. Kids can swim in the salt water, collect shells, build a sandcastle, sunbathe, relax, and walk along the 3/4 mile boardwalk, gazing upon Long Island Sound. Launch a carry-in boat, take a canoe trip, or fish from the stone breakwater. Summer activities include nature talks, bingo, movies, horseshoes, bocce and volleyball. The children's play area offers a pirate ship, swings, and slides. Visit Meigs Point Nature Center and experience the hands-on saltwater touch tank or search for the hundreds of bird species present at the park.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
At Stepping Stones Museum for Children, the hands-on exhibits and educational programs engage, inspire and delight every child — as well as countless parents and caregivers.
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
The natural history museum at Yale University. Dedicated to advancing our understanding of earth’s history through geological, biological, and anthropological research, and by communicating the results of this research to the widest possible audience through publication, exhibition, and educational programs.
Children's Museum of Southeastern CT
The Connecticut Children's Museum building houses three programs, interwoven in purpose and philosophy: Creating Kids Child Care Center, Creating Curriculum Child Care Provider Training Program and the Connecticut Children's Museum itself. Each is inspired by the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, articulated by Harvard psychologist, Howard Gardner. This is a rich and resourceful, cutting edge educational theory, which recognizes the multiplicity of children's intelligences and honors the different ways children learn.
Mystic Seaport is the nation's leading maritime history museum whose 19 acre waterfront campus includes a 19th-century seafaring village, tall ships and small boats, exhibit galleries, a renowned planetarium and much more!
Celebrating its 275th Anniversary in 2016, Lyman Orchards expands 1,100 acres in the beautiful CT River Valley, with Pick Your Own fruits (strawberries, blueberries, pears, apples, pumpkins and more) plus great family events! 45 holes of golf, with terrific instructional programs for women and children.
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo creates wonderfully wild experiences for children and families all year 'round. Located on 52 beautiful acres in Bridgeport, the state’s only zoo features more than 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Explore our South American Rainforest with free-flight aviary, the New England Farmyard, Victorian Greenhouse, and prairie dog exhibit with "pop-up" viewing areas. Visitors may enjoy a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and take a spin on the colorful indoor carousel.
Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
Run by the Valley Railroad Co. Essex Steam Train hosts CT River Valley tours, parties, mystery dinner trains, North Pole Express. Essex Steam Train & Riverboat’s 2½-hour journey begins at the historic 1892 Essex Station for a 12-mile, narrated round-trip into the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley – designated “one of the last great places on earth” by the Nature Conservancy.
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
The nationally recognized aquarium focuses on the fascinating marine life in Long Island Sound and its watershed, including prowling sharks, curious seals, rambunctious river otters, stately sea turtles, pulsing jellyfish and thousands of other animals. The Aquarium also offers: educational programs, including public study cruises out onto the Sound; changing special exhibits; and Connecticut's largest IMAX movie theater, with a screen that’s six stories tall! The not-for-profit attraction is the centerpiece of the popular South Norwalk (or “SoNo”) neighborhood, with fun shops, nightclubs and restaurants.
Dinosaur State Park
Dinosaur Park has a 200 million-year-old fossil trackway, and interactive exhibits. Bring materials to cast your own dinosaur footprint to take home.
Imagine Nation Museum
The Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center, is a hands-on, interactive children's museum best suited for ages 2 to 8! Visit us on Facebook or at www.imaginemuseum.org for updates, info, hour additions, and event details!
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts
One of the longest-running free outdoor festivals in the nation featuring world-class and family-friendly arts, entertainment & stars! The acclaimed Children's Series runs Wednesdays, with pre-show face-painting and fun. Pack a picnic & lawn chair!
Winners in Special CategoriesIn the second part of our survey, we asked readers to select their favorites in several categories. Here are their choices.
Favorite Place to Have Fun INSIDERon-A-Roll
Favorite Place to Have Fun OUTSIDELake Compounce
Favorite Nature CenterRoaring Brook Nature Center
Favorite Kid-Friendly MuseumConnecticut Science Center
Favorite Performing ArtsThe Bushnell
Favorite Kid-Friendly FarmLyman Orchards
Favorite Sports TeamHartford Wolf Pack
Favorite Arts EducationHartt School of Music, Dance and Theatre