Update 2015: Classes at the museum are now FREE! Here are the details: “Members receive free admission to the museum and free classes. Nonmembers pay admission but no extra cost for class participation. Space is limited by group size and age. Arrive early and sign in at the front desk to reserve your seat in a class.”
So Shawna loaned to me Season 1 of Downton Abbey and I’m addicted!
It was getting to be a little too much, though. I needed to remove myself from the tv and go do something fun with the kids. Maybe put our brains to use for a bit and try to keep them from turning to mush from all of the tv watching 🙂
I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to go, so I decided to see what was available through my local library museum pass program.
As most of you know, I live in West Hartford, so I headed straight to the Town’s library website to see what was available. I don’t know if this is a new feature or not, but you can look up the availability of passes and reserve them right from the site (passes can be reserved up to 30 days in advance). Well this iphone-packin’ mama loves digital solutions and I was happy to see that the process was very easy and pretty much painless (I did have to go fishing for my library card and enter that ridiculously long number as part of the process, but that was the only “pain”). Here is the link to the online booking for the West Hartford library.
There were actually several options available for this adventure, but I decided to go with the Lutz Children’s Museum located in Manchester, Connecticut.
*I apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures. Well, actually I think the quality of my pictures is never very good, but today was particularly bad. I completely forgot to bring my camera with me on this trip and had to take all of the pictures with my iphone. Ooops!
First stop was to go by the West Hartford library and pick up my museum pass.
The program requires that you pick up and drop off the pass on the same day. This can be a bit of a pain because the library doesn’t open until 10am. So if you are interested in getting an early start on the day and getting over to the museum before your kids have a hunger meltdown, it might be a little tight. I haven’t tested out the theory, but I’m wondering if you stop by the library the afternoon before you have the pass reserved and it is available, if they will let you take it then. Not sure of the answer there, but I will be trying that out at some point.
Next stop, Lutz Museum.
We arrived at the museum around 2:30 on a Friday afternoon. It was easy to find and the parking was easy as well. I actually noticed after we parked in the back lot, that there are spots in front of the museum as well. A few of them are handicap spaces, but several are not. I would suggest checking first to see if these are available as they are so much closer to the entrance.
It is important to note that this museum is very, very small. There are two main exhibits (The Farm Exhibit and the Main Street Exhibit) and then there is a section with live animals. Don’t let its small size fool you, though, my kids had a great time visiting and it looked to me like all of the kids there were enjoying themselves. The Lutz website does note that the museum is designed for children from ages 2 – 10, so keep that in mind when planning a trip there.
We started with the Main Street Exhibit and found it hustling and bustling with lots of children roaming around and letting their imaginations run wild.
The exhibit features a “Main Street” with a grocery store, a school-house, and a post office. Above the main street businesses, was an apartment with a bedroom, kitchen and lounging area.
When we arrived at the exhibit, we were greeted by a girl standing behind the grocery store register announcing “Fresh food for sale!” I think Sparkles was ready for some shopping.
Bruiser checked on the mail.
Most of the parents hung out in the trolley while the kids played.
It was fun to see how creative the kids were being. They were definitely pretending they were running their own little main street.
I think my hubby might be a little tall for this area . . .
After visiting main street, we did a line dance over to the Farm Exhibit. There were cows to milk, chickens to collect eggs from and a mini barn to play in.
We were about to head over to the animal area, when this showed up . . .
Yes, that is a snake and the kids were petting it. Rachel, the animal educator holding the snake said that they do some type of event (taking out one of the animals or a craft project) every hour on the half hour. Sparkles and Bruiser also had a upclose visit with a giant rabbit while we were there.
We wanted to see more of the animals, so we entered the Live Animal area.
Inside there were many, many animals to see. Snakes, chickens, turtles, fish, a variety of birds, a dragon (lizard), and more that I’m probably forgetting.
Here are some more pictures of the animals at Lutz.
But wait, where is their most famous animal, Chuckles the official Connecticut groundhog?
We found out that the groundhog was taking a much-needed break after a busy groundhog’s day on February 2nd. Check out the big day here! I don’t think any of us are surprised that she predicted that winter is over. . .
Well, we didn’t get to see Chuckles, but we sure were able to see lots of fun stuff at the Lutz museum. Like I mentioned previously, this is a small museum compared to some of the others we have visited, but if your child enjoys playing make-believe and checking out over 50 live animals, this is a perfect place to visit. Also, keep in mind that the exhibits change frequently, so check out their website and facebook page to get the latest scoop on what is new at the Lutz Children’s Museum.
Want more information? As part of our series on Better Connecticut, we had an opportunity to share our love of the Lutz Children’s Museum. Check out our segment below!
Phone: (860) 643-0949
Tuesday – Friday 9:00 – 5:00
Saturday – Sunday 12:00 – 5:00
They are closed on some holidays. See their latest newsletter here for more information.
Free for members and children under one
$6 for everyone else
Free for those using their library museum pass. West Hartford, Glastonbury and Manchester all offer passes. Check out our museum pass page for more details.
Access may also be free if you have a membership with another children’s museum as Lutz is part of the ACM Reciprocal Program. Contact them for details.
Hints & Tips
- The museum is recommended for children ages 2 – 10.
- The exhibits change frequently, so check out their website for the latest information
- Strollers are allowed in the museum. It is so small though, that you certainly don’t need a stroller unless you have a non-walking child.
- There is a family restroom with a changing table for little ones.
- The museum offers lots of children’s classes. You can see their latest schedule in their newsletter. Classes are 25% off if you register online.
- Live visits with animals or craft activities are available every hour on the half hour.
- No food is served at the museum. They do have snacks available at the gift shops and there are picnic tables available for use outside. They also recommend some local restaurants for food. Details can be found on their FAQ page.