We can hardly believe that 2012 is drawing to a close. This year, we have had so much fun exploring dozens of new places with our little ones, and we hope we have been able to offer some inspiration for fun, family-friendly outings to all our readers. If you’re new to our site, make sure you check out the Places We’ve Been page to see a full list of all our adventures organized by town. Or, check out our Top 10 Outings list for a snapshot of our favorites so far. And don’t forget to take advantage of the tags in the sidebar to quickly search for a specific type of activity.
We also want to let everyone know that for the next two weeks, Mandy and I will be taking a hiatus from our weekly posting so that we can enjoy the rest of the holiday season with our families. We’ll be back the week of January 7th to kick off the new year with fresh ideas for family fun. But before we go, we wanted to leave you with a few ideas for places to visit over the holiday break.
Some seasonal festivities will continue after Christmas (and some even into the new year), so it’s not too late to check them out.
- Winterfest in Bushnell Park will continue to have FREE ice skating daily through the 21st of January. Plus, the carousel will be operational weekends through December 30th.
- Festival of Silver Lights in Meriden, Bright Nights in Springfield, MA, and Holiday Light Fantasia in Hartford (see our post from last year here) will all continue to run through the new year.
- Winterfest at the CT Trolley Museum in East Windsor, including the trolley ride through the Tunnel of Lights, will continue through December 30th.
- You can also still check out Winter Waterland at Mystic Aquarium (see our post on the aquarium here).
Indoor Play Places
When the weather outside is frightful, indoor play places are so delightful!
- Timbergyms in Newington is like an outdoor playground indoors with full-size backyard swingsets, playhouses, smaller plastic slides, and even a bounce house.
- Stay and Play in Old Saybrook blends the best of all worlds with a cozy baby play area, tons of fun for toddlers, a giant jungle gym, and even a cafe where the parents can hang out.
- Don’t forget about inflatable fun at Bounce Town in South Windsor or Jumpin Jonnies in Vernon. These places will even be open on New Year’s Day!
- Also check out the Open Play schedule at My Gym Glastonbury and My Gym West Hartford.
When you’ve got lots of time on your hands, you need an activity that will keep the little ones occupied all day–and be fun for the grown-ups too 🙂
- Kidcity in Middletown is a magical array of whimsical exhibits just begging to be explored. It even has a space just for toddlers in the Toddler Sea Cave.
- Imagine Nation in Bristol is filled with opportunities for pretend play, arts and crafts, building and exploring, plus some educational exhibits.
- Stepping Stones in Norwalk is a massive museum with exhibits for kids of all ages, including a special section for kids ages birth to 36 months (and an area entirely devoted to non-walkers).
- If you’ve only got a few hours to spare, try the Lutz Museum in Manchester. This pint-size museum is like a giant playhouse with a mini Main Street (complete with a school, post office, and grocery store), plus a fun farm. There are also real animals to visit with and learn about.
Even when the temperature dips, these Boundless Playgrounds are worth bundling up for.
- Rotary Park in Simsbury has a massive playground with everything imaginable.
- Jonathan’s Dream in West Hartford is a truly unique playscape with a Swiss Family Robinson tree house vibe.
- Addison Park in Glastonbury has three separate playscapes including one that looks like an airplane.
Holiday break is also a great time for some Tiny Dining. Here are a few of our favorite family-friendly and kid-approved picks.
- Grab a gourmet burger at Plan B in Glastonbury or Ted’s Montana Grill in South Windsor (both of which have super kids’ menus).
- Warm up with Italian favorites at Joey Garlic’s in Newington.
- Try out the new Noodles & Company in West Hartford for great food fast.
- Indulge in Sunday brunch at The Cheesecake Factory (West Hartford) or Dakota (Rocky Hill).
That should be enough to get you through 🙂 We hope you all enjoy a little extra time with your families in the coming weeks, and we wish you a happy and healthy new year!
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