PLEASE NOTE: This post was originally written in 2013. While it should still give you a great idea of the overall experience, it is also possible that some information may be outdated. Please visit their website for the most up to date information, especially for details like hours and pricing. If you notice something in this post that needs to be updated, please feel free to leave a comment with the updated information, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to make the updates. Hey, it takes a village, right? 🙂
Earlier this year, Shawna wrote a great post about the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and their reciprocal program. As we were going through the list of Connecticut museums that are part of the program, I realized we had been to almost all of them (Imagine Nation, Kidcity, Lutz, and Stepping Stones), but there one we had not yet visited.
So today, I’m happy to report that I finally got a chance to visit the last museum on the list, the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut.
Located in the adorable beach-side town of Niantic, Connecticut, this children’s museum is the perfect place for little one’s to explore.
It is a smaller museum situated on the corner of Main Street and Lake Avenue.
There is a very small parking lot in the rear of the building, but most of the visitors (including us), parked on the side of Lake Avenue.
There were also a few cars parked out front, so that may be an option as well.
Fortunately, I had two friends and their two-year old twins meeting up with us at the museum. It is always so much easier to visit one of these places when we are together and can just play a little zone defense 🙂
So you will notice a few other cute twins making an appearance in this post.
Once inside, we checked in at the front desk. The entry fee is reasonably priced at $7 per person and we were able to use our Kidcity Membership with ACM reciprocity to get half off that price. Also, Sweetheart was free because she is under one.
Right before the check-in desk is a coat room, a good place to store jackets, diaper bags, strollers and other things you don’t want to carry around while you explore the museum.
Also at the front desk you can purchase items from the gift shop or snacks.
There are a few exhibits at the museum:
- Seaside Village
- Discovery Room featuring Kelsey’s Vision
- Global Village
- Outdoor Playspaces
Inside the village was a fish market, a mini beach with sand, a large boat, a little ice cream cart and more. This section also had a train table (always a hit) and plenty of seating for the adults to use while the kids explored.
Right behind the Seaside Village, is an area called the Global Village. In that space the kids found a variety of play spaces including a Chinese trading post, pyramid, Mexican restaurant and more.
A couple of things to note for this space. They are redoing one of the exhibits in this area, so there is a section that is off-limits to the little ones. This is also the location of the restrooms (with baby changing stations) and near the restrooms is the door to one of the outside playspaces, the submarine. The day we were there, however, the submarine playspace was closed.
After checking out every part of these two exhibits, the kids were ready to move onto the next one. We headed back towards the check-in area and across the way to the Discovery Room featuring Kelsey’s Vision.
Here is a little information from the museum’s website on this area.
Kelsey’s Vision is provided through a generous donation from the Kelsey S. Harrington Foundation. Dedicated to honor the memory of Kelsey Harrington. Though Kelsey lived a physically challenged life, she taught patience, acceptance and unconditional love by example. Learn more about the Kelsey S. Harrington Foundation at their website.
I think this room ended up being one of our favorites in the museum. There was so much for all three of my kids to play with in here.
First, there was a sectioned off area that was perfect for Sweetheart. She was just starting to officially crawl and enjoyed playing with all the knobs, gadgets and gizmos around.
The two-year olds were fascinated with a few things in this room.
And I think this was their absolute favorite. Us moms were digging through our purses for change for the kids to use and then one of the nice people working at the museum let us know we could purchase penny rolls from the front desk. What a great idea!
After painting, we decided to take the kids to the last exhibit at the museum, the outdoor playspace. It was a beautiful day and a perfect opportunity to have these two-year old twins burn off a little more energy.
The outdoor playspace is pretty amazing. It is completely fenced in (a BIG plus), has a tree house, play house, sand, water table with legos, and even a zip line. The entrance to this play area is in the Seaside Village exhibit.
After the outdoor play area, the kids were sufficiently wiped out. (Yay!) We got the twins organized and headed back to our cars. Before we left, though, my twins wanted a picture on this whale statue in the back of the museum.
I think Bruiser’s face says it all. They had a great time at the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut.
Have YOU been to this museum? What did you think? Any tips?
Phone: (860) 691-1111
Click here for directions from the website.
- Hours vary by season
- Last admission 30 minutes prior to closing
- REGULAR HOURS
- Tuesday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
- Sunday: Noon – 4:30 pm
- Closed Mondays, except for school holidays (see their calendar for more details)
- SUMMER HOURS (June 20, 2016 – August 22, 2016)
- Mondays – Saturdays: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
- Sundays: Noon – 4:30 pm
- In addition to regular hours, the museum is OPEN:
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Presidents’ Day
- Christmas Eve
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s Day
- Columbus Day
- The museum is CLOSED the following holidays:
- Christmas Day
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
- 4th of July
- $7 per person
- FREE for members and kids under 1 years old
- Half price for members of other children’s museums with ACM reciprocity
- Membership information can be found here
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Strollers can be used in the museum. It is all one floor, so it is easy to maneuver with a stroller. The space is small, though, so if it is crowded you can park your stroller in either the coat room or along the wall in the Seaside Village. A baby carrier might also be helpful.
- Snacks are allowed in the museum and can even be purchased at the front desk.
- Penny rolls are available for purchase at the front desk for 50 cents. These are a big hit in the Discovery Room.
- Baby changing tables are available in both restrooms and a diaper changing kit is available at the front desk.
- Extra clothes are available at the front desk for those “oops” moments.
- There is an outdoor space, so make sure to bring warmer clothes during the cold months and suntan lotion/hats during the warm months.
- The museum is located on Main Street and there are several restaurants in walking distance that would be a good stop for lunch or a snack.
- The museum has a great page with suggestions on how to make a day trip out of your visit to Niantic. They have suggestions on restaurants and beaches and even offer a beach pass that can be used by members and nonmembers. See here for more details.
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