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While it should still give you a great idea of the overall experience, it is also possible that some information may be outdated.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? 🙂
Pssst! Don’t forget to check out my new post about many of the other family-friendly features of The Springfield Museums HERE.
Back in February when we posted our guide to museum reciprocity, a reader commented that we should include the Springfield Museums in our list of area museums. Since Springfield, MA is an easy 25-minute drive from the Hartford area, I immediately made a mental note to do a little
Googling research on these nearby destinations. Of course, the problem with mental notes is that you have to remember them, which is challenging for me even on a good day, let alone when I am pregnant 🙂
So, months slipped by and I forgot all about the Springfield Museums. Then, two things happened. First, hubby and I took a little overnight trip to the Berkshires (our first getaway just the two of us since we became parents!) and as we passed through Springfield on our way there, I was reminded just how close and convenient that city is for us. Second, we had made ill-fated plans for an outdoor outing one rainy Friday and, not to be foiled, I decided to find something equally exciting to do…just indoors. And voila! My mental note came back to me.
The Springfield Museums are actually a collection of FIVE museums all together (and all for one price of admission!). These include:
- GEORGE WALTER VINCENT SMITH ART MUSEUM
- MICHELE & DONALD D’AMOUR MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
- YMAN & MERRIE WOOD MUSEUM OF SPRINGFIELD HISTORY
- CONNECTICUT VALLEY HISTORICAL MUSEUM (Currently closed for a reinstallation)
- SPRINGFIELD SCIENCE MUSEUM
- And as a bonus, there is a picturesque quadrangle that also features a whimsical Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden (did you know Dr. Seuss was from Springfield?).
I knew that attempting to see all of these museums in one afternoon would not be possible with a preschooler in tow, so we decided to check out the one we thought would be the most interesting for the whole family: The Springfield Science Museum.
To get there, we simply followed the directions on the website (from the south) and that worked perfectly. There is plenty of free parking right outside the museum complex. It’s in a gated area. If you like landmarks like I do, look for the series of flag posts that are right near the front of the parking lot.
First stop, purchase your tickets in the Welcome Center, which also happens to be the entrance to the Science Museum.
Purchase tickets at the admissions desk. Just beware because this area also functions as a Dr. Seuss-themed gift shop, so your little one may need a bit of coaxing to leave 🙂
Over all, I was really impressed with the Springfield Museums (and we only got to explore one of them!). The area is convenient, charming, and very family-friendly. I’m looking forward to coming back to check out the other four museums soon.
- Convenient, FREE parking
- The museum does appear to be handicap accessible, so theoretically you could maneuver a stroller. However, for a non-walker, I would suggest a wearable baby carrier for increased maneuverability and so you don’t have to keep finding the elevator to go up and down between the levels.
- Restrooms with changing stations on multiple levels of the museum.
- Food only allowed in designated areas of the museum (i.e. the Snack-a-Saurus Cafe area in the gift shop).
- The Springfield Museums are members of the ASTC. If you have one, call ahead to see if your ASTC museum membership qualifies for reciprocity (FREE admission). Then don’t forget to bring your membership card and a valid ID. (I have a Lutz Children’s Museum membership and that qualifies.)
- Some local libraries (like the Manchester, CT library) may offer passes for free or reduced admission to the Springfield Museums. It never hurts to check!
- The Blake House Cafe is a great place to grab a quick meal for the whole family. It’s a little on the small side though, so you may want to hit the cafe for an early (or late) lunch just to be extra sure you’ll find a free table. It would also be hard to take a stroller in there. Click here for the complete menu.
- There are plenty of outdoor picnic tables and benches, which would be perfect for a picnic lunch.
- Looking for a unique birthday party idea? According to their website: “The Springfield Museums offers two-hour Birthday Parties for children ages 4-12 on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Led by an experienced instructor in a private, decorated room, activities relate to one of five themes: Amazing Animals, Dynamic Dinosaurs, Journey Into Space, On the Loose with Dr. Seuss, and Asian Art Adventures.” Contact their Birthday Party Coordinator: 413.263.6800, ext. 430, or email email@example.com for more info.
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