Please note that this post was written in 2014 and may contain some outdated information. Although it will still provide you with a great overview of each destination, please check each venue’s website for the most up to date information about specific details like hours & pricing.
We are lucky to have quite a few children’s museums located in Connecticut and over the past few years Shawna and I have enjoyed exploring many of them with our little ones.
When I saw the weather report for this week and the potential rainy days ahead, I thought it might be the perfect time to put together a quick reference guide for these destinations in case you are looking for an indoor play activity.
Oh and if you are looking to visit one of these destinations without blowing your outing budget (though many of them are reasonably priced), check out these money-saving tips:
- Does your library have a museum pass program? Many of these programs offer free or reduced admission to children’s museums in our state. Check out our Museum Pass Program page for more details.
- Should you purchase a museum membership? Maybe a membership is the same price as visiting the museum just a few times. Plus some memberships include FREE admission through the Association of Science and Technology Centers or half price admission through the Association of Children’s Museums. Check out our post on Museum Reciprocity Programs for more information.
- Does the museum offer a free entry time? Some museums offer a time each month when you can visit for FREE! What a great way to check out the destination. See our Visit for Free list for more information.
The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut
The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut is located in Niantic on the state’s shoreline (and across the street from one of my favorite beaches, The Hole in the Wall). It has two large indoor play areas along with two outdoor spaces. The fully-enclosed outdoor spaces are a great activity for the kids when the weather is nice. Then in the winter, when the weather is frigid, the indoor exhibits offer plenty of fun for the little ones.
Imagine Nation Museum
Imagine Nation Museum is located in Bristol and offers three levels of indoor play plus an outdoor space. Kids can enjoy pretend play in the grocery shopping area or test out a musical instrument. Then you can enjoy the smile on their face as they are engulfed in a giant bubble in the water play area on the second floor. And before you leave, make sure they test their sportscaster skills at the replica Sports Center desk.
119 Washington Street, Middletown, Connecticut
Open every day
Admission is $8 per person (under 1 is free)
FREE on the third Thursday of every month from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Website, OAAM 2012 Post, OAAM 2103 Post
Middletown’s Kidcity is a very popular destination for the eight and under crowd. The museum is comprised of three levels and includes a space just for kids ages 2 and under. My kids love sorting the colored fish on the first floor and playing dress up in the performance area on the second floor. The museum is also in the process of renovating a large exhibit space on the second floor which will be a wonderful addition once it is complete. As a member at Kidcity, one of the nice benefits is enjoying members only museum access each Monday morning from 9:00 am – 11:00 am.
KidsPlay Museum is the newest of the Connecticut children’s museums and probably the smallest of the destinations as well. But don’t let size fool you. This museum packs a lot of fun into their little space! From a full grocery shopping area, to water play, to dramatic play this museum has so much to offer its young visitors.
Lutz Children’s Museum
The Lutz Children’s Museum, located in Manchester, has been a popular destination with my kids over the years. From the pretend play areas, to the arts & craft offerings, to the room filled with live animals (in cages of course!) there is a lot to see and explore at this destination. Plus, a membership at the Lutz museum not only includes free entry to the Lutz, but also includes reciprocity as part of both the Association of Children’s Museums AND the Association of Science-Technology Centers.
The New Children’s Museum
The New Children’s Museum is located in West Hartford and is one of the oldest children’s museums in the state. They have recently updated their play area for kids ages four and under which can be a great place to relax while the little ones play. The museum also has a popular lego exhibit, live animals, and a new exhibit called “It’s a Nano World”.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut
Open Tuesday to Sunday (open every day during the summer)
Admission is $10 – $15 per person (under 1 is free)
FREE on the first Thursday of every month from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Website, OAAM 2012 Post
Stepping Stones Museum for Children is a wonderful destination offering so many fun things for kids to enjoy. I especially love that they have a completely separate section for both non-walkers and a section for kids under three years of age. Their water play area is so much fun and I’ve also heard great things about their outdoor play space (we haven’t checked that out yet because we visited during the winter time).
So there you have it, our list of children’s museums we’ve visited in our state!
For even more information on our list, head over to the board we set up on Pinterest for Children’s Museums in Connecticut. There you can take advantage of a new mapping feature on the site and find the museum that is closest to you!
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
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