UPDATED FOR 2016!
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Does your little one adore trains? Love trucks? Go bananas for boats? Well then, you are in luck! Because today we have put together a very special post just for the little transportation enthusiast in your crew.
Over the years, Mandy and I have taken the kiddos on many beloved adventures that, to put it poetically, focus less on the destination and more on the journey. Or more specifically: the vehicles! 🙂 And we thought it might be fun to recap some of these outings that don’t frequently make it onto our other themed lists. So whatever your little ones are into in the world of transportation, we’ve got the perfect outing to get them to go go go!
Things that go…BY ROAD
Did you ever think about taking your kids for a ride on the city bus? Mandy did! And her little crew loved it! What a simple, fun outing–and with the recent opening of CT Fast Track, bus travel is even easier and more efficient than ever before.
What could be better for your little vehicle-lover than getting to climb in and explore real fire trucks, police cars, dump trucks, school buses, backhoes, and more! Touch-A-Truck events are popular across our state. We’ve written about the ones in Enfield, Glastonbury and West Hartford, but there are many more to explore. Check back soon for our annual Touch-A-Truck listing! But in the meantime, here’s a sneak peak: Enfield Vehicle Day will be June 18th (2016) from 10am-noon and Glastonbury Touch-A-Truck will be held on June 4th (2016) from 10am-2pm.
Things that go…BY RAIL
In late April/early May, everyone’s favorite #1 engine comes to the Essex Steam Train for Day Out With Thomas! This annual event where little ones actually get to ride on a real train pulled by their little blue engine pal has become a favorite in our families. There’s still time to get tickets for the 2016 event happening April 16-17, 23-24, and April 30-May 1. Can’t make it to Thomas? Check out the Essex Steam Train’s Circus Train event in July!
The Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston features educational exhibits about railroading history in this region and also offers rides on the restored Naugatuck Railroad. It’s particularly fun to check it our during one of their special events, like the train ride to the pumpkin patch that runs each fall.
The Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor is another historical destination where the young and the young at heart can enjoy a trip back in time with a ride in a restored trolley car. The museum also offers special events throughout the year, like their Trolley Ride to the Pumpkin Patch in the fall and their Winterfest holiday event in late November and December.
But you don’t need to visit a museum to get a train-themed experience. In fact, you can hop on a mini Amtrak train ride from Windsor like Mandy did with her little ones. Add in a stop for some bakery treats and you’ve got the perfect afternoon outing!
And if it’s miniature trains that capture your kiddo’s imagination, definitely take them to see the ginormous model train layout at Time Machine Hobby in Manchester. It’s open for public viewing every first and third Sunday of the month from 1-4pm.
For a unique family dining experience, check out Pizza Works in Old Saybrook. This kid-friendly eatery is located right next to the Old Saybrook Train Station (where you can watch the trains come and go) plus inside you can find several model train layouts that will definitely keep your little ones busy until the food arrives (and then some!).
Things that go…BY AIR
The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks has an amazing collection of historic civilian and military aircraft displayed in two giant hangers, plus a room filled with fun activities just for kids. You can even let your little one sit in the cockpit of a real plane during one of their “Open Cockpit” events. Be sure to check out their 2016 April Vacation Activities too!
Things that go…BY WATER
Rocky Hill-Glastonbury & Chester-Hadlyme Ferries
Getting there (or back!) will be half the fun when you take a ride on a ferry boat! Mandy explored the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry on one of her family’s frequent visits to Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury, and she also took a ride on the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry en route to Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam. Both ferries operate seasonally, and technically they started operating on April 1st. But it seems like there might be a bit of a delay in getting operations underway this season. So be sure to check the Connecticut DOT’s incidents page before you go just to make sure ferry service has not been suspended.
Hop aboard the totally family-friendly RiverQuest Kids Cruise where little ones can discover the Connecticut River, learn about navigating a boat and keep watch for wildlife using real binoculars. This shorter and more kid-friendly version of RiverQuest’s popular daytime cruise is available on select Saturday mornings during the summer months. See 2016 RiverQuest Kids Cruise dates here when they become available.
So there you have it! Our favorite transportation-themed outings. We hope you enjoy these fun destinations and outing ideas as much as we did! They will definitely get your family moving 🙂
- NEW New England Air Museum – Located in Windsor Locks, CT, NEAM houses dozens of historic civilian and military aircraft and memorabilia in two giant hangers that visitors can tour. A family-friendly destination, the museum also hosts a variety of fun and educational events and activities for kids. Check out their 2015 April vacation activities from 4/13-4/17 & 4/20-4/24! (Read the OAAM post on this destination here)
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- 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!
- Marie-Chantal Luxury Children’s wear – Giving one lucky reader a chance to WIN $500 to spend in their online store. Marie-Chantal is a global lifestyle brand creating unique and beautifully crafted designer children’s clothes and gifts for boys and girls from newborn to 12 years old.
Want to keep up with things to do with kids in Connecticut?
Check back every Tuesday and Thursday as we dish up more Momsense for getting out and about with your little ones. Don’t have time to check back in? Let us send you an automatic notification of new posts straight to your email inbox by signing up here. Also, you can like us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest posts and get some extra tidbits we share only through those sites.