Ever wanted to try out a children’s museum or other family-friendly destination without shelling out a bunch of cash?
Ever wish you could bring your kiddos to fun events like movies, music festivals, arts & crafts classes and more for FREE (or almost free)?
Well, we have some GREAT news for you!
Many family-friendly venues in (and around) Connecticut offer regular opportunities to visit for FREE (or pretty much free). And we’ve also discovered all sorts of classes and activities that won’t cost you a dime.
So get out your calendar and make note of the following FREE (or almost free) activities. Turns out you can have a ton of fun without spending a ton of cash 🙂
(Pssst. Be sure to double-check each venue’s website before heading out for a visit. Calendars change often. Thanks!)
Nearby Children’s Museums Offering FREE Admission Times
- Boston Children’s Museum (Boston, MA) – $1 per person every Friday from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum (Brooklyn, NY) – FREE every Thursday from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm Website, Facebook , OAAM Post
- Providence Children’s Museum (Providence, RI) – FREE on the third Friday of every month from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Stepping Stones Museum (Norwalk, CT) – FREE on the first Thursday of every month from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
Museums in CT Offering FREE Admission Times and Family-Friendly Activities
- Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT) – This venue is FREE on the third Saturday of every month and offers kid-friendly art projects and tours of the galleries. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, CT) – This venue is FREE on the first Saturday of the month and often there is a family-friendly craft or activity available. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain, CT) – This venue is FREE on Saturdays if you arrive between 10:00 am – noon (you can stay as long as you wish). In addition to checking out the family-friendly galleries, be sure to stop by the recently renovated ArtLab space for some creative (and free) playtime. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, CT) – This venue is FREE for families on the second Saturday of the month if you arrive between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm (you can stay as long as you wish). Often there will also be family-friendly activities or events occurring at this time. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Yale University Art Gallery – This venue is always FREE and open to the public, but on the second Sunday of each month during the academic year (September-May) they also offer their unique Stories and Art program geared towards families at 1:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (New Haven, CT) – FREE on Thursdays from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm from September to June. They also offer other free days throughout the year, usually including one day in August, one day in October and two days in January. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
BONUS TIP: Are you a Bank of America card holder? If so, you may be entitled to FREE admission to participating museums on the first full weekend of every month through their Museums on Us program. Some of our favorite destinations in this program include the Providence Children’s Museum, the Springfield Museums (website, OAAM post) and the Yale Peabody Museum.
FREE Classes & Activities
- Public Libraries: Of course, if you’ve followed our site for any amount of time you know who much we love our local libraries for FREE classes and drop-in activities (not to mention fantastic indoor play areas). Check out some of our favorites here or see what your own local library has to offer!
- The Home Depot (nationwide) – Offers FREE monthly kids’ clinics where kids get to use real tools to create exciting (and adorable!) woodworking projects. OAAM Post
- Michaels Stores (nationwide) – Offers Kids Club arts & crafts workshops every Saturday morning where kids can make a fun art project for just $2. OAAM Post
- Barnes & Noble (nationwide) – Offer free weekly storytime sessions that may also include a cute arts & crafts project. OAAM Post
FREE Summer Events & Activities
- Bow Tie Cinemas’ Free Kids Summer Film Series (Hartford, Stamford and Trumbull, CT) – Free movies every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Series runs from June – August. Website, OAAM Post
- Elizabeth Park’s Summer Concert Series (Hartford, CT) – Concerts are usually held on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm. Look for the schedule to come out in late spring/early summer. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
- Glastonbury Riverfront Music Series (Glastonbury, CT) – Concerts are usually held on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 during the summer months. Look for the schedule to come out in late spring/early summer. Website, OAAM Post
- Weir Farm Take Part in Art Program (Wilton, CT) – From May 1st through October 31st, families visiting the Weir Farm grounds can borrow professional-grade artist materials for FREE to try their hand at sketching and painting the glorious scenery. Art materials are available at the Visitor Center Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Website, Facebook, OAAM Post
Other FREE Annual Events to Watch Out For:
- Take Your Child to the Library Day (Statewide; usually in February) – Libraries across the state plan a fun-filled day of FREE activities that celebrate our community libraries. OAAM Post
- Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (Statewide; early March) – It’s no surprise that this storied storyteller’s birthday is a big deal, especially at local libraries. Keep your eye out for all kinds of fun events centered around this celebration, many of which happen at local libraries and are FREE and open to the public. We’ve been to these celebrations at our own town libraries; check out what’s going on at yours!
- Connecticut Open House Day (Usually in June) – Tons of CT venues offer special deals, discounts and other perks during this one-day-only popular annual event. OAAM Post
- Touch-A-Truck (Statewide) – In the spring and summer months, Touch-A-Truck events pop up all across Connecticut. These family-friendly events allow children to get up close to, climb on and sit in some of their favorite vehicles like fire trucks, dump trucks, race cars, police motorcycles, tractors and more! Several of these events are FREE and most others are very reasonably priced and often benefit a charity. We typically publish a list of these events each spring. You can check out our 2016 schedule for a sneak peak, as many of these are annual events.
- Winterfest at Bushnell Park (Hartford, CT; usually November to January/February) – FREE ice skating and skate rentals, plus other festive holiday activities. OAAM Post
Still looking for more options to try out a family-friendly destination for free (or a reduced price)? Then check out the museum pass program available at most libraries in Connecticut. All you need is a valid Connecticut library card to score free and discounted admission to dozens of destinations in (and around) the state.
Also, we try our best to keep this list up-to-date with the latest free offerings, BUT we would love your help. If you know of a venue we are missing or a free offering that has changed, send us a note to let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org).