The 15 Best Family-Friendly Attractions in Connecticut!

Plan a family outing to one of Connecticut’s wonderful children’s museums, parks, or science centers. The littlest ones in the family will love the safe spaces to crawl and explore their environment, while teens may even crack a smile at a penguin swimming by. Families with children from infants to teens will find something age-appropriate, educational, and fun for everyone.

1. Connecticut Science Museum, Hartford, CT

The Connecticut Science Museum features more than 150 hands-on exhibits and activities for children and adults of all ages. Builders will love the Lego room complete with information about Connecticut’s inventors. Budding botanists will squeal with delight at the Rooftop Garden, open seasonally.

2. The Dinosaur Place, Oakdale, CT

With both indoor and outdoor fun, The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village has an outdoor walking trail with more than 40 life size dinosaur models. The splash pad is a summer time favorite and is New England’s largest. Kids curious about finding their own dino bones can dig for fossils or search for crystals.

3. Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT

Mystic Seaport transports children and their families back in time to New England in 19th century. The buildings and homes inside Mystic Seaport are all originals and house traditional workshops, so children can watch blacksmiths and coopers practicing their trade. Additionally, floating in the Mystic River, families will find the Charles W. Morgan, which is the last wooden whaling ship in the world. Visitors can board the ship and pretend that they are whalers.

4. Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, CT

Explore ocean habitats at the Mystic Aquarium and spot Nemo or Dory swimming among other fishes. The touch tanks are perfect for small hands and tactile learners. Mystic Aquarium also frequently hosts classes and camps for children of all ages.

5. The Children’s Museum, West Hartford, CT

Be welcomed to the Children’s Museum with a walk through a huge model whale, occasionally spraying water through its blowhole. Talk about a grand entrance! The rest of the Children’s Museum is just as fun. A highlight is certainly the light and color room, which is a favorite for babies and older children.

6. Kidcity Children’s Museum, Middletown, CT

Kidcity is a unique children’s museum with handmade play exhibits created by local artists. The littlest ones will love the Toddler Sea Caves where they can dance with mermaids, and bigger kids and kids at heart will enjoy a pretend fishery and teeny medieval village. Kidcity is certainly one of Connecticut’s favorite options to spend a playful day with children.

7. Yale Peabody Museum, New Haven, CT

“Walk like an Egyptian” and peer into a sarcophagus at the Yale Peabody Museum. Children fascinated by ancient Egypt will be able to learn more about daily activities and see numerous artifacts. The educational and colorful Hall of Native American Cultures is certainly a highlight, showcasing clothing and other items used by Sioux, Apache, Cheyenne, Crow, and other Native Americans. This, on top of amazing displays on birds and of course, the dinosaur bones, will keep everyone entertained for hours! 

8. Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT

Dinosaur lovers will get a kick out of the real dinosaur tracks from the Dilophosaurus found at the Dinosaur State Park. This park also features models of the Dilophosaurus in a discovery center and two miles of outdoor trails through swamps and shrub land.

9. Lake Compounce, Bristol, CT

Enjoy exciting family fun at Lake Compounce, the oldest continually operating amusement park in North America. This water and amusement park features a swinging pirate ship, the famous Wildcat rollercoaster, Boulder Dash, flying swings, and numerous wave pools and water slides. 

10. Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic, CT

Allow your kids to run free and explore nature at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. With fun, year-round events for adults and children, families may want to look into attending their excellent outdoor parent-child Chickadee classes. Budding naturalists may also enjoy learning to sketch animals or identify trees in the winter.

11. Quassy, Middlebury, CT

Hop onto a beautiful carousel or fling yourself down a massive water slide. Both children and parents will love the adrenalin pumping fun of Quassy Amusement Park. There is also a special section of the park for littler ones comprising a playscape and kiddy rides.

12. Submarine Museum, Groton, CT

This budget-friendly option (it’s free to visit!) allows families to walk through the narrow corridors of the Nautilus submarine. Inside the museum, see nearly 100,000 artifacts, books, and photographs all related to submarines.

13. Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, Manchester, CT

For active play for older children, teens, and adults, head to Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, which is an outdoor activity park. It features extreme sports such as zip lines, cliff jumping, rock climbing, and wakeboarding. Learn from pros and feel free to start with the difficulty level that you are comfortable with for each of the activities.

14. Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, Niantic, CT

This fun little children’s museum is really well suited for toddlers and elementary school children. Young engineers can build until their heart’s content in the cool imagination station, which is filled with soft, blue blocks and noodles that can be fitted together to create anything the mind can imagine. The Lego space and train area are also popular, as is the Discover Room with a beehive and several reptiles.

15. Stepping Stone Museum for Kids

Families with infants, crawlers, and toddlers can play together in the Tot Town, which features mats, baby-safe toys, and puzzles. Toddlers might dress up in different outfits or pretend to cook gourmet meals in the kitchen. Kids of all ages will enjoy the ColorCoaster with pulleys, levers, wheels, and gears. 

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1 South Canterbury Road, Canterbury, CT
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27 Coogan Boulevard, Mystic, CT
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98 Neptune Avenue, New London, CT
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67 Main Street, Essex, CT
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119 Washington Street, Middletown, CT
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2384 Alumni Drive, Storrs Mansfield, CT
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230 Pine Street, Manchester, CT
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500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, CT
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70 Gracey Road, Canton, CT
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915 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT
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58 North Road, East Windsor, CT
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