Well, it depends on which groundhog you ask--Punxatawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter while Connecticut's own Chuckles the groundhog predicts an early spring. Either way, we all know that even though February is the shortest month it can feel endless at times. Sure we've got the Super Bowl shaking things up this weekend, but it's still cold, it's still getting dark pretty early (though if you're like me you get excited when you realize it's 5:00 pm and still a little dusky) and it's all too easy to succumb to a case of cabin fever. In order to stave off any seasonal meltdowns, I've rounded up 10 family events and activities around Connecticut and the best part is they're all FREE! So when the road conditions permit, bundle up the fam and get out while the getting is good! For even more free stuff to do all year round, check out these 50 Free Things to do Indoors!
Submarine Force Museum
Climb aboard the submarine Nautilus for a journey through ships that made history from the first ship to voyage to the North Pole to the real story of the first submarine to venture 20,000 leagues under the sea.
1 Crystal Lake Road, Groton, CT 06340 860-694-3174
Westport Astronomical Society
For all you stargazers out there, Westport Astronomical Society hosts a calendar of events every month including a public night at the observatory on Wednesdays. In February one of those Wednesdays just so happens to be Valentine's Day.
182 Bayberry Lane, Westport, CT 06880 203-293-8759
Yale Peabody Museum
On Thursday afternoons visitors get in free at this world class natural history museum. Whether you like dinosaur fossils or rocks and minerals, Peabody has a little something for everyone.
170 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511 203-432-5050
Yale Center for British Art / Yale Art Gallery
These two are practically across the street from each other in downtown New Haven. Parking can be a pain sometimes, but with free admission to both museums and endless options if you want to grab some lunch after, this is a great way to spend a whole afternoon.
1080 Chapel Street / 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510
With locations throughout Connecticut, many of which offer indoor centers to check out, Audubon can be a great answer to a cold afternoon.
Museum of Connecticut History
Learn how the Nutmeg State grew and changed through the centuries and its place within the rest of the nation. Kids will enjoy a scavenger hunt that will lead them through the museum in search of clues to Connecticut's past.
231 Capitol Hill, Hartford, CT 06101 860-757-6535
UConn Animal Barns
Did you know that visitors are invited to tour the UConn animal barns in Storrs every day from 10:00 - 4:00? Have an animal lover in your brood? Head on over and see how a barn is run.
3636 Horsebarn Road, Storrs, CT 06269 860-486-2413
Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
UConn is actually quite renowned for its puppetry program. Ballard Institute offers a glimpse into the world of puppetry and frequently puts on free puppet shows. Reservations are strongly recommended.
1 Royce Circle, Suite 101B, Storrs, CT 06268 860-486-8580
New Britain Youth Museum
There are two locations to explore here. The New Britain Youth Museum located behind New Britain Library has a calendar of activities for kids as well as play areas to explore. The center at Hungerford Park in Kensington is home to several species of domestic animals as well as wildlife.
30 High Street, New Britain, CT 06051 860-225-3020 / 91 Farmington Avenue, Kensington, CT 06037 860-827-9064
When my kids were very small we were at the library so much that on more than one occasion I was mistaken for an employee. Your local library is undoubtedly one of your best resources when it comes to keeping the kids entertained--and you sane--while we ride out the rest of winter.