Located in the center of Connecticut, New Britain is a city rooted in manufacturing and industry, leaving some to wonder what family-friendly activities can be found in this Hartford area community. However, with a little exploring, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all it has to offer. A variety of kid-friendly spots waiting to be explored include places to play and enjoy nature, opportunities to discover and create art, try out some old-fashioned soda, and gaze at the stars.
Flight Trampoline Park
Jump and pounce on more than 50 connected trampolines in the open jump field, and enjoy activities such as dodge ball, basketball, private parties, and more. Kids' Flight sessions are great for children 46 inches tall and under; the entire park is open only for them.
140 Production Court, New Britain 860-505-8218
The New Britain Youth Museum
This fun and free museum is conveniently located across from the New Britain Public Library, so make a day of it and visit both. Go listen to story time and take out some books, then walk over to the museum to play. Children will enjoy a pretend kitchen area and a train exhibit, and free programs such as a literacy program for preschoolers, or animal meet and greets.
30 High Street, New Britain 860-225-3020
One of the oldest soda bottling companies in New England can be found right in the same red barn that it started in back in 1904. Visit the soda company to try one of their many flavored sodas or seltzers. It’s a great place to visit with a group. Make an appointment for a tour and take a try at making your very own soda.
520 Corbin Avenue, New Britain 860-224-0830
Amato's Toy and Hobby
Trains, cars, planes, plush animals, creative gifts - children will no doubt consider it a real treat to venture inside this long-standing independently-owned toy store.
283 Main Street, New Britain 860-229-9069
Stanley Quarter Park
Bring some left over bread and your little ones will have a blast feeding ducks and geese. An adjacent playground guarantees more fun. Of course, you can also go fishing or admire the skills of skateboarders whizzing by in the nearby park.
Stanley Street, New Britain 860-826-3360
Willow Street Park
This New Britain splash pad is the largest in New England, and is free! Open during the summer months until Labor Day weekend, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
43 Willow Street New Britain, CT 06051
Central Connecticut State University Art Galleries
Open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (other visiting hours are available by appointment), the galleries showcase student artwork and host at least three art shows each year. In addition, the artwork of artists from all over the country has been displayed. Click here for information regarding parking on campus.
Malloney Hall, corner of Stanley Street and Ella Grasso Boulevard, New Britain 860-832-2633
The Copernican Observatory and Planetarium
The 8 p.m. planetarium show scheduled for the first and third Saturdays of each month is free and open to the general public. Following the show, if the sky is clear, visitors are invited to the rooftop to view the night sky through a variety of instruments and telescopes.The planetarium is located in Copernicus Hall. Click here for directions and parking information.
Copernicus Hall, between 245 and 175 Paul Manafort Drive, New Britain
New Britain Museum of Modern Art
Free on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m.- noon, the museum features a fantastic art collection and a variety of art classes for children of all ages. An art program for preschoolers is offered Saturday at 11 a.m. The museum admission is $12 for adults and free for children 12 and under but some local libraries will offer free passes.
56 Lexington Street, New Britain 860-229-0257
Walnut Hill Park
Take a stroll around the beautiful park overlooking the downtown area, play in the playground or check out the Rose Gardens at the top of the park. In the summer months the band shell is host to many outdoor concerts. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this Olmsted-designed park is a beautiful respite.
184 West Main Street, New Britain
Hole in the Wall Theater
A part of the community since 1972, you can catch many creative and entertaining family-friendly productions here. The 2017 season includes William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, The Wizard of Oz: A Musical Dragtacular, and Alice in Wonderland. For $20 per ticket, you will enjoy a great theatrical performance while supporting community talent and dedication.
116 Main Street, New Britain 860-223-9665
New Britain Industrial Museum
According to its website, this museum houses more than 200 years of "New Britain innovation and invention." It is closed Sunday and Monday, and open only for limited hours on other days, so it's best to call ahead.
CCSU/ITBD Building, 185 Main Street, New Britain 860-832-8654
New Britain is full of diverse culture and that is evident in the various places to eat. Over on Broad Street, in Little Poland, you will find restaurants including Staropolska, which offers delicious choices like pierogies, sauerkraut, and kielbasa. If you are interested in trying authentic Spanish cuisine, check out Negritas on West Main Street and try some meals like mofongo, rice and beans, or plantains. The East Side Restaurant offers authentic German cuisine that will take you back to the essence of good old-fashioned family dining. You will be greeted with a warm Bavarian atmosphere and friendly staff outfitted in traditional German attire. Enjoy meal options like schnitzel, bratwurst, traditional Hungarian goulash, or more familiar dishes like roasted stuffed turkey, or German pot roast.
Enjoy all that New Britain has to offer!
Photo credit: image courtesy of Flight Trampoline Park