Thrill seekers will love the F-100 Simulator. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism
Thrill seekers will love the F-100 Simulator. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

45 Unmissable Things to do with Kids in the Hartford Area

Smack in the middle of the state, Hartford County is a place you'll probably have lots of occasions to pass through even if you don't live nearby. Luckily, this county, the second most populous in Connecticut, is packed with museums, parks, and other attractions that are worth a stop for a morning or afternoon. While there are many more things to do with kids than this 50-item list shares, we have collected some unmissable places and events Connecticut has to share. Whether you and the brood are in the mood to learn, soak up nature, or get some exercise, this list has a family fun idea for you.

1. Cheer on the Yard Goats at the all new Dunkin Donuts Stadium

2. Ride the carousel at Bushnell Park.

3. Spend a summer day at Lake Compounce in Bristol.

4. Eat apple fritters at the Southington Apple Harvest.

Farmington River is a tubing mecca. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

5. Go tubing down the Farmington River.

6. Sled down the huge hills at Page Park.

7. Learn about the history of this great state at The Old State House

8. Watch a show at the Southington Drive-in Theater.

Plainville's hot air balloon celebration heats up in August. Photo courtesy of the festival

9. Gaze in awe at the Hot Air Balloon Festival

10. Go apple picking at Karabin Farms

11. Ski the slopes at Mt. Southington

12. Dress up and enjoy a show at the Bushnell Memorial Theater.

13. Smell the roses at Elizabeth Park’s rose garden.

14. Take a ride on the go-karts at Sonny's Place.

15. Explore New England’s woodland environment at Roaring Brook Nature Center.

16. Go inside "Conny," the gigantic life-size whale at The Children’s Museum.

17. Go see The Christmas Carol or another great show at the Hartford Stage.

18. Lace up your skates and enjoy a day at West Hartford's Veteran’s Memorial Rink.

19. Become mesmerized by the beauty of Fantasia’s Christmas Light show.

20. Excite all your senses at Wickham Park's Sensory Garden.

21. Climb to the top of Castle Craig in Meriden.

Got kids who like to play pretend? Visit Imagine Nation. Photo by Clementina Verge

22. Let your imagination run wild at the Imagine Nation Museum.

23. Taste the amazing pastries and baked goods at Mozzicato's Italian Bakery.

24. Learn about Hartford's most famous author at the Mark Twain House.

25. Hike around Talcott Mountain State Park.

26. Learn about the prehistoric times at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill.

27. Go for a tour of the factory and then make your own soda at Avery’s.

28. Sit in the cockpit of an airplane at the New England Air Museum.

Baby animals are for cuddling. Photo courtesy of Flamig Farm 

29. Pet the animals at the Flamig Farm.

30. Indulge your favorite hobby at the Time Machine Hobby in Manchester.

31. Take in a class at the New Britain Youth Museum.

33. Grab a cold ice cream on a hot day at Bloom Hill Farm.

34. Take a gander at Connecticut's waterfalls at Enders Falls.

35. Stop in at Amato's Toy and Hobby store, one of the oldest toy stores in the state.

36. Try indoor rock climbing at Central Rock Gym in Glastonbury.

37. Grab an ice cream cone and a game of summer mini golf at Farmington Mini Golf.

38. Learn about the original creator of Webster's Dictionary at the Noah Webster house in West Hartford. 

39. Learn about the history of carousels at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol.

40. Enter into a magical world of literature at the Storyteller's Cottage in SImsbury.

41. Get all the little wiggles out at this Milford trampoline park

42. Have an adventurous child? Bring them out to Fearless Flyers Academy to learn trapeze.

43. Cupcakes. So many cupcakes at Pink Cupcake Shack.

44. Take your little nature-lover to a Budding Naturalists class at the Connecticut Audubon Society.

45. Explore bubbles, robots, tornadoes and more: Our universe sure packs a lot of excitement, power, and puzzles, and so does the Connecticut Science Center.

Originally published 1/29/2012.

Dunkin Donuts Stadium
1214 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103

Bushnell Park Carousel
15 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT 06103

Lake Compounce
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT 06010

Southington Apple Fest
Southington Town Green West Center Street
Southington, CT 06052

Framington River Tubing
92 Main Street
New Hartford, CT 06057

Page Park
647 King Street
Bristol, CT 06010

The Old State House
800 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103

Southington Drive
996 Meriden Waterbury Turnpike
Southington, CT 06052

Hot Air Balloon Festival
Norton Park 197 South Washington Street
Plainville, CT 06062

Karabin Farms
894 Andrews Street
Southington, CT 06052

Mount Southington
396 Mount Vernon Road
Southington, CT 06479

Bushnell Theater
166 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

IT Adventure Ropes Course
40 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT 06511

Elizabeth Park
1555 Asylum Avenue
Hartford, CT 06117

Sonny's Place
349 Main Street
Somers, CT 06071

Roaring Brook Nature Center`
70 Gracey Road
Canton, CT 06019

The CT Children's Museum
950 Trout Brook Drive
West Hartford, CT 06119

Hartford Stage
50 Church Street
Hartford, CT 06109

Veteran's Memorial Rink
50 South Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107

Goodwin Park
1130 Maple Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114

Wickham Park
1329 West Middle Turnpike
Manchester, CT 06040

Castle Craig at Hubbard Park
199 Notch Road
Meriden, CT 06037

Imagine Nation Museum
One Pleasant Street
Bristol, CT 06010

Mozzicatos Bakery
329 Franklin Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114

Talcott Mountain
560 Simsbury Road
Simsbury, CT 06002

Dinosaur State Park
400 West Street
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

Avery's Soda
520 Corbin Avenue
New Britain , CT 06052

New England Air Museum
36 Perimeter Road
Windsor Locks, CT 06096

Flamig Farm
7 Shingle Mill Road
West Simsbury, CT 06092

Time Machine Hobby
71 Hilliard Street
Manchester, CT 06040

New Britain Youth Museum
30 High Street
New Britain, CT 06051

Institute for American Indian Studies
30 Curtis Road
Washington, CT 06793

Bloom Hill Farm
696 Cottage Grove Road
Bloomfield, CT 06002

Enders Falls
Route 219
Granby, CT 06035

Mark Twain House
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105

Devon Duckpin Bowling
551 Naugatuck Avenue
Milford, CT 06460

Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Glastonbury
1361 Main Street
Glastonbury, CT 06033

Pink Cupcake Shack
1215 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Amato's Toy and Hobby Store
395 Main Street
Middletown, CT 06457

New England Carousel Museum
95 Riverside Avenue, Rt. 72 W
Bristol, CT

Storyteller's Cottage
750 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT 06070

Central Rock Gym
259 Eastern Blvd
Glastonbury , CT

Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society
227 South Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107

Earthplace - the Nature Discovery and Environmental Learning Center
10 Woodside Lane
Westport, CT 06880

Farmington Mini Golf
1048 Farmington Ave
Farmington , CT

Connecticut Sportsplex
150 Foxon Road
North Branford, CT 06471

Pepe's Pizzeria
157 Wooster Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Beardsley Zoo 
1875 Noble Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06610
CT Trolley Museum Pumpkin Patch
Connecticut Trolley Museum - 10:00 AM Pick
The Shows Must Go On: The Greats on Tour
Youtube - various times Pick
The Great Pumpkin Patch & Courtyard
The Farmhouse at People's Light - 10:00 AM
Flanders Haunted Hikes
Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust - 4:00 PM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides