45 Unmissable Things to do with Kids in the Hartford Area

Thrill seekers will love the F-100 Simulator. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism
Things to Do with your Kids in Central Connecticut Before They Grow Up

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
06103 Hartford , CT 41° 46' 16.4064" N, 72° 40' 28.992" W
Connecticut
Bushnell Park Carousel
15 Trinity Street
06103 Hartford , CT 41° 45' 57.4848" N, 72° 40' 52.7808" W
Connecticut
Lake Compounce
186 Enterprise Drive
06010 Bristol , CT 41° 38' 57.642" N, 72° 54' 32.6592" W
Connecticut
Southington Apple Fest
Southington Town Green West Center Street
06052 Southington , CT 41° 35' 50.874" N, 72° 49' 24.0924" W
Connecticut
Framington River Tubing
92 Main Street
06057 New Hartford , CT 41° 51' 26.082" N, 72° 57' 30.0708" W
Connecticut
Page Park
647 King Street
06010 Bristol , CT 41° 41' 6.8676" N, 72° 55' 30.2304" W
Connecticut
The Old State House
800 Main Street
06103 Hartford , CT 41° 45' 57.7044" N, 72° 40' 21.1512" W
Connecticut
Southington Drive
996 Meriden Waterbury Turnpike
06052 Southington , CT 41° 33' 47.2392" N, 72° 52' 42.2976" W
Connecticut
Hot Air Balloon Festival
Norton Park 197 South Washington Street
06062 Plainville , CT 41° 39' 41.3748" N, 72° 52' 40.7748" W
Connecticut
Karabin Farms
894 Andrews Street
06052 Southington , CT 41° 36' 51.1524" N, 72° 49' 41.4804" W
Connecticut
Mount Southington
396 Mount Vernon Road
06479 Southington , CT 41° 34' 55.4196" N, 72° 55' 29.712" W
Connecticut
Bushnell Theater
166 Capitol Avenue
06106 Hartford , CT 41° 45' 46.0728" N, 72° 40' 49.2924" W
Connecticut
IT Adventure Ropes Course
40 Sargent Drive
06511 New Haven , CT 41° 17' 13.452" N, 72° 55' 39.9576" W
Connecticut
Elizabeth Park
1555 Asylum Avenue
06117 Hartford , CT 41° 46' 35.0148" N, 72° 43' 6.0132" W
Connecticut
Sonny's Place
349 Main Street
06071 Somers , CT 41° 59' 9.1212" N, 72° 28' 5.6748" W
Connecticut
Roaring Brook Nature Center`
70 Gracey Road
06019 Canton , CT 41° 50' 29.0292" N, 72° 52' 54.5664" W
Connecticut
The CT Children's Museum
950 Trout Brook Drive
06119 West Hartford , CT 41° 45' 43.0344" N, 72° 44' 12.6564" W
Connecticut
Hartford Stage
50 Church Street
06109 Hartford , CT 41° 46' 8.0904" N, 72° 40' 28.2144" W
Connecticut
Veteran's Memorial Rink
50 South Main Street
06107 West Hartford , CT 41° 45' 31.1184" N, 72° 44' 30.3612" W
Connecticut
Goodwin Park
1130 Maple Avenue
06114 Hartford , CT 41° 43' 38.5752" N, 72° 41' 26.8872" W
Connecticut
Wickham Park
1329 West Middle Turnpike
06040 Manchester , CT 41° 47' 1.7556" N, 72° 34' 41.3292" W
Connecticut
Castle Craig at Hubbard Park
199 Notch Road
06037 Meriden , CT 41° 33' 7.29" N, 72° 49' 48.5688" W
Connecticut
Imagine Nation Museum
One Pleasant Street
06010 Bristol , CT 41° 40' 11.8164" N, 72° 56' 44.9448" W
Connecticut
Mozzicatos Bakery
329 Franklin Avenue
06114 Hartford , CT 41° 44' 27.888" N, 72° 40' 35.1012" W
Connecticut
Talcott Mountain
560 Simsbury Road
06002 Simsbury , CT 41° 50' 14.2332" N, 72° 46' 54.4548" W
Connecticut
Dinosaur State Park
400 West Street
06067 Rocky Hill , CT 41° 39' 6.48" N, 72° 39' 23.2776" W
Connecticut
Avery's Soda
520 Corbin Avenue
06052 New Britain , CT 41° 39' 12.4236" N, 72° 47' 47.5692" W
Connecticut
New England Air Museum
36 Perimeter Road
06096 Windsor Locks , CT 41° 56' 49.4916" N, 72° 41' 27.7548" W
Connecticut
Flamig Farm
7 Shingle Mill Road
06092 West Simsbury , CT 41° 52' 12.3528" N, 72° 51' 53.0964" W
Connecticut
Time Machine Hobby
71 Hilliard Street
06040 Manchester , CT 41° 47' 33.0864" N, 72° 31' 42.1284" W
Connecticut
New Britain Youth Museum
30 High Street
06051 New Britain , CT 41° 40' 4.638" N, 72° 47' 7.0188" W
Connecticut
Institute for American Indian Studies
30 Curtis Road
06793 Washington , CT 41° 36' 34.2864" N, 73° 19' 25.3668" W
Connecticut
Bloom Hill Farm
696 Cottage Grove Road
06002 Bloomfield , CT 41° 49' 5.592" N, 72° 43' 50.5452" W
Connecticut
Enders Falls
Route 219
06035 Granby , CT 41° 57' 23.292" N, 72° 52' 13.1376" W
Connecticut
Mark Twain House
351 Farmington Avenue
06105 Hartford , CT 41° 46' 1.5384" N, 72° 42' 5.166" W
Connecticut
Devon Duckpin Bowling
551 Naugatuck Avenue
06460 Milford , CT
Phone: 203-872-4541
41° 12' 6.3288" N, 73° 6' 4.842" W
Connecticut
Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Glastonbury
1361 Main Street
06033 Glastonbury , CT
Phone: (860) 633-8402
41° 40' 55.1784" N, 72° 36' 1.3644" W
Connecticut
Pink Cupcake Shack
1215 Post Road
06824 Fairfield , CT
Phone: 203.259.7465
41° 8' 35.0016" N, 73° 15' 13.0968" W
Connecticut
Amato's Toy and Hobby Store
395 Main Street
06457 Middletown , CT 41° 33' 41.7528" N, 72° 39' 3.5532" W
Connecticut
New England Carousel Museum
95 Riverside Avenue, Rt. 72 W
Bristol , CT
Phone: 860.585.5411
41° 40' 15.7044" N, 72° 56' 22.146" W
Connecticut
Storyteller's Cottage
750 Hopmeadow Street
06070 Simsbury , CT
Phone: 860-877-6099
41° 52' 26.8428" N, 72° 48' 4.6584" W
Connecticut
Central Rock Gym
259 Eastern Blvd
Glastonbury , CT 41° 43' 23.9304" N, 72° 34' 57.1728" W
Connecticut
Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society
227 South Main Street
06107 West Hartford , CT
Phone: (860) 521-362
41° 44' 49.0956" N, 72° 44' 45.1176" W
Connecticut
Earthplace - the Nature Discovery and Environmental Learning Center
10 Woodside Lane
06880 Westport , CT
Phone: 203.557.4400
41° 8' 45.7548" N, 73° 22' 59.2788" W
Connecticut
Farmington Mini Golf
1048 Farmington Ave
Farmington , CT 41° 44' 7.5552" N, 72° 50' 17.4264" W
Connecticut
Connecticut Sportsplex
150 Foxon Road
06471 North Branford , CT
Phone: (203) 484-4383
41° 19' 52.0032" N, 72° 49' 3.9972" W
Connecticut
Pepe's Pizzeria
157 Wooster Street
06511 New Haven , CT
Phone: 203-865-5762
41° 18' 10.7964" N, 72° 55' 0.912" W
Connecticut
Beardsley Zoo 
1875 Noble Avenue
06610 Bridgeport , CT
Phone: (203) 394-6565
41° 12' 31.9284" N, 73° 11' 1.9176" W
Connecticut