If you’re looking for a small-town fair big on entertainment, mouth-watering foods, and scrumptious desserts, the Southington Apple Harvest Festival, celebrating its 49th year and mentioned in our 30 Fun Things to Do This Fall in Connecticut is sure to deliver. Nestled around the charming Southington Town Green, this family-oriented event attracts about 100,000 visitors annually. Add free admission and free parking to the fact that purchases benefit local community organizations and businesses, and you have an all-around feel good experience.
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Where can you gaze into the eyes of Siberian tigers, watch the antics of a red panda or the graceful dance of a colorful peacock, admire the perfect stillness of a sloth or trace the movements of turtles, or be wowed by the size of a bison - all in one day? At Beardsley Zoo, of course. Listed at the top of our 120 Things to Do With Kids in Connecticut, our state's only zoological park has been harboring endangered species, promoting conservation, and delighting visitors of all ages for nearly 100 years.
When my kids wanted a fun place to visit, they rarely (okay, never) asked: “Can we go to Torrington?” But that has changed since our first visit to KidsPlay, a children’s museum located downtown in Litchfield County’s largest city. After just one visit, KidsPlay became a favorite destination, and these days, the museum is better than ever after a recently completed expansion that doubled the square footage and play space. From the moment you enter through its doors (monitored by security cameras), the amount of creativity and fun details will leave you impressed and little adventurers giddy. The museum is designed for ages 2-8, and without a doubt, the persons behind its establishment know what makes children happy and how they learn best through play.
Children love superheroes, those powerful people whose good deeds defeat evil, and leave the world a better place. Once kids start hearing about the amazing life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, they'll realize she totally qualifies as one. A tour of Hartford County's Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, which features her home and a museum, offers the opportunity to learn about this beloved author, and how she helped change history.
Sprawled on 120 acres in Bloomfield, Auerfarm is a pastoral oasis in the Hartford area. From the moment you turn on the dirt road, you feel the freedom and peace of farm life. Children will be more than happy to explore for a couple of hours, romping in meadows, spotting dragonflies, and greeting farm animals.
The end of summer vacation incites both cheer (the playroom will stay clean for more than 10 minutes!) and panic (what kind of lunch box? another pair of shoes?). With just a few more weeks to go before school buses start lining up at the curb, it's important to make the most of the time that's left. This weekend offers plenty of opportunities to make memories: find out what zoo animals do after dark; meet your favorite superheroes at the Jersey Shore Comic Book Show; check out cool aircraft at the Open Cockpit Weekend in Teterboro; and much more.
Find ways to beat the heat in our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids, including our list of 15 Awesome NJ Water Parks, Best Splash Pads and Water Playgrounds, and the Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families. And be sure to check out our Event Calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.
Last but not least, visit our brand-new local DEALS page to score discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more for NJ kids. Check back often because we're constantly adding new ones.
Before pool noodles and beach towels get stored away for another season, and late summer nights are replaced by bedtime curfews and homework, (at least) 25 must-do activities await in Connecticut, a great place to raise kids. So don't pack up the flip flops or exile the picnic basket to storage. There are still a few weeks before school buses begin to line at the curb, allowing us to capitalize on the time left and give summer a proper send-off, making more memories sure to keep hearts warm in the cold days to come.
Lyman Orchards is one of those idyllic places where sprawling vistas, trees brimming with fruit, and a deliciously stocked country store make you feel like you are splurging on a vacation; however, given their 30-minute proximity to Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury, chances are you’re probably still very close to home. This Connecticut landmark is a favorite family-friendly destination throughout the year, but the views and ambiance are especially spectacular in the fall.