Swimming in pools is nice, but there is something quintessentially New England about digging your toes in the sand and wading through a refreshing lake or pond. Luckily, several swimming holes are located in the Hartford area, some of which are free during the week. Whether you're looking to swim, hike, fish, or enjoy a peaceful bicycle ride, Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury makes a beautiful backdrop for all such activities.
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West Hartford is a bustling town that offers everything from great libraries and restaurants, to a children's museum, an ice skating rink, and playgrounds. You'll also find here a tranquil nature center that provides a brief escape from the daily responsibilities of a fast-paced life while enabling little ones to come up close to farm animals. Bonus: visiting Westmoor Park is one of the many free destinations your family can enjoy in the Hartford area.
If you’re looking for a destination that celebrates autumn, grants pumpkins celebrity status, and leaves out the scary stuff, set your GPS location to Pumpkintown U.S.A., located less than 30 minutes southeast of Hartford. Here you can sit and chat with Barack and Michelle Gourdama, watch Arnold Squashernager flex his muscles, or crash the wedding of Tanya Turnip and Willie Joe Beet. They are but a few of the adorable pumpkinheads that will welcome thousands of visitors from now until the end of October. If you have children under age 10, Pumpkintown is a "must see" this fall, and be sure to browse our Connecticut Fall Guide for more fun ideas.
Ahhh, the excitement of back-to-school shopping: notebooks, pencils, crayons...and clothes and shoes you know your child will outgrow by year's end. It’s one thing to invest in quality items as an adult, but quite another to contend with growth spurts, messy dinners and art projects, or heavy playground wear and tear.
Consignment stores are enticing for a few reasons: the savings are most obvious; oftentimes, you can purchase new children's items with original price tags still attached and expensive brand names at less than half the original cost. In addition to keeping more money in your wallet, you'll also find more variety and benefit the environment when giving something used new life again.
Of course, you can also make money or earn store credit when selling your child's gently used clothing. So, whether you're looking for school uniforms, sweaters, pants, or specialty items like festive wear, dance apparel, baby equipment, toys, and books, check out the following spots in the greater Hartford area for consignment opportunities near you.
When it opened a few years ago in what was once a Manchester warehouse, Soarin’ Indoors became New England’s first indoor aerial adventure park, and today, this Hartford-area attraction continues to provide young thrill-seekers with opportunities to overcome their fears and defy physical limitations, while having a fantastic time. If your children have outgrown bouncy houses and inflatable slides, or just need a break from them, head to Soarin', one of Connecticut's many Indoor Playspaces and Fun Zones. The experience will engage their agility, balance, strength, and endurance, and most of all, leave them with beaming smiles ignited by personal accomplishment.
Hot summer days often have us running toward refreshing bodies of water, and if the ocean is out of reach, for outdoor water fun in the Hartford area, not only are there many splash parks and public pools in the area, but you can also get in touch with nature and take a refreshing dip in one of the local lakes, ponds, or rivers. Grab towels, pack the sunblock and water goggles, (don't forget the kids!) and have a fantastic day.
Are you interested in a destination where children can play all day and meet new friends, while expanding their knowledge and skills? Look no farther than Imagine Nation. On the list of our Fun Things To Do With Kids in Bristol, this Hartford-area museum recently underwent an interior redesign and does not disappoint. With three floors of hands-on exhibits and an outdoor play area, your child will be entertained for hours.
Most children love carousels and Connecticut features quite a few places where you can catch a ride on a merry-go-round. The New England Carousel Museum, a little-known gem in the Hartford area, goes beyond offering the opportunity for a whirl. Here you will find hundreds of carousel figurines on display, or being repaired and restored. Though it is small, the Bristol-based museum is still a fascinating place, geared toward older children and adults -- artists, historians, and carousel connoisseurs are sure to appreciate the fragile exhibits. Young children will enjoy feasting their eyes upon the colorful figurines, but without much opportunity for hands-on interaction, they could also lose interest quicker. Still, this is definitely one of the Fun Things To Do With Kids in Bristol and can be a quick stop on a day filled with other in-town adventures.