Taking your children to a museum may sound more like a chore than a treat. Choosing one that will captivate and entertain your kids can be a difficult task. Fortunately, Connecticut has many options with a wide range of topics and activities to satisfy your family.

Children’s Museum – West Hartford

The Children’s Museum in West Hartford has plenty of hands-on activities involving science and nature. They teach children to embrace creative thinking and lifelong learning. Some of their must-see exhibits include Turtle Town, the Pendulum Staircase, Critter Crossing and Imagination Playground. For an additional fee, visitors can take in a show at the planetarium.

After exploring the museum, be sure to visit the Conny the Whale, a 60-foot replica sperm whale who sits outside the museum.

Peabody Museum of Natural History – New Haven

Situated on the campus of Yale University, the Peabody is home to ten scientific collections that tell the story of the Earth, its life, history, and cultures. This is one of the oldest natural history museums in the world. The most well-known exhibit is the Great Hall of Dinosaurs, which includes a juvenile Brontosaurus. Other popular areas include Egyptian artifacts, wildlife dioramas, and the 110-foot long “Age of Reptiles” mural.

Bonus: On Thursday afternoons from 2–5 pm in September to June, admission is free! (Donations are encouraged.)

Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut – Niantic

The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut is an interactive and educational institution. They encourage learning and sparking the imagination. They have a wide range of activities to engage children from infant to preteen. Their permanent exhibits include the Imagination and Discovery rooms, and an amazing outdoor playscape that features a climbing wall, zipline, and treehouse. There’s also a toddler area for younger explorers.

Kidcity Children’s Museum – Middletown

Kidcity is designed for the youngest members of your family (ages 1-7). With three floors of imagination play, kids can explore creatively with their favorite grown-ups. Their one-of-a-kind exhibits were crafted by in-house artists who love inspiring play.

Haul in the daily catch at the Fishery, or take a road trip with friendly aliens at Space Age Roadtrip. Toddlers will love the Sea Caves, which are geared toward their little bodies. Visit Main Street and the Farm for classic play scenarios. Visit on a beautiful day, and you might find you have the place to yourselves!

Connecticut River Museum – Essex

Discover the natural beauty of Connecticut at this waterfront museum located in picturesque Essex. Learn about the importance our state’s waterways played in our past. “On The Great River” spotlights the history of the Connecticut River from Native American communities through the early nineteenth century. The Vertical Gallery boasts a unique vertical mural of the river that stretches the stairwells of the museum’s three floors.

Visitors can take an afternoon cruise aboard the Onrust, or rent a canoe or kayak to get out on the river.

Be sure to look for other museums across the state to enjoy a summer adventure with your family!

Remember to download the PDF to make your own Summer Bucket List!