I have been hearing about Kidcity in Middletown for a while now. Everyone kept saying how it was one of the best children’s museums in the area, and it was a must-visit for my 2 year old.
For some reason though, the towns south of Hartford intimidate me. I don’t know them that well, I don’t visit them often and honestly, I feel like I always struggle with driving around them and finding parking. It is quite a drive to go to that area (from Enfield), and I’m worried that once I arrive, I’ll never find a parking spot and have wasted my time. It’s silly, especially considering the fact that I worked in Hartford for like 8 years. But I think it has to do with an experience I had quite a few years back when I was in Bristol; I drove all the way to a place down there, couldn’t find a parking spot, and turned around to go back home- an hour and a half wasted.
So despite hearing how awesome Kidcity was, I was constantly putting it on the back burner.
This week though, I finally conquered my fear. And realized my anxiety over parking was, like I said, pretty silly.
Kidcity is located in Middletown, right off Route 9. My GPS directions were pretty straightforward, and minus a few weirdly placed red lights coming off the exit, I found the place rather easily.
As you can see from my photo above, the front of the museum faces Washington Street, and huge red block letters spell out KIDCITY. You really cannot miss it.
Right behind the building is a public parking lot, and the entrance to it is right next to the Kidcity building (if you are coming from Rte. 9, the entrance is on the left immediately after Kidcity; if you are coming the other direction, the entrance would be on your right just before Kidcity).
We visited on a weekday, a Wednesday in fact. I was not sure how the parking lot would look on a weekday but I was surprised that when I pulled in, I found a spot right away. The parking lot is for public use, and many people visiting Kidcity use that lot, as well as people going to the Russell Library.
Parking is NOT FREE . It costs $1 per hour (which is actually really cheap). The meters take coins or credit card (no dollar bills). If you visit the museum on a Sunday, it is free to park in the lot. But I have heard that the lots are pretty busy on weekends. On the Kidcity website, they offer additional tips about parking if that lot is full.
I have serious issues with parking meters. Of course, the one I parked at was all fogged up from the rain. I think I put 2 hours on it… but who knows. I just know that when I got back to my car there was not a parking ticket on it, so I must have done something right!
The parking lot is connected to the rear of the museum, which is actually where you’ll find the entrance to the museum.
The main entrance to the museum is by stairs. However, there are signs that help direct you towards a ramp if needed. If you are coming to Kidcity with a stroller, this is very important to know: STROLLERS ARE NOT ALLOWED PAST THE COATROOM. In fact, they really ask that you leave them in the car if possible (since it can get crowded in the coatroom). If you have a little one, you’ll want to baby-wear. And if you have a crazy runner like I do, you’ll want to wear your sneakers.
When you enter the museum, you’ll see the admissions desk to your right. Adults and children are $10 per person. Babies under 1 year are free. There are also other ways to save, including the Museums for All program (more information can be found here), Kidcity memberships and Library Museum Passes (please note though that most museums up here in the northern part of the state don’t offer this museum pass- however, some museums near Middletown do carry this pass and will allow residents from other town’s to use their passes with a valid library card). Kidcity accepts cash, checks, Visa and Mastercard.
Before you leave the front desk, please do not make the same mistake I made. Grab a map!!
Before you go too far and head into the museum, you’ll want to hang up your coats (if you visit during the colder seasons). The coatroom is just to the right of the front door.
Down that same hallway, you will find a small area with seating, a sink and water fountains. This is for guests to enjoy their own snacks and drinks. The museum does not sell food, but you are welcome to bring in your own and eat it in this area. Food and drinks are not allowed inside the museum.
You’ll also find the gift shop near the coat room as well.
Once we paid our admission and dropped off our coats, we headed in!
Our first stop was the Space Age Roadtrip room. This room had some need things going with a rocket, a spaceship, an old fashioned diner, a big station wagon and lots of other cool things to check out and play with.
We went inside the rocket and had to “repair” it. He loved this since the pegs would light up when you inserted them into the little holes.
At the back of the station wagon, they had these tubes with water, and when you pulled or pushed on the levers, it made bubbles inside!
We found a few areas that had those wind tunnels where you drop a ball in and it sucks it through the tubes. Those entertained him for awhile!
It took some time to draw him away from the mouse tail and the piggies, but we had a lot more to check out!
We headed out the hallway and we spotted this funky machine, which as I learned from the map was Dr. Nostrum’s Celebrated Bathing Fluid Dispensary… it was a sink!
We headed further into the museum, and found our way to the room known as Main Street. When you first enter, you spot this little VW bug, which was super cute and yellow!
On the opposite side of the room is an old-fashioned diner complete with a table setup and a stove. He was quick to get busy making us some grilled cheese sandwiches!
Now, unfortunately, this is where I learned my lesson the hard way. This is why I should have grabbed a map. Because in the room next door, we found this:
Yes, that’s right. A train table. I knew I was done for and the rest of the museum would remain unexplored. We stayed here for the first round of train table fun for almost 20 minutes. He had a grand old time, and basically made himself comfortable!
I did take the time to explore the room, and I even coaxed him out of the train table to try a few things, including the market set up (which included a conveyor belt that actually turned by wheel, and a cash register). The room also had a bagel stand and a post office. One of things I noticed in this room, and something I noticed throughout most of the museum is that most rooms are accessible by only ONE entrance. There is only one way in and one way out of Main Street, as well as almost all of the other rooms. This is great when you have a couple children with you or you have a crazy madman like me, who tends to dart off. They cannot get away easily when there is only one way in or out!
While he was playing with the trains, I also found this little room off to the side. This is a quiet spot which Kidcity provides for mothers who need to breastfeed or take a breather with their kids for some quiet time. Kidcity is really great about nursing moms and actually encourages moms to be comfortable wherever they choose, but if you are looking for a quiet, less distracting area for the baby to nurse, this is a great option. You can also find a second Quiet Spot upstairs in Middleshire.
I was a terrible mother and finally dragged my child away from his beloved trains so we could see more of the museum. I was happy to return to the trains after we explored some more- but for now, we needed to venture into other things in life! We continued exploring the first floor and headed into the Fishery and the Clipper Ship room. A lot of the kids in the room were having fun with an activity involving plastic fish, where they put fish on a conveyor of sorts and loaded them in baskets.
Unfortunately, my child was not really into this room but I think he was still pretty sad about leaving his choo choo trains. He finally got excited when he got to spin the ship’s wheel!
I found a different hallway to head towards the upper level, and also avoid going by the choo choo trains. On our way, we made a quick pass by a room called the Farm but he was so excited to head upstairs, we did not get a chance to really check it out. In fact, I didn’t even take pictures until we finally were ready to leave the museum.
He seemed to be past the whole train thing and was ready to go upstairs! They have a huge stairwell in the middle of the museum, right near the admissions desk. The stairs are pretty tall, but he did great going up them!
When we first got upstairs, I turned to my right and encountered this incredible sight!
This is Middleshire. It is apparently a new addition to the museum, and it is rather awesome! It is basically a medieval castle for kids! There are tons of staircases and paths to follow. There are different activities including bricks to build a castle, a target practice game, a spiral staircase, a pub and a bread oven. We had a good time finding our way through the maze-like paths, and going up and down the staircases.
What he really enjoyed about this room was the farm! He was having a great time picking carrots, replanting them, carrying them around and dropping them into the different bins and baskets. I also thought the cornstalks, with pickable corn, was pretty awesome!
He had to get right in the “dirt” and pick every single carrot!
We spend a long time in Middleshire, but finally decided to explore the rest of the second floor! We passed a party room on our journey. More information on parties at Kidcity can be found on their website. There was also another room that was currently closed in that area. It is listed on the map as the Floor Play room.
We finally found ourselves in Musical Planet which had several different areas designed after areas around the world.
There was a ropebridge in Indonesia:
A hut and wall-o-phone in West Africa:
And his favorite, the slide in Switzerland!
By this point, the poor child was crying again for his choo-choo trains. We made a quick escape from the second floor by way of a staircase on the other side of Musical Planet. Unfortunately, because we went this way, I totally missed the room called The Lakehouse.
But I decided to be nice and give my child what he really want, and that was more time with his trains. And he was so happy! We stayed at the train table for another 20 or so minutes, and heck, I decided to get in on the fun! Getting in seemed like a great idea until I had to get out of there…
We finally had to start thinking about leaving, it was almost 1 p.m. which meant someone had to eat and take a nap. He was NOT happy with me when we left the trains again. We made a quick pit stop in the restroom, and I actually had to include these photos since throughout the whole museum they have great family restrooms with toilets that have large and small seats, a toddler toilet in one restroom, step-stools at the sink, changing tables, and hard to reach door locks (which is great when you have a child like mine who loves to open the door while mommy does her business).
They also had these plastic bins labeled: Parent Emergency Kits which included diapers, wipes, extra pairs of pants in various sizes (in case your child has an accident) and plastic bags for wet/soiled clothes. How incredible is this idea!! I loved this!
We headed towards the front door, and I finally grabbed the much needed map. He also got a special goodbye stamp for his hand, and we watched the train go by a few times. There were still many tears when we walked out the door, but by the time we settled into the car and he got a banana, things started looking up!
There were a few things we did miss out since I was without a map and he was also very obsessed with the train table. We also did not get to explore the bottom floor of the museum, which is home to the Toddler Sea Caves. That room is actually only for children 2 and under: crawlers and early walkers. As a result, we did not even bother heading down there even just to look because that would have been cruel to my boy. I have heard it’s pretty phenomenal and the little kids love it! They do offer Big Swim Days which allows older siblings to enjoy the caves with their little siblings; these are held once a month.
We had a really great time at this museum and I am glad I finally decided to make the trip to Middletown. I will definitely be going back, and I actually hope to spend more time there, as well as exploring a few other things in the area, including the Russell Library and Amato’s Toy & Hobby!
This about sums it up…
119 Washington Street – Middletown, Connecticut
Sunday – Tuesday: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Wednesday – Saturday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Adults & Children: $10
Under 1 is Free
If you live in the Middletown area, make sure to check with your local library for a museum pass to Kid City!
- Not stroller accessible!
- Please bring at least 1 adult for every 4 children
- Many stairs- to second floor exhibits and to the basement exhibit
- Basement floor exhibit, Toddler Sea Caves, is only for children ages 2 and under
- Kidcity is for kids age 1-7; most visitors are age 5 and younger
- Parking is $1 per hour, per the Town of Middletown
- Bathrooms & changing tables
- No food for sale- snacks and drinks are only allowed in the snack area located by the front entrance
- Cash, check, Visa and Mastercard accepted