Connecticut is a small state, geographically speaking, but there is so much to do in it. From playgrounds to indoor parks, from aquariums to children’s museum, there is a lot of fun for a little one packed inside the border of this little state.
And the biggest perk about being a small state? Everything is just an hour or two drive away (maybe two and a half if you go corner to corner)! So, basically everything in this state is easily available to you no matter where you live.
So when I told my husband I bought a Groupon for a children’s museum in Torrington, he gave me that look like, You want to drive to where? I just smiled and said, it’s like an hour from here! It’s an easy half day trip!
And so on a rainy Friday last week, that’s where we headed, to Torrington so we could check out KidsPlay Children’s Museum!
Torrington is in Litchfield County, and we ended up driving mostly the back roads through Granby, Barkhamsted and Winsted. It took us just under an hour to reach the museum, and that included driving through an unexpected wintry mix as we went further into the hills!
It was a really beautiful drive, especially when we discovered the Saville Dam in Barkhamsted! I put that on my list to visit again during the warmer months!
KidsPlay is located on Main Street, right across from the Warner Theater.
You have two options for parking. They have a lot behind the museum, which is accessible from Water Street. There is limited parking back there, and when we arrived just around 11 a.m., it was full. So, we had to go with option two: street parking. Fortunately we found a spot right in front, and paid $3 for the maximum of three hours. We figured that would be more than enough time in the museum! And it did end up being enough, barely.
If you park in the front, you’ll enter through the main doors, where you’ll find a small lobby with a coat rack and a few chairs. We left our coats there, along with our umbrella.
If you enter through the back door, you’ll actually have to take a set of stairs down to the main floor. From there, you’ll have to head to the front of the museum to check in. If you are travelling with a stroller, the back entrance will not work. So you’ll either want to walk around to the front door, or park in front. The museum is stroller friendly, but it is rather small so honestly, a stroller isn’t necessary. If you can skip it, I would.
At the front desk, you’ll pay for admission and check in. They also have an area behind the front desk where you can safely park your bags if you brought one in. I traveled with the diaper bag, so I did end up storing it up front.
I had actually visited this museum last year with my son and niece during her February vacation. I found a library museum pass at the Simsbury Library that granted us free admission to KidsPlay. Our home library did not offer this pass; but since Enfield is part of the Connecticut Library system, we were able to borrow the pass from Simsbury. This time, I had a Groupon for my son and I, and then we paid for my husband’s admission. Normal admission is $6 per person (children under 12 months are free), which is super reasonable for a children’s museum! They accept credit cards and cash.
KidsPlay says on their website they are best for ages 1-10. My son is almost three and he definitely had an awesome time! He was into everything and anything, exploring every spot in the museum. Some things definitely grabbed his attention more than others but overall, he was a great age for this museum. We saw younger kids and older kids having just as much fun.
The museum grabs your attention right away with the huge contraption in the front: a Ball Maze and Scarf Thrower. We spent a lot of time parked in front of this. He loved putting the balls in the tubes and watching them go up and around all the bends!
Right next to the ball tubes is a Race Car and Pit Stop. There is a gas pump where you can fill up, as well as tires you can change and rotate! He had a great time changing the tires!
Across from the Car Wash, you’ll find the fire truck! Surprisingly, we had to coax him into getting into this thing! He just was not interested… And then once he was in, he refused to get out!
One of his favorite spots was the awesome Bubbler! He had a great time in this, but he was more interested in eating the soap and popping the bubble with his tongue. Yuck! This exhibit requires an adult to pull the bubble wand up, so make sure you stick around while they play with this one!
The Lego Water Table is a great exhibit, but can result in a wet child! They provide smocks but if your child is as quick as mine, you may not get that on in time. We had some wet sleeves due to this exhibit! He was more into the water than the Legos!
The highlight of the day for my child was the train! He had fun sitting in the caboose, and then he discovered the bell up near the front of the train. We were doomed at that point. He spent the majority of our time in the train. Every time we encouraged him to try another exhibit, he would run back to the train. We never had to worry about losing him because he was always in the engine ringing the bell!
There is a stage right across from the train, and on that you’ll find costumes and accessories for dress up and acting. He’s not really into the pretend play/acting yet so we didn’t even venture into this area. Surrounding the stage is also some seating where many of the parents and grandparents park themselves, the strollers and their bags. It’s a good place to rest!
Rounding out the main room (yes, we are still just in the main room right near the entrance!), they have a huge Connect 4 Game and a two way mirror. I challenged my husband to a game of Connect 4… and I won.
Heading out of the main area, you’ll find yourself in an area with some smaller exhibits, including a giant lite brite table, a magnet table and a few other fun activities! He was only really interested in the lite brite table, and since the train was right across the way, we spent little time at this activities.
In this same area, you’ll also find the restroom. The bathroom is a single stall, but it has a separate room with a changing table.
Across from the bathroom, you’ll find the large party/multi-purpose room. The room can be used for events; more information about renting it can be found here. They also hold daily activities in the room. In fact, as we were getting ready to leave, they were prepping the room for a special activity. It can also be used for lunch if you choose to bring in something. When we visited with my niece last year, we actually sat in the room and had our sandwiches, along with a couple other families. Additionally, they have a few fun things to play with in the room including a Kinetic Sand Table!
One thing about this museum that I love is the size. It is not a huge space. But they pack a lot into it and really utilize every square inch. Because the museum is basically one long room, it’s really easy to keep track of your children. No one is getting lost in this place! Basically, everything I have talked about so far covers just the front half of the museum, there is so much more to do in the remaining half!
My favorite exhibit in this museum is the grocery store. It is the most impressive little mini grocery store you’ll ever see. They stock their shelves and fridge with real looking food, there are produce stands with a scale to weigh your goods, there is a check out counter with a bagging area and a cash register. And best of all, there are mini grocery carts. It is the cutest thing ever. If we could have, I would have played in this market with him all day. It is the one kind of grocery shopping I don’t mind!
Doesn’t this remind you of that old television show, Supermarket Sweep?
Around the corner from the grocery store, they have a small pretend garden where you can pick and grow your own vegetables!
The Diner is another fun area, and they are really spot on with the details in here too. There are aprons for the chefs, a counter for diners to sit at while they wait for their food, a full kitchen with a sink, fridge, stovetops and plenty of pots and pans, as well as pretend food. This can keep any child busy for a very long time!!
A few smaller exhibits are located just outside the diner, including an infinity mirror, a magneto table and a big drum.
There is also a big bank vault, under construction and hopefully soon to be opened!
Down a small corridor from the diner, I spotted a nursing lounge. So if you are there with a little one who needs to nurse, you can find some quiet space in this room!
The newest exhibit (it was actually under construction when we visited last year) is the Literacy Tree House. This is an amazing exhibit!
There are so many hiding spots and quiet nooks for playing and reading.
There is a draw bridge that this guy loved walking back and forth across.
This was an amazing climbing rope course! He did not venture into it though. Maybe next year!
We had a really great visit at the KidsPlay Children’s Museum. We planned to stay maybe an hour or two, but we were pushing on the three hour mark when we finally left! It is so easy to lose track of the time while you are in here! For a small space, they pack in the fun! If not for his nap, we may have stayed all day!
I love this little museum, it probably is one of my favorite ones to go to (it’s the grocery store, I love it!). Right now for my boy, this is a great play area because it offers a lot to do without being overwhelming. We must like it a lot since we went back again! If it was only closer, we would visit all the time!
If you are up for the drive, and enjoy taking a little day trip, this is a great option for a children’s museum! Local parents are lucky to have this available to them, but we can still enjoy it (albeit not as often) even though we have to take a little drive!
This about sums it up…
61 Main Street -Torrington CT
Wednesday through Sunday: 10am to 4pm
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Adults & Children: $6
Under 1 is Free
If you live in the Torrington area, make sure to check with your local library for a museum pass to KidsPlay!
- Stroller accessible- but make sure to enter through the front door if you travel with one. The museum is small enough to leave the stroller in the car.
- KidsPlay is perfect for children ages 1 to 10
- Parking is available for free in a lot behind the museum, however spaces are limited. If you park on the street, parking is $1 per hour, per the Town of Torrington (max time is 3 hours)
- Museum play area is contained to one floor
- Bathroom & changing table available
- Nursing lounge available
- Party Room available for rent
- No food for sale
- Cash, Visa, Mastercard and American Express accepted