Winter is full of unpredictable weather and it’s important to have an arsenal of indoor play ideas up your sleeve when needed. I’ve rounded up a list of our favorite play places, children’s museums, libraries and other indoor activities!! Check them out and make sure you bookmark this page for snow days!
This Connecticut Mom’s Guide to Indoor Fun!
Grab a book or stay for a storytime!
READ OUR REVIEW! I’m partial to my hometown library. They offer great events every week including Monday morning rhyme time for children ages 0 to 2. You can also register for one of their popular toddler/preschool storytimes (registration usually runs every other month during the school year- you’ll want to check out their calendar online or follow them on Facebook). There are usually many drop-in events during the month including PJ storytime, Lego Builder’s Club and more. They have a great little play area for the kids and if the weather allows it, you’ll want to make sure to check out the wonderful playground in the back of the library!
READ OUR REVIEW! We’ve visited a lot of libraries at This Connecticut Mom. And we absolutely love the Avon Free Public Library. Their children’s department is out of this world! They have one of the most elaborate play areas including train tables, pretend play areas (play house, puppet theater) and more! They also host Open Art Studio time on Wednesdays (check their calendar to confirm); and also offer story times but most require registration. Definitely a library that’s worth the road trip if you are not in town!
READ OUR REVIEW! Recently we added this library to our list of favorites and for good reason! The Noah Webster Library in Blue Back Square is beautiful. The Children’s Library takes up an entire floor and includes rooms for tweens, babies and preschoolers. The Preschool room is amazing with pretend play, train tables, dollhouses, blocks and a beautiful puppet stage. They also have plenty of quiet spaces for reading, relaxing and getting homework done. They offer a wide variety of story times (drop in and sign up). This is a must-see library!
We’ve checked out tons of other libraries.
Here is our recap of several in the North Central Connecticut area including the Windsor Public Library, Simsbury Public Library, Booth & Dimock Library in Coventry and more!
You can also find reviews on Warehouse Point Library in East Windsor, Broad Brook Library, South Windsor Public Library, Wood Library & Museum in South Windsor and the Hall Memorial Library in Ellington in our 2018 East Windsor’s 250th Anniversary Love Your Library Scavenger Hunt Post.
Additionally, during the 2018 Passport to Connecticut Libraries, we updated a few reviews and added some libraries to our list. Check out our REVIEW on Prosser Public Library in Bloomfield, East Granby Public Library, East Hartford Public Library, Rockville Public Library, Windsor Public Library and Windsor Locks Public Library.
Come explore and learn!
READ OUR REVIEW! The Connecticut Science Center is located in Hartford and is a great place to spend the day! And you can easily stay there all day! From water play to science discoveries, engineering demos to space travel, this museum is great for kids of all ages.
READ OUR REVIEW! KidsPlay is a great museum for children 1 to 10. You can pretend play in the grocery store or diner, make giant bubbles, build legos in the water, watch scarves fly from the wind tubes or put on a play on their huge stage. They recently opened up a whole new area so you’ll want to check it out (our review was done before the new area opened so expect things to look a little different)!
READ OUR REVIEW! Kidcity is located in downtown Middletown and is a hidden surprise tucked inside a couple older buildings. From the outside, you would never realize how much fun is waiting for you inside! They have a great area dedicated solely to babies and crawlers; and upstairs they have so much for the older kids including a HUGE medieval castle, an elaborate train table, pirate ship, farm area and more!
READ OUR REVIEW! Located on the edge of Manchester (right by I-384), Lutz offers a great museum for the kids including animal exhibits, a whole pretend play area with a house, post office, school, farm, trolley and more! They also offer drop in classes that are included with museum admission. Make sure you check out that schedule before heading over!
READ OUR REVIEW! Stop by and visit the famous Connie the Whale at the Children’s Museum in West Hartford! Inside you’ll find plenty of ways to learn and explore, animal exhibits, and a dedicated room for babies and toddlers! You can even catch a show in the planetarium! They offer regular programs as well so make sure to check out their calendar of events.
READ OUR REVIEW! Located over the border in Massachusetts, Amelia Park is a smaller museum but it’s packed full of excitement and fun! They have a great replica of Big Y for pretend shopping, a cow that you can milk, a doctor and dentist office and a big spaceship! This is a great museum for the younger child since it is not too overwhelming but is plenty of fun!
READ OUR REVIEW! Do you love the Hungry Caterpillar? Beloved author Eric Carle is recognized at this wonderful museum of picture book art in Amherst. There is a great library with tons of children’s book. You can also explore the gallery, catch a movie and create something spectacular in the art studio! Check their calendar for story times and other special events!
READ OUR REVIEW! This great children’s museum is located just up in Massachusetts (about 20 minutes from the border). The museum has a huge two story climber; one of the most impressive water tables I’ve ever seen; a whole room devoted to STEM activities; a bubble table; scarf tubes and so much more! Also on site is the Holyoke Merry-Go- Round offering $2 rides!
READ OUR REVIEW! This is incredible children’s museum with two full floors of exploration and imagination. Imagine Nation is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, which is an educational philosophy focused on progressive and cooperative early childhood education. You’ll see it throughout their exhibits just how much they try to encourage and bring out a child’s natural curiosity. Some of our favorite exhibits included the water room, the Art Studio and their new Science and Energy Lab.
Shake those sillies out!!
READ OUR REVIEW! This new addition to the Enfield Square Mall has been met with arms wide open from moms and dads all over town! What a great option for burning off some energy at an indoor location. There are two bounce houses, miniature golf, video games, arts and crafts, Legos, small toys and large toys, slides and playhouses and tons more to do!
READ OUR REVIEW! Stop by PlayStrong during one of their open play sessions held on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Admission prices included a full two hours of play in their huge room full of ball pits, a bounce house, gymnastic equipment, climbing structures, soft toys and more. This is for little ones that are crawling up to age 4.
READ OUR REVIEW! What is better than a delicious chicken sandwich for lunch? A delicious chicken sandwich AND a place for your child to shake off their unlimited silliness! We love the indoor play at Chick-fil-A in Enfield! It’s a small area but it is the perfect place for a little one to run around while you wait for your food; or to play after they eat their meal, and you can hang out at your table sipping your unlimited refills of sweet tea. And with the glass wall separating the dining room from the play area, you can keep your eye on them without being trapped in a play room with screaming kids! It’s a win for all!
READ OUR REVIEW! Held four times a week, this one hour open play session is for children up to age 6. It offers them a chance to check out the gymnastic equipment at their own pace. Everything is available for use including trampolines, balance beams, parallel bars, and the very awesome foam block pit!! Trust me, you’ll want to jump in it yourself!
READ OUR REVIEW! Located in the Holyoke Mall, this amazing play center has it all! You’ll want to plan for a whole day visiting this place! And with their wristbands, you can come and go as you please. But you can stay and play in their obstacle course all day, slide the rainbow slide, bounce on a trampoline, play videogames, shoot balls in the ball room, play basketball, and even have lunch. They also offer a smaller play area for little ones! This is a great spot for a rainy day and it’s guaranteed to wear out ANY child!
READ OUR REVIEW! All the fun of outdoor playhouses brought indoors! You’ll find a bounce houses, several playscapes, play houses and kitchens, a huge wooden boat and a castle available at Timber Gyms. And the best part? They allow for unlimited play during their open hours for only $7 per child!
Aquariums & Zoos
Monkey around with some indoor animal displays!
READ OUR REVIEW! The Maritime Aquarium is almost entirely indoors so this is a great place to head when rainy or cold weather strikes. From their fun seal exhibit to the colorful underwater tanks with sharks and fish, to the meerkats and touch a tanks, this will be a great way to spend the morning or afternoon. They have shows throughout the day as well as an an IMAX theater on site. You can also grab lunch while visiting. It’s a great aquarium!
READ OUR REVIEW! While some of the aquarium is outdoors, you can still explore enjoy Mystic during rainy or cold weather. They have a huge indoor exhibit with touch-tanks, fish, sharks, seals, jellyfish and more. The stingray touch tank is also covered as is part of the beluga exhibit. With an umbrella, you can still check out the seals and penguins. They also have indoor shows with the seals and sea lions, as well as shows in the 4D Theater and the Blue Theater. Stay for the morning or all day, they have lunch too. Or you can pop in and out throughout the day, while checking out the shops next door.
READ OUR REVIEW! Even if it’s cold or rainy outside, you can escape to this little piece of paradise! Inside the Butterfly conservatory, you’ll feel like you are in the Tropics with warm temps and butterflies flying over your head and maybe even landing on you! Magic Wings is also home to frogs, lizards, birds, tortoises, and so many more tropical animals. Spend as long as you want in the conservatory, but if you get to hot, you can head into the gift shop or down to the cafe for a snack. Afterwards, you can head down the street to Yankee Candle or Richardson’s Candy Kitchen!
Bounce Houses & Trampoline Parks
Bounce your heart out!
READ OUR REVIEW! Trampoline Parks are a big thing right now and this one located in Hartford is rather impressive! The warehouse sized park is packed with trampolines for free jump, a foam block pit, dodgeball courts, basketball trampolines, a small area for little ones and an arcade. They offer open jump times throughout the week; and a special toddler only child time on Fridays.
READ OUR REVIEW! Nothing makes a child happier than a bounce house. So a huge room with six of them? That is just overwhelmingly awesome! Bounce Town offers open play during the weekdays in the morning and afternoons (check their schedule for exact times). They have several inflatable slides as well as two obstacle courses and your standard bounce houses. Parents are welcome to jump with their children and it’s a fun time for everyone!
READ OUR REVIEW! This indoor play park is full of bounce houses including two big inflatable slides. But it also houses an awesome American Ninja style obstacle course and a foam block pit. They offer open play on Thursday and Fridays; and on weekends as the schedule permits.
READ OUR REVIEW! Another great option for bouncing out the sillies can be found in Vernon at Jumpin Jonnies. Open play is offered every day during the weekdays (and occasionally on weekends). Your admission fee pays for unlimited bounce time for your child (parents are free with a paid child)! There are obstacle courses, slides and huge bounce houses all available for use; as well as a small child play area with toy and train tracks and an arcade.
Go for a roll!
READ OUR REVIEW! Roller Skating is a great activity that I have loved since my childhood; and before that my mom loved it in her younger years. It’s something I hope my child will grow to love too. I love that Ron-A-Roll is local and offers great activities for kids and adults of all ages. One of our favorite outings of all time is Tiny Tot Skate and Bounce on Thursday mornings. This two hour session includes skate rentals for your child, a bounce house, tons of toys to play with and a snack. They also offer open skate sessions including Cheap Skate on Thursday nights with all you can eat pizza; as well as skating lessons.
Arts & Crafts
READ OUR REVIEW! Michael’s Craft Stores offer great craft activities and classes for children of all ages. These are simple crafts that any kid can do! Every Saturday, most stores offer a Kids’ Club Workshop that can cost as low as $3. During the summer and school vacation, they also offer Make Break crafts and weekday classes. Check out your local stores calendar for a complete schedule!
This Connecticut Mom is excited for another year of exploring indoor play, libraries, children’s museums and more throughout Connecticut! Do you have a favorite place that we should check out? Let us know in the comments!