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FREE Indoor Playgrounds

Buckland Hill Mall, Manchester:

Located in the back of the food court, there are a handful of slides and toddler sized climbing characters in an adorable carpeted area. Kids will also love walking the halls, riding the escalators and elevators.

Play Area at the Danbury Fair Mall:

It’s moved! Located downstairs near Ulta Beauty, in an alcove.

Play Area at Meriden Mall:

Located on the upper level, close to Best Buy. Features a Play Space with bright characters and puzzles.

FREE Library Play Areas

We’re of the opinion that all libraries are amazing ways to escape on a cold day. Here are just a handful of ones with large areas to play, but really, any library will have TONS of fun for kids.

Avon Free Public Library

Still not sure if this is more “Library” or “Children’s Museum,” but they have TONS 0f areas for kids to play pretend, including a house, trees, and a boat to fish. My kids can spend hours playing here.

Wallingford Public Library:

Another great spot with TONS of things for kids to do, including a creation center with toys, games, and activities! The children’s area has tons of places to play and explore too.

Farmington Library

Adorable Displays, things to play with, and fantastic children’s programs make this a fun place to spend an afternoon- or a day!

Noah Webster Library, West Hartford:

Puppet shows, tons of children’s play equipment, and a dedicated area just for babies means that there is something for all ages.

Cragin Memorial Library, Colchester

Toys, book kits- and tons of children’s programming! The big hit for our kids is the sensory table, which is available on Fridays.

Berlin Peck Memorial Library:

Tons of stations for dramatic play- food truck station, doctor station, vet station, play kitchen, grocery store, etc. Check out materials for each station at the desk to play!

Other Super Fun Libraries:

FREE Nature Centers and Museums

Meig’s Point, Hammonasset Beach State Park:

Meig’s Point is one of our favorites, and not just because it is FREE for ALL CT Residents! The museum features touch tanks, CT Coastline exhibits, and an events calendar that is full of incredible family programs.

Eli Whitney Museum:

The Eli Whitney Museum focuses on innovation and invention. There are many kid’s activities, some for an additional fee. Access to the museum itself is free of charge.

Ansonia Nature Center:

156 mile of hiking trails, a fun playground, and tons of animals make this a fun family stop!

The Ansonia Nature & Recreation Visitor Center houses several exhibits, and provides space for our animal ambassadors. The unique visitor center, also known as the Schumacher Pavilion, was constructed in 1977 from Connecticut stone and glass and is also the hub of the park with classrooms, a nature store, a small natural history library, and office space.

Northwest Park Nature Center:

This is another family favorite with hiking trails, playground, animals and a huge nature center- all available free of charge. Plus, they offer some fabulous events – like their annual county fair!

Dinosaur State Park – Must bring free library pass

Travel back in time to the era of the dinosaurs. This is one another kid favorite- it features so many amazing activities, like this interactive sand table.
Note that free access requires visiting your local library and checking out a free CT Parks Pass. All libraries have this as it is issued by the state as part of the No Child Left Inside Program. If you do not bring the pass, you will need to pay an admission fee.

Yale University Art Gallery

An incredible collection of fine art, totally free!

Benton Museum, UCONN

Another art museum featuring some gorgeous artwork, plus a cafe and a decent souvenir shop with unique gifts.

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