From the historic Florence Griswold Museum to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Connecticut doesn’t lack a shortage of museums to visit. Whether you are looking for something educational to do with your kids or just want to escape the heat while enjoying a piece by Monet, we’ve uncovered the best museums to check out over the summer.
Florence Griswold Museum
96 Lyme Street
Old Lyme, CT 06371
$9 Adults, $8 Seniors, $7 Students, Free to visitors 12 and under
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 5; Sunday 1 – 5
This historical art museum in Old Lyme used to be a boarding house where impressionist artists lived and painted on the walls. Now, celebrating its 75th year, the Florence Griswold Museum is a Connecticut art landmark. Come check out the “American Landscapes: Treasures from the Parrish Art Museum” exhibit running from July 1 to September 18, take your little brother or sister to “Make A Painting Sundays” or take a break between galleries by grabbing a sandwich and lemonade at Café Flo. Highlights of the museum include the Krieble Gallery, the restored gardens and the studio of American artist William Chadwick.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
Senior citizens: $14, Adults (17-64): $16, Children (6-16): $10, Under 6: Free
Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (last tour leaves at 4:30 p.m.)
Sundays: 12 noon to 5:30pm (last tour leaves at 4:30 p.m.)
If you loved reading Huckleberry Finn in high school, you’ll love the Mark Twain Museum Center. Equipped with two classrooms and a 178-seat auditorium, the museum “offers guests an opportunity to learn more about Mark Twain, his family, the historic house, and the author’s legacy.” Debuting in 2003, the museum holds the Aetna Gallery, which keeps an exhibition of Twain’s life in addition to a rotating exhibition hall and The Hartford Financial Services Theater that shows a documentary on Twain by Ken Burns. Stop by the Mark Twain Store on your way out to by a pack of Mark Twain playing cards or a logo whiskey glass, and be sure to check out the Norman Rockwell and Twain collaboration exhibit as well.
Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut
409 Main Street
Niantic, CT 06357
Located in the charming downtown Niantic, the Children’s Museum is the ideal place to take the kids on a rainy summer day. The museum will keep little hands busy playing with beach gear at The Seaside Village exhibit or exploring the sciences and the senses in the Discovery Room. Kids will have fun finding clues and solving puzzles on the one of the five scavenger hunts available. Educational and interactive, children will love letting their imaginations run wild whether it’s catching a “fish” at the Fish Market or climbing the outdoor tree house.
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
625 Williams Street
New London, Connecticut, 06320
Adults: $8 Seniors & Students: $7, Children under 12: Free. Members always free to visit
New London residents always free with ID
Tuesday – Saturday 10-5 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Closed Mondays & major holidays
If you’re the next Picasso looking for some inspiration, your first stop should be at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Housing more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints, this museum is Connecticut’s mini-version of the Met. From lectures to children’s activities, anyone can find appreciation in the beautiful Neo-Classical building of this seaport city. Fans of the renowned David LaChappelle can see his work in the “Face Off: Portraits by Contemporary Artists” exhibit or if you’re visiting with little ones, you can bring the kids to see a screening of Toy Story 3, inspired by “Face Off.” The best part? The museum is free to New London residents.
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
170 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520
$9.00 Adults, $8.00 Senior citizens 65 years and over, $5.00 Children ages 3 through 18, College students with ID, $4.00 Group admission*
Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Dinosaurs and snakes and bedbugs—oh my! This summer, step back into history at the Yale Peabody Museum of National History, where the collections of anthropology, art, biology, geology and paleontology are limitless. Take a trip through Connecticut wildlife and ecology or learn about ancient Egypt through one of the expertly guided tours at the Peabody. If you’re feeling brave, check out the “Invasion of the Bloodsuckers: Bedbugs and Beyond” exhibit, where families with those of all ages are invited to view parasites and insects up close and personal (the squeamish should be warned). From second-graders to seniors, the Peabody is a summer field trip worth taking.