Woodlawn Duckpin Bowling
240 Platt Ave.
Woodlawn, CT 06516
Kids and bowling go together, especially at Woodlawn Duckpin Bowling, where the pins are small and the balls are little and (comparatively) light. Home of the “Glow-in-the-Dark Birthday Parties,” Woodlawn also goes one step beyond the traditional dingy old-fashioned bowling alley with its special lighting and light show options. Woodlawn is not only suitable for children, but is designed for them – and welcomes bowlers as young as four years of age. Patrons are welcome to wear their own bowling shoes and bring their own duckpin balls, or rent shoes on the spot. There is, of course, the requisite snack bar. Bob Nugent, who spent many a day on the lanes growing up, bought the place on its 50th anniversary in 2004, and has restored, renovated, upgraded and modernized the facility (one of the first of its kind in the state) to be especially kid-friendly.
Danbury Ice Arena
1 Independence Way
Danbury, CT 06810
With daily public skating sessions (including one on Super Bowl Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.), regularly scheduled skating and hockey classes and youth hockey leagues, the Danbury Ice Arena is a great place to take kids to skate, no matter what level of skill they have (or don’t have). There are also hockey and skating clinics, and league and cross-league games to play in (or just watch). Friday nights are old-fashioned “DJ Skate” nights, where skaters take to the ice while the music plays.
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35 Marne St.
Hamden, CT 06514
Monkey Joe’s of Hamden is a great place for little ones to get some exercise, have some fun and wear themselves out (while their parents relax and watch). Packed with things to bounce on and climb, Monkey Joe’s is one of those places where kids from toddlers to pre-teens can be active, make noise and just play – things that are not always easy to do in the cold, snowy winters of Connecticut.
The Yale Peabody Museum Of Natural History
170 Whitney Ave.
New Haven, CT 06511
New York City may be just a few hours away, but no one in Connecticut who visits the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History will ever suffer from “museum envy” ever again. The Peabody has every bit as big a collection as its storied New York cousin, with dinosaurs and fossils and even chunks of meteorites on display. There are more than just old bones and taxidermy animals here, as the Peabody is an interactive center of learning, complete with its very popular, especially kid-friendly Discovery Room, whose motto is also a command: “Please touch!” With its many hands-on activities, the Discovery Room is a big draw with children, but so is the Daily Life in Ancient Egypt hall, where kids can see how people lived, worked, played and ate in antiquity. The Peabody is also one of the five state museums on the “Dino Trail,” and thus should spark the interest of budding paleontologists (or kids who just think dinosaurs are cool) to visit the other stops around the state where they can learn about the prehistoric beasts.
The Maritime Aquarium At Norwalk
10 N. Water St
Norwalk, CT 06854
From the fish and animals of the Connecticut shoreline to the new “Aquatic Wonders of Africa” exhibit, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk offers visitors a tour of the world’s oceans, seas and rivers – and the creatures and plants that thrive in those environments. From the great promenade through the massive aquarium galleries where they can come eye to eye with great sharks to the more intimate Newman’s Own Long Island Sound exhibit, where they can delight in the barking and antics of harbor seals, kids will delight in the sights and colors and sounds of the sea. The newly refurbished Imax theater with its floor-to-ceiling screen shows both nature films about sharks, apes and tornadoes as well as occasional Hollywood features. Schedules of the films and tickets are available online.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.