Top Activities For Kids In Connecticut Over Thanksgiving Weekend

November 22, 2013 7:00 AM

When Thanksgiving leftovers are finally gone and the children start getting antsy, it’s time to head out for some serious fun. Connecticut is the perfect place to be during Thanksgiving break. With museums and activity centers open for fun, the possibilities are as wide and vivid as one’s imagination. Just remember that museums are no longer those hush hush, “shhhh, shhhh” facilities. They are family friendly, and offer many hands-on types of activities.

Florence Griswold Museum
96 Lyme St.
Old Lyme, CT 06371
(860) 434-5542

Instead of lying around on a Sunday afternoon, head on over to the Florence Griswold Museum. Don’t think for one second that a museum is too boring for a child. Every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., there’s “Make-A-Painting.” Young and old have the opportunity to choose from a variety of hands-on seasonal craft activities. Moms and dads don’t have to pack a thing except for the children. Once children arrive at the museum, they are inspired by the paintings that surround them. They won’t find it boring when they are presented with a canvas, brushes, smock, paint and a palette, all for free. Everyday there is a scavenger hunt and a fun game called “Can you find me?”  The bottom line is that there’s plenty of fun at the museum.

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Stamford Museum & Nature Center
39 Scofieldtown Road
Stamford, CT 06903
(203) 322-1646

Visit this family-friendly museum and nature center during the Thanksgiving break and all year around. With plenty to do inside and outdoors, children will find many activities that will not only keep them occupied, but enlightened. What could be better on a cool fall day than visiting the farm? This is a working farm, so children will delight in watching ponies, horses, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats and the llamas, too. Heckscher Farm is open daily year round. There’s also Overbrook Nature Center where children can really explore the world through miles of interesting walking trails. Best of all, there’s Nature’s Playground where children can see the world from an animal’s perspective.

Connecticut Science Center
250 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 724-3623

Here is a must-visit site that children and adults will enjoy equally. There’s so much to do that it may take more than one visit. Check out “Room on the Broom 2D,” which shows on weekends and holidays. This is a tale with a kind witch and some animals that need a place to stay. There are other interesting movies as well, such as “Flight of the Butterflies 3D” and “Sea Monsters 3D: A Prehistoric Adventure.” If you want hands-on activities, then move over to a new exhibit called “Digging Dinosaurs.” There’s also the new “Freeze Frame 360” exhibit where you can “jump in the air or dance while 18 cameras at once take your photo. It’s like the next best thing to flying.

The Discovery Museum & Planetarium
4450 Park Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
(203) 372-3521

Children love to visit the Discovery Museum & Planetarium because it is a hands-on museum that never fails to excite a child’s imagination. Offering learning labs and “64 engaging and inspirational science topics and 17 exciting demos,” enjoy an up-close association with the CT State Department of Education. Even though these labs are educational, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t fascinating. Children have three floors of hands-on activities to explore here. Everything from “Preschool Power” that focuses on balance and gravity to “Solar Legos,” where solar provides power and children provide the creative energy. Children can also build their own cars and race other children with their solar-powered cars.

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The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Ave.
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 247-0998

Who needs a time travel machine when all you have to do is enter The Mark Twain House & Museum and discover what life was like when Mark Twain lived here? This family-friendly museum loves activities such as “Tom Sawyer Day and the Ice Cream Social” or “Spooky Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours.” Children who love their books and stories will enjoy a literary day that is alive and fun. The museum is declaring 2013 “A Rich Selection of Activities for Young and Old and In Between.”

Fascia’s Chocolates
44 Chase River Road
Waterbury, CT 06704
(203) 753-0515

For a sweet treat, head on over to Fascia’s Chocolates. Here is a special opportunity for Connecticut residents to roll up their sleeves and make their own chocolate bars. What child, an adult as well, wouldn’t want this rare opportunity? This is a brand new family-fun destination that will be open year around. Take the tour or make your own yummy concoction and discover how sweet a day can be.

Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at

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