It isn’t always easy to find family activities that will keep children entertained without boring their parents or vice versa. Fortunately, Connecticut has plenty of fascinating museums that the whole family will love. Consider spending an afternoon with the kids checking out one of these engrossing, accessible exhibits at some of the state’s best museums.

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

The Connecticut Science center has become one of the top destinations in downtown Hartford thanks to its fun, interactive exhibits that demonstrate how science relates to our everyday lives. There are almost too many to experience in just one visit, but make sure not to miss the Sports Lab. The whole family will enjoy the activities in this exhibit, which include a test that can determine your best sport, a ski simulator and an experiment that allows you to test the strength of crash-test helmets. The Sports Lab also allows you to measure how fast you can pitch, how high you can jump, and how much weight you can push and pull.

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

This Stamford nature museum is home to a number of indoor and outdoor exhibits. Among the latter is Nature’s Playground, where children can experience the world as birds and animals do. They can climb into the giant hawk’s nest, ascend a large spider web, or make their way through an ant farm. The area also includes picnic tables for the whole family to enjoy lunch after the kids have worked up an appetite.

Stepping Stones Museum For Children
303 West Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06850
(203) 899-0606
www.steppingstonesmuseum.org

The recently expanded Stepping Stones Museum For Children has exhibits for every age group and parents are sure to have fun as well. That is especially true of the Energy Lab with its hands-on stations exploring alternative energy sources like water and wind. Kids will love playing in the water lab, which demonstrates how water is converted to electricity, and venturing into the giant wind tunnel. Other areas in the Energy Lab let visitors simulate solar power or explore the bottom of the earth’s surface.

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Barker Character Comic And Cartoon Museum
1188 Highland Ave.
Cheshire, CT 06410
(203) 699-3822
www.barkermuseum.com

Visitors from every generation will be amazed at the Barker Museum’s staggering collection of over 80,000 American pop culture artifacts. Children will recognize more recent figures like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while their parents and grandparents are sure to get nostalgic viewing toys from their youth. Barker displays vintage dolls, action figures, games and lunch boxes featuring Disney, Looney Tunes, Popeye, Sesame Street, Star Trek characters as well as many others, dating as far back as the late-19th century. Make sure to take a picture of the kids sitting on the couch next to the Simpsons.

New England Air Museum
36 Perimeter Road
Windsor Locks, CT 06096
(860) 623-3305
www.neam.org

Located at Bradley International Airport, the New England Air Museum specializes in the history and science of aviation. Its Younger Visitors room is filled with interactive exhibits that let kids play at being a pilot. Smaller children can dress as a pilot or astronaut, or drive pedal-powered replicas of the Wright Brothers’ first airplane. Older children can sit in the cockpit of a life-size model of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane or try out the Ercoupe Full-Motion Simulator and feel the sensation of flying an actual aircraft. Several touch screen stations in the room cover subjects from air traffic control to the latest aircraft electronics.

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Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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