museum · paid places

The Science Center in Hartford

Even though it is in Hartford, it is only a 25 minutes drive from New Haven. It is a great museum, for both big and small kids.

As soon as you get in, there is a large water room that you can get wet. Kids love this room. Nearby there is a 4-D theater. Going upstairs, there are all sorts of things for you to play and learn. On the third floor it has a whole Space and Universe room. You can experience being an astronaut, and see all the things that you’d find in the outer space. On the fourth floor sometimes there are special exhibits. You can find more details from their website.


free activities · hiking

The Silver Sand beach in Milford

The Silver Sand beach in Milford is about 20 – 30 minutes drive from New Haven. It is completely free, with free parking. It is beautiful and massive. The only catch is that you need to walk 15 minutes from the parking lot to the beach, giving you plenty of time to admire the massive marsh land and the numerous crabs under the bridge.

Besides the beach, you can also walk on the long trail near the beach that connects to the Walnut beach in milford. The beach is also connected to Charles Island. When the tide is low, you can even walk to it. But it is a bird preservative place, so you can’t go to the inner parts of the island except for on the offseason.


free activities · hiking · park

Wadsworth Falls in Middletown

This park is located in Middletown, and is not too far away from Lyman Orchards. So it is about half an hour drive from new haven.

It is a beautiful park for hiking, and for picking leaves in the fall.

It also has a waterfall. There is also a strange beach area. I think in the summer time, the rain accumulates into a swimming hole, in which we even found tadpoles. But the rest of the time it was just a giant sand box.



free activities · hiking · park · Uncategorized

Edgerton park in new haven

It is a very quiet park and usually only has a few people in the entire park. It’s located on Whitney avenue, almost cross the street from the hike entrance of the Easter Rock trial. It’s a quiet paradise that’s still so close to the city.

We first heard of the park in 2007, when my friend kindly gave us his ownership of a patch of land in the community garden. At the rear entrance of the park, there is half an acre land of community garden. So people living in apartments could still enjoy planting something and watching it grow. People plant amazing things there. Giant sunflowers that were 10-feet tall, beautiful flowers that I don’t know the names. And of course vegetables, like tomatoes, squashes, pumpkins. We rented the garden for two years till we moved farther away from the area.

If you go in from the rear entrance, you will pass the garden, then just lawns and trees. When you find your way towards the front entrance, you will see this humongous grass area with a long hill. It’s so large that it makes you feel so small.


free activities · library

The public library in New Haven

We have been to the library many times especially when the kids were little. Last I knew, the library has two mornings that each has an hour or so sing-and-play with babies and toddlers. Make sure to check the website for various activities. Kids get to listen and sing some sounds, do some dance movements, and even play with simple instruments.

For older kids, they have lego club and chess club. For even older kids, they have computer related activities too. It’s a nice hub for family with kids in the middle of the city.


museum · paid places

Kids City in Middletown

It is a museum, with EVERYTHING hands on. It is a playground, with so much fun. We first knew about this place when my oldest was 1. We have been going to it every half a year or so. In 2016 or so, they finished building the castle. Then the admission was raised to $9 per person (from $8). And it is completely worth it!

The museum has maybe 10 rooms. And each one has a specific theme. There are some big ones, such as the gigantic castle, the fish room, the underground ocean place, the grocery store, the general room that has a bit of everything. Some are smaller, such as the farm, the block room, the rain-forest room, and the puppet show room. Everyone was very well decorated and designed so that you can touch, pickup and play with the things there. You can do some crossbow in the castle, or use the various conveyor belt in the fish room, or push the ball in the air-flowing pipe and watch it travels in the general room.

It’s half an hour drive from new haven. It has metered parking outside of the museum. The museum also has a nice cafeteria place for you to eat, but it does not sell food. It also does birthday parties, but only for up to 8 kids. Some times the place can be really busy, but kids still have plenty of fun.



hiking · museum · paid places · park · playground

Stamford Museum and Nature Center

Stamford Museum and Nature Center locates in Stamford, so it is a big of a drive, like 45 minutes from new haven without traffic. But it is such a fun place to spend a day with the kids. The admission is very affordable (adult $10, 4-17 yrs $5 as for 2017) and it is totally worth the price for a whole day of fun.

When you get in, you will first be amazed by what a giant park it is. You’ll first see the beautiful lake on the left side with ducks, geese and swans. On the right side, up the stairs, there is a giant castle, that used to belong to someone rich and now is a museum and kids can do crafting in it.


Keep walking down in the park, you will see some friendly otters, who really enjoys their meal time. Make a left turn, you might see turkey/chicken/unknown animal running around, away from the chasing kids. There are all softs of farm animals, pigs, goats, cows. Up on the hill, there are also horses!


In addition to the farm animals, there is also a vegetable garden and an indoor museum for snakes, frogs and turtles. The people who work there are super friendly. My 5 yrs asked so many questions and got so much fun!


And there is more. If you walked straight after the lake, you will arrive at the one of the kind playground. It is mostly made of wood, and in the original wooden color. It takes advantage of being built on a hill and arranges in four levels! The top level has a big ‘bird nest’ for adventurous kids to go in and use it as a watch tower. The second level connects to a tower that goes up to the first level, and some slides to naturally go down to the third level, which is the ground level. Then below the ground level, hidden behind, there is a giant pirate ship! The playground is such a unique design and also so much fun.



There is also a hiking trial around the area of the convenient store and playground. You can enjoy the quiet time listening to the little brook throughout the woods.

The center is like a combination of zoo, park and awesome playground. A great place to spend a day!

museum · paid places

The Connecticut Children’s Museum in New Haven

The Connecticut Children’s Museum in New Haven is not an ordinary museum. First of all, it is called Children’s Museum, but it is not a member of the Children’s Museum Association. Secondly, it only opens Friday afternoon and the weekends. The admission is $7 in cash per person. It is located right in downtown New Haven, on Wall street crossing Orange street. Usually there is plenty of meter parking around the museum during the time it is open.

The museum is composed of two-floors, with 3-5 rooms on each floor. On the first floor, the first room is music related with different instruments. You can also make a wind-chime using the provided materials. The next room has some gears, pathway building, puzzles. The next room has a post offices and books. The room cross the hallway is a giant construction site, where kids can put on customs and use different tools.

On the second floor, the largest room is for the Saturday Puppet show. During other times, you can do some crafts, try out some big boots, and look into funny mirrors. Next to the room is the “Goodbye moon”. It decorated exactly like the room in the famous bed-time story book, with green paints, red carpets, a little bed, and a bunny. On the bookshelf in the room, it has the translated version of the story book in many different languages. Very impressive! Across the hallway from the room, there is a animal room, with magnifying classes to look at bugs and shells. It also has a real bee hive!

Between the top and bottom floor, there is also a intercom that can communicate between the green room and one other room. It is such a surprise to hear the telephone ring and to hear a friendly voice from a different room.

The museum is a nice little place in the center of the town. Saturday because of the puppet show it is usually more crowded. Other times you

paid places

The Bounce Fun Center in Clinton

This is the first commercial place I write about in this blog, the Bounce Fun Center in Clinton. It is a bit out of the way from new haven, probably half an hour drive, but we had so much fun when my kids were small.

It is the most perfect bounce house for young kids, from toddlers to maybe 7. It doesn’t have quite crazy slides like in Monkey Joe’s. Instead, it has challenging slides and fun bounce houses for toddlers and preschoolers. One tricky thing is to look at their calendar. Sometimes they only open for 2 hours, so if you plan to stay longer, find a different day. Their admission is not as high as Monkey Joe’s either. There is also a tip. Around memorial day, they have a promotion selling gift-cards that offer a 50% discount on daily admissions (for example, if you pay $10, you get a $20 gift card).

It has a toddler area with ball-pit, slides, and rubber ponies. For bouncy houses, they have a basketball one that has a slide in it, a bouncy house with a taller slide, an arena just for bouncing. Downstairs next to the bouncy room, there is a arcade room. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen any arcade games as cheap as 25 cents anywhere else. Thus it is completely affordable to indulge the kids on some silly games, watching them getting scrolls of tickets, and then use them to get some rubber frogs from the counter.



They also have a store that sells chips and juice, for around a dollar. Maybe it is the feeling that the place isn’t trying to screw your money on top of the admission, it makes me feel like it being really friendly.

Upstairs, there is a quiet area that you can sit on the couch and eat. there is also a room with toys, books and crafts.

I think the place would be really fun for a preschooler’s birthday party. But I didn’t end up doing it because I wasn’t sure everyone wanted to drive that far. But when you have a day to spend with small kids, you should check it out!

free activities · park · playground

The Esplanade Playplace in Boston, MA

We were in Boston and looking for things to do. Then I found this unique playground, probably the most unique I have ever seen, the Esplanade Playplace. If you happened to be in Boston, go check it out!


The only trick is that it was a pain to find parking. The playground is along the side of Charles river, so it would be very convenient for residents to walk by, but a pain for out-of-towners to drive in. It is sort of close to Boston Common and the government and commercial center, probably a 10-15 minutes walk most, and there are plenty of parking there (for a fee or free). But we are dragging two small kids, so I decided to try to park nearby in the neighborhood. The parking signs were confusing. Some meters said not to park, but I saw many cars parked under. Finally we found one available meter not too far away. Then you would have to walk to a bridge that goes over the traffic to the river side. Then you are there!

I was stun when I got there. It has a gigantic climbing structure composed by only ropes! My 5 yrs immediately went in the middle of the rope puzzle and started climbing. But it seemed like he wasn’t big enough to go up! Then he saw another kid climbing from the side, which would be the same idea as climbing a ladder! This time he quickly got up! Then you slide down on a tunnel slide to get back for another run. Eventually my 5 yrs learned how to climb up from the middle. My 3 yrs’s legs were not long enough to do so, but had no problem climbing up from the side. There was also a little hammock connected to the climbing structure, perfect for babies.


Then the playground has a zipline! We only had ziplines in paid activity center. And this is completely free! (Discounting the fact that you need to drive to Boston and find parking around there) The zipline is not far above from the ground, from 0.5 to 2 feet probably. It has a sturdy rubber rod to hold on and a rubber seat to sit on. You start from the 2-feet high platform, and then go zip! down to the end which is about 0.5 feet.


It has a rock climbing wall on a fake mountain. It has a swing that can take a couple kids. Although most kids don’t like to share the comfy swing. It also has a spinning plate that holds a few kids.


The day we went was right before July 4th, and we later heard that that was where they have fireworks at night! There is a little cart nearby with drinking water, but I’m not sure whether it is there just for the festival. If you are tired of the playground, go over to the river side and look at the beautiful Charles river and enjoy the wonderful breeze.


I love this playground. It truly made me think how we could design play elements that are both innovative and fun.