KidCity Children’s Museum in Middletown, CT
**This post is regularly updated to include the latest pricing and information about KidCity**
Brandon and I first discovered KidCity Children’s Museum through the recommendation of a friend of ours who also has small children. Stink had just learned how to walk and we needed to find indoor places she would enjoy because winters in Connecticut kinda suck.
KidCity is just south of Hartford about 45 minutes from where we live so a day trip requires a bit of planning. We usually visit in the afternoon, after Stink’s had a good nap. The museum is 3 levels but the basement level, also known as the “Toddler Sea Caves”, is only open to children 2 and under. Older siblings are welcome to join on designated days but we found that not many parents follow this rule. Every time we visited we’ve had to deal with older kids in the toddler room.
The main floor has lots of rooms with various themes: spaceships, fishing boats, farms, a kitchen and a post office. The top floor has a musical room with a global theme that includes a seesaw, slide, and rope bridge. There’s also a quiet reading nook if your child needs a place to chill out.
Update: In 2015 a large new exhibit was added to KidCity with a medieval village theme. Climb inside a castle, plant vegetables in a garden, build stone walls with “bricks”. There’s even an elevator so disabled persons can access the second story of the castle! It’s an extremely well-planned exhibit. Another exhibit, a performance stage with costumes and puppets, is in the works and set to open in early 2017.
Stink had many favorite spots at KidCity and it’s hard to pinpoint which one she likes the most. While the museum has activities for children ages 1 to 8, mostly of the exhibits are geared toward preschoolers. Still, Stink has an amazing time when we visit so even toddlers can find enjoyment in giant rubber fish and playing with magnetic blocks. And each time we come back she explores the rooms in a new way with new friends so she never gets bored.
The Verdict: It’s hard to find a good children’s museum that’s for toddlers and KidCity really hit the nail on the head when planning their exhibits. Admission is $10 for adults and children ages 1 and up but KidCity also offers many discounts and free admission events. They participate in the Blue Star Museums program which offers free admission to active duty military members and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They also offer free admission from 5 to 7 pm every third Thursday of the month.
When to Go: Weekdays and sunny days are naturally the least crowded times to visit KidCity. The rooms are small and with lots of children it can get crowded, though the newest exhibit is very spacious. Our first visit was on a cold winter weekend and there was a little too much going on for Stink to enjoy herself but an older child would probably have not even noticed.
What to Bring: There is a locker room to hang coats, backpacks, etc and a small space to park strollers if you choose to bring one. KidCity also has a snack area to enjoy a packed lunch but food and drink are not allowed in the exhibit areas of the museum. The best part about KidCity is that they have large totes in all of the bathrooms filled with essentials like diapers, wipes and even spare pairs of pants so if you forget something you are free to take what you need from the tote and continue enjoying your day at the museum.
Child Friendly? Yes! Even babies can enjoy KidCity by crawling around the carpeted Toddler Sea Caves. There are wooden blocks to play with (or taste, if that’s your kid’s thing) and scarves to cover their faces and tickle them with. KidCity is geared toward the younger kids so I would recommend this place for children under the age of 8 or 9. The rooms are fairly small and bigger kids need a bit more room than KidCity has.
Pet Friendly? No