12 Things To Do with Family in Danbury, Connecticut

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Danbury is a charming city in western Connecticut, located just 25 miles from New York’s border. With a population around 85,000, Danbury manages to balance a historic small-town feel with enough great attractions and activities to keep visitors of all ages entertained.

From hiking trails and lakeside beaches to glow-in-the-dark miniature golf and lively downtown festivals, families traveling to the Danbury area will find this guide to the 12 best things to do useful when planning their next vacation. With top-rated museums, amusement parks, and plenty of kid-friendly shopping and dining, Danbury makes for an ideal family getaway that offers a taste of New England life.

Explore Indoor Recreation at Danbury Sports Dome

With over 100,000 square feet housing multisport turf fields, batting cages, a full arcade, cafe, and even glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, the Danbury Sports Dome is heaven for active kids and adults. Families can sign up for open play times to kick around a soccer ball, play flag football, hit some baseballs, or challenge each other to a round of mini-golf that glows under blacklights.

With special toddler times and sports leagues for all ages, this massive indoor recreation center allows families to stay active and build skills year-round. The Sports Dome also hosts kids’ birthday parties perfect for burning off energy!

Tour the Danbury Railway Museum’s Vintage Trains and Model Layouts

All aboard for interactive exhibits at the Danbury Railway Museum that transport visitors back through two centuries of rail history. Families can climb aboard vintage railway cars and locomotives from the 1910s to 1980s, learning how train technology and design have evolved.

Don’t miss the expertly crafted model train layouts depicting rail lines and scenes from the 1940s-60s. Knowledgeable guides will share stories and secrets behind the full-size equipment on display. Special events like Thomas the Tank Engine rides allow young children to connect with their love of trains. Outside, kids delight in riding a miniature train on a mile-long track circling the railyard.

Pick Your Own Fruit at Blue Jay Orchards

For a fun outdoor activity the whole family will enjoy, head to the pick-your-own farm at Blue Jay Orchards located just minutes from downtown Danbury. Depending on the harvest seasons from June to October, families can pick buckets of ripe strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins directly from the vine and trees.

Kids will love discovering fruit hidden between dense leaves and branches. Afterward, reward the crew with homemade jams, fresh-pressed apple cider donuts, fruit pies, and other farm-fresh goodies from the market. Back at home, find creative recipes to cook up your farm-to-table haul.

Hike to the Top of Tarrywile Park’s Castle Observation Tower

At over 700 acres, Tarrywile Park offers families plenty of room to explore meadows, ponds, waterfalls, and towering trees along miles of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. Don’t miss the hike up to the top of the wooden Castle Observation Tower perched atop one of the property’s highest points, where panoramic views across the Tarrywile valley and beyond await.

Kids will feel like royalty climbing up through this castle built in the late 1800s by a local banker. Along the hiking routes, keep eyes peeled for deer, foxes, over 150 species of birds, amphibians, and an abundance of native wildflowers coating the meadows in blossoms during spring.

Test Go-Karts and Play Mini Golf at The Track Family Fun Park


At this entertainment center tailored for families just 5 minutes from downtown, kids will clamor to race go-karts around a slick track lined with checkered flags. Designed for maximum safety with double-seater karts for parent-child teams, this thrilling ride lets young racers feel like pros.

When go-karts have zoomed kids to exhaustion, try a round of mini golf on the 18-hole blacklight course glowing vibrantly as evening sets in. With arcade games, bumper boats, batting cages, and concession stands selling classic amusement park fare like cotton candy and funnel cakes, The Track knows how to show families a good time.

Learn Hands-On Science at the Danbury Railway Museum


Not just for train-lovers, the Danbury Railway Museum also houses an entire interactive Science Center perfect for curious young minds to run wild through hands-on educational exhibits. Kids can explore concepts like heat transfer, sound waves, kinetic and potential energy, and illumination by conducting experiments like using thermal imagery cameras, playing music on laser beams, moving objects with wind power, and splitting light into spectrum rainbows. Family workshops like Lego robotics, magnetism, and electricity inspire budding inventors and engineers. Visiting the science center combines STEM learning with just plain fun!

Tour Ethan Allen’s Historic Home at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society

For a glimpse into the life of this iconic Revolutionary War figure who led Vermont’s militia, tour his 18th-century homestead at the Danbury Museum. Families will marvel at the beautifully-preserved main house furnished with period relics showcasing what daily living was like for the Allen family.

Docent-led discussions share captivating stories from Ethan Allen’s leadership during the war along with his later civic roles establishing Danbury. Temporary exhibits related to regional history and culture give further insight into the city’s heritage. Outside, stroll through heritage gardens, visit heritage farm animals, and check out on-site historic buildings like an one-room schoolhouse relocated here. Don’t miss the Museum’s creative events and summer camps for kids!

Catch a Show Under the Stars at Ives Concert Park

During warmer months, Danbury comes alive with free outdoor evening concerts appealing to all musical tastes rocking Ives Concert Park downtown. Known as Western Connecticut’s premier open-air entertainment venue, ancomplete with professional sound and lighting equipment delivers vibrant energy and good tunes to families lounging across the park’s sloping lawn.

Come early to stake out a spot up close to the stage, then dance and sing alongside locals with glow sticks, hula hoops, and festive spirits. Vendors sell tasty snacks like wood-fired pizza, ice cream, and craft beer catering to parental palates. From tribute bands to pop stars, the summer schedule promises unforgettable evenings.

Splash Down Lazy River Rides at Lake Quassapaug

Just over 10 minutes north of Danbury lies the parklands surrounding scenic Lake Quassapaug, where families flock during hot weather for swimming, boating, watersports, fishing, and sandy beaches recalling classic New England lake getaways.

Cool down splashing on the splash pad playground or floating relaxingly around American Legion’s lazy river ride – inner tubes provided! Kids can safely wade through shallow swimming areas while adults sunbathe on lounge chairs along the sparkling shoreline rimmed by weeping willows and oak trees. Stop for snack breaks at the lakefront concession stands serving up summertime favorites like ice cream, hot dogs, and cold beverages.

Spend a Day Shopping and Exploring Downtown Danbury

Danbury’s lively downtown centered around Main Street provides plenty for families to see and do while wandering among the small shops, restaurants, and historic buildings that give this New England town its charm.

Duck into hobby emporiums, homemade candy stores, used book shops packed ceiling-high with literary treasures, bakeries with displays sure to catch any sweet tooth’s attention, and other distinctive retailers. Family-run diners sling classic comfort foods, while new American bistros add cosmopolitan flair. Don’t miss the whimsical 3-story public art sculpture erupting with mosaic shapes. In warmer months, community events like street fairs and festivals animate city streets with parades and music.

Pick Your Own Apples at Penn’s Orchard

As Connecticut natives know, August through November is prime apple harvesting season across the state. For families wanting quintessential New England fun, head to Penn’s Orchard just 20 minutes north of Danbury, where kids of all ages can get lost wandering 20 acres of apple trees numbered by variety holding nearly two dozen types ripening on branches by late summer.

Staff help guide beginners on how to gently twist heirloom apples like Westfield Seek-No-Furthers and Esopus Spitzenburgs off their stems. Tots enjoy snapping fresh fruit straight off stunted trees in the dwarf orchard. Don’t miss out on hot apple cider and fresh-baked fruit pies!

Watch Jets Soar at the Annual Danbury Air Show

Families looking skyward will find excitement at the Danbury Air Show, where a fleet of stunt planes, historic aircraft, and even military fighter jets take flight to perform heart-stopping aerial acrobatics and stunts. Held annually each summer at Danbury Municipal Airport just north of the city, this beloved local event thrills crowds as aircraft loop, roll, and dive while trailing plumes of smoke across bright blue skies.

Arrive early to wander among grounded planes meeting the pilots, then claim a spot on the wide grassy viewing area and spreading blankets or lawn chairs. Guests will hear the deafening roar of jet engines as combat fighters like F-16s swoop past. Between demonstrations, kids can burn off energy climbing on board rescue helicopters and other stationary aircraft passengers don’t usually access!

Conclusion


With scenic parks and nature trails for communing with the great outdoors, hands-on museums and amusement rides when seeking entertainment, and historic sites that immerse visitors in America’s early days shaped right here in Danbury, families will never run out of things to experience during a trip to this charming Connecticut town.

From u-pick farms to downtown festivals, Danbury brings that classic New England Escape within an easy drive of major cities like NYC. Visitors find themselves relaxing into the slower pace that small town getaways encourage, promising chances for families to connect while creating lifelong vacation memories all their own.

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