12 Things To Do With Family in New Britain, Connecticut

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Emily Johnson

New Britain, Connecticut offers a variety of fun, family-friendly activities perfect for making memories. From museums and parks to unique attractions, there is something for everyone to enjoy in New Britain.

This article outlines 12 of the top things to do with family in New Britain, covering interactive museums, beautiful parks and gardens, fun entertainment venues, and much more. With interesting history, culture, sports, and recreation, New Britain has an activity to engage every member of the family.

Explore the Fascinating New Britain Museum of American Art

The New Britain Museum of American Art is one of the oldest museums dedicated to American art in the country. With a collection spanning over 100,000 works, there are captivating pieces covering styles from colonial times through today. Families can explore together and find their own favorite artworks while learning about different artistic movements and American history.

Some of the most popular exhibits at the New Britain Museum of American Art include:

  • The Sanford B.D. Low Illustration Collection: This wide-ranging collection features beloved illustration art from children’s books, magazines, advertisements, and more from the 19th and 20th centuries. See iconic illustrations you may recognize from childhood or introduce your kids to classic images they’ll love.
  • The Thomas Hart Benton Room: Dedicated to the iconic American painter, this room displays many of Benton’s famous murals and paintings depicting life in the early 20th century. His realistic style captures relatable slice-of-life scenes families can discuss.
  • The Centennial Sculpture Garden: The museum’s beautiful outdoor sculpture garden connects art with nature, surrounding visitors with contemporary sculptures from artists like Sol LeWitt and Beverly Pepper. It’s a quiet space for families to wander through.

The museum also hosts family programs like storytelling, art making, teen art labs, and more to engage young visitors. With contemporary art and classics, thought-provoking pieces and fun illustrations, the New Britain Museum of American Art has something to spark every family’s imagination.

Marvel at Invention and Innovation at the New Britain Industrial Museum

From America’s earliest industries to today’s technology, the New Britain Industrial Museum provides a comprehensive look at innovation and invention over time. Families can explore how processes evolved in industries like hardware, bricks and building, corsets and ribbons, and more through historical artifacts, machines, and multimedia exhibits.

Kids will especially love:

  • Seeing antique autos up-close, like Model T Fords and beautiful buffers.
  • Trying interactive displays, like a typewriter or telephone switchboard
  • Tracking progress in writing instruments from quills to fountain pens
  • Testing textile strength with industrial revolution-era machines

With a main exhibit hall and several specialized Wings covering different industries, there is a lot to spark curiosity and discussion. Kids can better understand how everyday items developed over decades while adults may feel some nostalgia over “blast from the past” items. From early bicycles to vintage computing, the ever-changing innovation on display provides a meaningful glimpse into history for all ages.

Appreciate Natural Beauty at Walnut Hill Park

For gorgeous outdoor scenery, fresh air, and room to move, head to Walnut Hill Park. This gorgeous green space spans over 100 acres, with full athletic fields, peaceful walking trails circling a pond, rose and perennial gardens, and acres of grassy hills perfect for picnics, games, or just relaxing.

Families can enjoy activities like:

  • Flying kites or playing frisbee in the open fields
  • Fishing by the pond (catch-and-release only)
  • Playing pickup soccer, football, volleyball games, etc on the athletic fields
  • Reading under the shade of stately oak trees
  • Taking leisurely strolls on the walking paths to spot birds and other wildlife

The park also hosts free summer concerts at the band shell that families will love. With playgrounds to entertain kids and plenty of space for parents to unwind, Walnut Hill Park is ideal for full days of family fun.

Tour the Historical Sites of Downtown New Britain

For a dose of local history, spend a day exploring downtown New Britain by foot. The city center features several architectural and historical attractions that provide insight into New Britain’s proud past spanning over 300 years. Top sites to visit include:

  • Central Park and the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch: This stunning arch stands as a memorial to New Britain citizens who fought in the Civil War. Families can read about local heroes while kids run around the adjoining Central Park playground.
  • Trinity-on-Main: Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, this beautiful brownstone Episcopal church was built in the neo-Gothic style in 1882, with stained glass windows and dramatic architecture.
  • New Britain Industrial Museum – For a peek into the industrial innovation that put New Britain on the map, Tour Five of the museum covers the history of hardware manufacturing.
  • The New Britain Courthouse: This striking Romanesque Revival building from 1892 conveys the city’s historical importance as a county seat. Gargoyles watch over the grounds, to children’s delight.

There are also several monuments, historical homes, and civic buildings to discover that provide a well-rounded look into the events and people that shaped New Britain through the years. With compact downtown proximity between sites, it’s easy for families to explore on foot at their own pace, mixing history with modern vibrancy.

Hear Tales from the Sea at the Connecticut Maritime Museum

Connecticut’s nautical heritage comes alive at the Connecticut Maritime Museum. Situated along the Connecticut River, the museum holds artefacts from actual historic vessels documenting life at sea over centuries of exploration and trade. Permanent exhibits give families insight into military battles, steamboats, and daily duties aboard submarines while the Riverfront Environmental Park surrounding grounds make a lovely outdoor space to extend the experience.

Popular highlights include:

  • Climbing through the Periscope Exhibit: Get hands-on with an actual Navy submarine periscope to see how sub crews viewed surface ships during World War II.
  • Touring the Steamboat Dock Museum: Located right on the water, this building holds relics from the steamships that frequented the Connecticut River. Families hear incredible facts about luxurious steamboat travel’s heyday.
  • Attending a Boating Safety Class: Perfect for boating families, these classes teach water safety skills hands-on with real nautical tools. Kids earn certificates to show what they’ve learned.

From 19th century whaling tales to modern coastal defense, the Connecticut State Maritime Museum ties together Connecticut’s deep relationship with the sea for an enriching experience.

See a Show at the Hole in the Wall Theater

For live theater that’s affordable and fun for all, Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain brings stellar community productions to their small but mighty venue. Families can enjoy creative shows including musicals, dramas, comedies and more in an intimate live performance setting that makes you feel part of the experience.

Fun features that give Hole in the Wall its signature community charm include:

  • Engaging and often interactive small-scale shows: With just 70 seats in their cozy theater, every show feels up-close, personal and lively. Kids may get called on stage while musical performers dance in the aisles.
  • Family-friendly pricing and content: Most tickets are under $30, with special family packs available. While some mature shows happen late nights, there are always all-age musicals and comedies safe for children too.
  • Opportunities to get involved: Hole in the Wall runs an arts school for youth plus there are always volunteer chances to usher, work box office, or even audition to act for those bitten by the theater bug after their first show!

Supporting local arts, seeing new performers shine, gasping at plot twists in suspenseful plays – Hole in the Wall Theater lets families experience live stage excitement without high ticket prices or a long drive into the city.

Rock Out at New Britain Stadium

Home stadium of the New Britain Bees minor league baseball team and frequent concert venue, New Britain Stadium hosts exciting sporting events and performances families will love cheering on. The open-air 6,000-seat stadium provides an affordable game or concert experience with a fun local vibe.

Families with sports fans can catch:

  • New Britain Bees Baseball: With players hoping to catch their big break into Majors League Baseball, Bees games have a scrappy, competitive energy with lots of base stealing, home runs, and daring plays families will be on their feet shouting about. And the Bees mascot is adorable!
  • Soccer Matches: During summer, several Connecticut teams play matches at New Britain Stadium from amateur leagues all the way up to national players gearing up for the pros after college. High energy and skill levels make for nail-biting games.

Music lovers can rock out at:

  • Concerts from major performers: Acts like The Beach Boys, KC and the Sunshine Band, Joss Stone and more have all performed recent summer shows at New Britain Stadium with room on the open field for families to dance and play while listening!
  • Local band performances: Supporting Connecticut’s vibrant music scene, battles of the bands between top local indie groups create exciting and diverse concert lineups families can discover new favorite artists at together.

With affordability, convenience, and family perks like fireworks nights and activities for kids, New Britain Stadium entertains all ages.

Tee Off at Stanley Golf Course

For mini golf lovers or those looking to perfect their swing, Stanley Golf Course’s two pristine 18-hole regulation courses offer golf fun the whole family can bond over. Conveniently located right in New Britain’s southern edge, Stanley Golf Course has welcomed local golfers since 1929 across its hilly landscape with challenging terrain master golfers appreciate.

Junior golfers can build skills safely navigating the forgiving Gerrish junior course while adults try their luck with water hazards and tricky slopes. Other family-friendly amenities include:

  • Affordable rates for youth and range pass deals
  • Expert instructors available for private or group lessons
  • Expansive driving range to dial in that long drive
  • Full restaurant and sports bar with outdoor patio seating to refuel after 18 holes
  • Fully-stocked golf shop for gloves, tees, apparel and gear
  • Club rentals so beginners can try before they buy equipment
  • Carts available to rent by 9 or 18 holes

With opportunities for golfers of every skill level, Stanley Golf Course makes for an engaging active day together. Watch skills progress over the summer through friendly competition on the links!

Visit Dinosaur State Park to Roar with Prehistoric Creatures

Connecticut’s Dinosaur State Park brings to life ecosystems from hundreds of millions of years ago with ancient fossils and realistic dioramas. Families walk alongside the fossilized tracks of Eubrontes, a dinosaur species that actually stalked the forests covering Connecticut during the Jurassic era. Covering over 2,000 preserved tracks, it’s one of the world’s largest dinosaur track sites!

Popular exhibits let young explorers discover:

  • Hundreds of fossilized dinosaur tracks marching through the Exhibit Center’s exposed bedrock. See the paths ancient creatures once wandered!
  • Movie theatre with films detailing Connecticut’s geological transformation over millennia and dinosaur history.
  • “Expedition: Jurassic” indoor playscape with a giant dinosaur skull to crawl through, fossils to unearth in a sand dig pit, areas for building LEGO creatures, and movable panels to inspire adventure.

Outdoors, families can follow walking trails to find more trackways – bring paper and crayons to make fossil rubbings! With clues both modern and ancient about the dinosaurs who once lived there, Dinosaur State Park lets kids’ imaginations run wild.

Tour Mark Twain House for Literary Family Fun

Called Hartford the “loveliest home this side of the Mississippi” by iconic author Mark Twain, the Mark Twain House & Museum in nearby Hartford offers a glimpse into Twain’s family life alongside exhibits highlighting his profound influence on American literature. Families tour his 25-room home to see ornate interiors reflecting Twain’s fortune during his most prolific years penning classics from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court in his 2nd floor study.

Fun for literary families include:

  • Costumed museum guides bringing early 20th century storytelling to life room by room
  • Interactive exhibits like playing vintage parlor games Twain enjoyed or printing defense maps he invested in as a business venture.
  • Beautiful Landmark Farm next door where staff dress in period clothing maintaining heritage flower & vegetable gardens using tools from Twain’s time.
  • Programs just for kids like story hours or the opportunity to earn “Junior Tour Guide” status for knowing facts about Twain and his house.

The site balances factual legacy with imaginative interpretation around one of history’s most influential authors in ways that engage visitors of all ages. Families gain a meaningful understand of Mark Twain’s life story and love of laughter when touring his home.

Make Sweet Memories at Chateau Suzanne


For families with a sweet tooth, Chateau Suzanne is a must-visit New Britain staple. This old-fashioned working bakery, diner and candy shop brings a bit of vintage French charm to Connecticut through freshly made treats using many antique tools in their original kitchen.

Families can watch cookies coming warm from century-old ovens, candy being hand cut and wrapped, and peek at copper kettles frothing with chocolate melting for decadent dipping. Sweet highlights include:

  • Sit-down dining with nostalgic soda shop favorites like malts, egg creams, parfaits and banana splits perfect for sharing
  • Giant gummy bears in over 20 vibrant flavors attracting awe and photos
  • Old-fashioned candy by the quarter pound from Necco wafers to Squirrel Nut Zippers

The air is always filled with the scent of something delectable being created at Chateau Suzanne. With reasonable prices and recipes perfected over their 70 years of candy-making, it’s a sugary stop the whole family will adore.

Enjoy the Arts at Trinity on Main


For a refined cultural experience the whole family will appreciate, Trinity on Main offers performing arts programs, gallery exhibits, and classes nurturing creativity. Converted from an historic church, Trinity on Main’s unique architecture makes an inspiring backdrop to showcase local performers and artists.

Fun options for families include:

  • Student theatre, dance and music performances in their small professional theater
  • Exhibits from emerging local artists displayed in the charming galleries
  • Drop-in craft activities corresponding with gallery themes
  • Sensory-friendly performances with adjusted lighting/sound for neurodiverse kids
  • Parent and child classes exploring creative mediums together

By spotlighting young talent and providing interactive workshops for kids to explore, Trinity on Main promotes passion for the arts starting early. Coming for a student jazz band or play, browsing the latest artwork exhibit, and chatting with creators in their open studios makes for an engaging visit. The Trinity on Main community shares their gifts with families to inspire the next generation of New Britain’s artists.

Conclusion

With amazing museums, parks, entertainment venues and historic sites, New Britain, Connecticut makes it easy for families to spend meaningful time together.

Immersive attractions provide hands-on fun around science, culture, innovation, nature and regional history for parents and kids to mutually enjoy. From athletic facilities like New Britain Stadium to performance spaces like Hole in the Wall Theater, many New Britain destinations foster community closeness through shared experiences families carry home.

And opportunities to play, explore, and discover abound at parks like Walnut Hill and unique attractions like Dinosaur State Park. With the range of family-friendly things to do found here, New Britain lets every member of the family follow their interests – together.

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