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Best for Kids in New Haven

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Founded in 1998, the Toquet Hall Teen Center is a community space where youngsters can indulge in clean and safe fun. The idea is to provide a secure environment to the teenagers, where they can participate and enjoy different activities. Dance, music, theater and other creative avenues are explored here, thereby, introducing them to a different world. Every event and show held here is sans any drugs or alcohol. The hall can also be rented for events, provided it is in sync with the core values of the teen center.

Art Plus is an exciting, creative place for both the artistic and not so artistic. Come out and join New Haven's newest entertainment spot for an evening of painting, sipping, and enjoying the company of friends. No experience required! Bring your own favorite beverage & snacks! All classes 100% novice oriented, no skills required, guaranteed! After each class you leave with a masterpiece painted by YOU!

The David S. Ingalls Rink in Yale University is a specimen of great architecture. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the structure has been inspired by the sport of skating. It has been the venue for many an exciting men's and women's hoceky games. An audience of 3,486 can be seated in the hall, while there are three locker rooms for the players. The rink is well-lit and has good facilities. A special mention must be made of the reception room which proudly displays photographs of previous games. The rink is open 18 hours a day. Call for details.

Marsh Botanical Garden is situated within the precincts of Yale University. Its name pays tribute to Othniel Charles Marsh, who bestowed this property upon the university. Beatrix Farrand planned the landscape of the garden that houses a wide variety of plant species. Faculty, students, nature lovers, researchers and many other visitors head to this botanical gardens that has four greenhouses, perennial beds, seasonal plants and much more.

An easy drive from downtown New Haven, this park is a beautiful respite from the harried city pace. As you meander along the curved, tree-lined roads up to the summit, you will be greeted by a spectacular view of the city, Long Island Sound and the New Haven Harbor. There is a prized bird sanctuary, picnic and playground facilities, and if you are in the mood for a brisk walk, there are 10 miles of hiking trails. Enjoy the great outdoors right in the city.

Take a 20-minute drive east to Hammonasset to enjoy year-round shoreline vistas and a boardwalk for long walks and relaxation. Offering 1000 acres of campgrounds (550 sites), parks, beaches, walking trails, bike paths and fields for kite flying, Hammonasset is the quintessential pleasure destination. Meigs Point Nature Center offers fresh and saltwater aquariums and live reptiles and amphibians to touch and enjoy. Pack your in-line skates or bike, the park is grand.

Venture into Yale's exciting natural history museum. This is the only museum in Connecticut with fossil dinosaur material on permanent display. The Pulitzer Award winning "The Age of Reptiles" mural (slightly outdated, but nevertheless a beautiful work of art in itself) depicts 300 million years of prehistory. Explore the cultures and peoples of the world through exhibits on Ancient Egypt, Mesoamerica, the Andes and the Great Plains, just to mention a few. It is best to visit during non-school hours.

Established in the year 1862, the New Haven Museum is one of the best spots in the city, especially if you want to gain brief knowledge about the local history. The museum comprises of a collection of artifacts from throughout New Haven’s history. Historic art, photographs, period furniture and more are all stocked under one roof here. The museum also hosts various temporary exhibitions as well as cultural programs through the year. Within the museum, you can also take a tour of The Whitney Research Library, that boasts of a collection of rare books and more than than 300 manuscript collections among other historic records and elements. Open five days a week, the New Haven Museum is a perfect place to gather some local historic knowledge.

Long Island Sound is a unique estuary where salt water from the sea mixes with the fresh river water, creating a biodiversity of different species of flora and fauna. The Lighthouse Point Park attracts public to this ecosystem, where fishing and boating are among prime activities. Birdwatching, picnics, swimming, carousel and a kiddie playground, are other reasons to visit here. The lighthouse has quite a history and the renovated tower is definitely worth spending some time on. Moreover, Fantasy of Lights, Hawkfest and Paddle Day are events the whole family can enjoy. Opens daily at 7am.

Located in New Haven's scenic Lighthouse Point Park, this historic carousel dates back to 1916. With over 70 characters to choose from, as well as two chariots, you can take a spin on ornate horses and camels. Make sure you look out for George Washington conducting the orchestra as you make your way around. No trip to this park is complete without a ride on the carousel.

If you are in the mood to see some rare and wonderful animals of North and South America, an indoor rain-forest and a rustic New England farmyard, then this zoo is the perfect outing. It is Connecticut's only zoo, with 52 acres along the shore about an hour east from New Haven. If you have the kids tagging along, there is a carousel to enjoy and picnic groves available in good weather. The zoo also has a snack shop, and there are always souvenirs to purchase at the gift shop!

The New Haven Town Green is one of New England's oldest, completed in 1638. Portions of the Green were used as a cemetery until the 1820s when the Green became overcrowded and headstones were moved to the new Grove Street Cemetery; however, the bodies were not dug up and between 5,000 to 10,000 still remain. The 16-acre public park is a popular site for concerts and picnics, and an overall excellent gathering place for locals and tourists alike. The Green is also the location of a memorial to the Amistad captives. Along the Green there are three churches built in the 1810s: Center Church, United Church and Trinity Church.

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