Party Places for Kids in Connecticut
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Climb, crawl, wobble, zip, bounce, balance, teeter…
… and that’s just some of what you’ll find yourself doing at Soarin’ Indoors in Manchester (right), an indoor aerial adventure center that opened last October. The 12,000-square-foot course is split into two sections: a low course that’s 2.5 feet off the ground and a high option that’s 12 feet up. Both present obstacles from rope bridges and cargo nets to zip lines, slack lines and trapeze. There are mandatory double-clipped safety lines and the nimble folks here train everyone to use the equipment at ground level before tackling anything more ambitious. Parties include 90 minutes of course time, an hour in a party room and a dedicated guide. Rates for 10 guests range from $215 to $295. The course is designed for anyone who can reach their arms up to a height of five feet while standing flat on the floor—that usually means kiddos over the age of six.
(860) 645-1595, soarindoors.com
On a roll
Can you do the Cha Cha Slide on roller skates? How about the Hokey Pokey? Each deejay at Galaxy Roller Rink in Groton is an expert at making sure you have fun trying. This family-owned-and-operated throwback (which began life as the Melody Skating Rink in ’55) is all about good old-fashioned fun—with a modern twist. Three “Glow Rooms” with luminescent paint and laser lights are used for parties. The Glow Package is $195 for 10 guests and includes admission, skate rental, pizza, beverages, assorted glow-stick paraphernalia, a birthday T-shirt and game tokens. Celebrations are held Saturday and Sunday afternoons during Kids Pop Great Skates; a Teen Glow package is offered Friday and Saturday nights during Top 40 Evening Skates.
(860) 448-3882, galaxyrollerrink.com
Location, location, location
Ever tried to find a group of lounge chairs together at Lake Compounce in Bristol now that Crocodile Cove Water Park has opened? Then you will appreciate how much easier and breezier 15 new VIP cabanas throughout the water park make celebrating a birthday by the lake. The shaded cabanas (which can be reserved online) are $149.99 for up to 10 guests and are yours from noon to 7 p.m. Rental includes a Lake Compounce beach tote and towel, sunscreen, discount coupons for the park and two lockers—there’s even cabana food service available via pre-order. Beginning July 4, the new laser-light show “Illuminate the Night” lights up the sky every weekend through Aug. 24 (expect a 50-foot water wall across the lake and synchronized music). The first Pink’s Hollywood Hot Dogs on the East Coast also opened this summer as has Bear Creek Campground, ideal should you bravely decide to keep the party going overnight.
(860) 583-3300, lakecompounce.com
The 95-foot-long turntable at Danbury Station was built in 1917 for the thriving New Haven Railroad. Used to turn locomotives, it serviced a nine-stall roundhouse and was the centerpiece of the rail yard, as it is today at the Danbury Railway Museum. Parties for 24 guests range between $125 and $175 and are offered January through November in either an indoor party room or under the canopies of the landmark station. Admission to exhibits and operating layouts is included, as is a hands-on tour of the six-acre rail yard, a 20-minute train ride in season (the birthday child gets to sit in the cab alongside the engineer) and a 360-degree ride on the turntable.
(203) 778-8337, danbury.org/drm
You’re not the only one with a birthday coming up…
The Bushnell Park Carousel turns 100 in July, and to celebrate the city of Hartford is giving the venerable landmark some great gifts: heat for its pavilion, new restrooms and a snazzy function room to host parties year-round. Construction, which began in April, will be paused for the festivities on July 26 and is projected to be completed by November, when the newly restored Stein-and-Goldstein beauty and its 48 painted ponies will be ready to whirl once more. Parties will be $10 per child and include use of the party room for two hours, unlimited rides, popcorn and balloons. Giddyup!
(860) 585-5411, thecarouselmuseum.org
Like a kid in a candy … factory
A towering wall of PEZ dispensers past and present greets you at the entrance to the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange. There’s a smokin’ PEZ motorcycle custom-built by Orange County Choppers, a 14-foot-tall dispenser (the world’s largest), an interactive timeline of PEZ history, viewing windows to the production floor and, as of January, a dedicated party spot on the bright-and-shiny center’s mezzanine level. Packages for 15 kids are $299.95 and include entry to the center, pizza, soft drinks and goodie bags with blank PEZ dispensers to customize and candy buckets to fill with any (and all) PEZ flavors. The best part? The birthday boy or girl gets to visit the demo room and make his/her own batch of PEZ to bring home!
(203) 298-0201, pez.com
Can you get to Key West by way of Connecticut? You can via Waterbury’s CoCo Key Water Resort. It’s always a bright and sunny 84 degrees at the 50,000-square-foot indoor water park. A Water Fun birthday package for 10 children and two adults is $275 weekdays and $399 on weekends, and includes a two-hour open swim and party-room celebration complete with hot dogs, pizza, beverages and birthday cake. Each child also receives a goodie bag and a $5 gift card for the Key Quest Arcade. Make time for the Adventure River, a swoosh (or 10) down one of three 40-foot slides and Parrot’s Perch Interactive Play Island and its zero-depth-entry kiddie area.
(203) 706-1042, cocokeywaterbury.com
In the zone
Webb Mountain Discovery Zone started out as a 171-acre tract purchased by the town of Monroe for open space in 2004. In the decade since, it has been transformed into a stellar outdoor learning center that offers interactive—and fun!—science, history and nature programs. A Discovery Zone educator leads party programs, available March through November, for one hour, and an additional hour is set aside for cake, presents and revelry at tented outdoor picnic tables. In “Elf Adventure,” children are transformed into elves to help keep Jack Frost from freezing up the pools and ponds in the Discovery Zone and thus save frogs, turtles and salamanders. For a “Vernal Pool Party,” kids grab nets and get a little wet in order to see who lives in the Discovery Zone vernal-pool ponds. Differing parties are available; the cost for 12 children is $185 ($170 for Monroe residents) and includes a takeaway craft or gift.
(203) 556-9737, webbmountaindiscoveryzone.com