The New Children’s Museum is a dynamic, multidisciplinary learning center. It is the fifth oldest children’s museum in the country and serves more than 120,000 people each year, with a primary focus on children (birth through grade 8) and their families.
The Museum first opened in 1927 as a one-room natural history museum in historic Elizabeth Park. In 1958, it moved into its current West Hartford location, which features:
- A 36,000 square foot interactive learning center with hands-on exhibits, classrooms, animal habitats, space for public gathering, and more
- The Wildlife Sanctuary: 100+ animals with origins from around the world, which, due to injury, abandonment, or upbringing, are unable to live unassisted in the wild (est. 1981)
- The Gengras Planetarium: the largest full-dome planetarium in Connecticut, complete with a digital projection system and a 145-seat theater (est. 1968)
- The New Children’s Museum Preschool: one of the oldest early childhood learning centers in the country with a highly respected science and play-based curriculum (est. 1946)
The Museum also includes a second site in Canton, Connecticut known as Roaring Brook Nature Center -- a wildlife refuge and education center with nature-focused classes, programs, and exhibits, located on 165 acres of state-preserved land (est. 1948, incorporated into the Museum in 1973).
The organization offers hands-on educational experiences for young students and families including topic-specific classes, STEM enrichment and science experiments, planetarium shows, hands-on workshops, interactive exhibits, wildlife demonstrations, nature excursions, educational camp programs, and collaborative programming with other educational and community-based organizations.
The Museum engages communities with educational programs and exhibits that are unique to the region. Recent accomplishments include:
- With support from NASA, we are one of the only children’s museums in the country to produce its own immersive digital planetarium show, which has since traveled nationally to other planetariums
- For the past two consecutive years, we have received National Astronomy Day Awards from the American Astronomical Society
- We offer one of the most comprehensive arrays of on-site and in-school educational programs in the state
- We feature Connecticut’s largest formalized science and technology program for homeschooling families