It is said that at the turn of the century, Frank Pepe emigrated from Naples, Italy to New Haven, Connecticut and started the country's first pizzeria. Thus began the local tradition of apizza, a Neapolitan variety with grated cheeses, garlic, chopped tomotoes, lot of oregano and other secret touches gracing thin crust pizza pies. When you get to new Haven, ask a local about Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and Sally's Apizza, and which they prefer. The two are across the street from each other, and constantly at war over who was the first and who remains the best. After you wait an hour at either one (visiting with locals who adore this rivalry), you and your kids can decide for yourselves. Don't miss this New Haven tradition!
In fact, New Haven has many traditions, including rivalries between its world-famous Yale University and other Ivy League schools. They're all part of what makes visiting this town with students in tow so much fun. Even if you have preschoolers not yet ready to tour colleges, your family will find something going on in New Haven at any time of year.
South Central Connecticut for Pizza & Family Fun
Yale University Art Gallery
1111 Chapel St.
Nev Haven, Connecticut 06511
If your children will be college-bound in the next few years, take them on a visit to Yale University and their sights will be set high. New Haven is a diverse town with activities for both college students and the rest of the world. If you have teenagers who are interested in art (or just want to tour the Yale campus) visit Yale University Art Gallery, which includes works by van Gogh, Manet, and Picasso, or the Yale Center for British Art, which offers the largest collection of this kind in the United States. Tour Yale’s campus on your own or with a guide to get a feel of the Ivy League lifestyle.
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
170 Whitney Ave.
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Just as the name suggests, the Yale Peabody Museum offers a wide range of attractions for any naturalist. Exhibits include dinosaurs, diamonds, meteorites and mummies, just to name a few. Peabody caters to all ages with various programs, annual festivals, a discovery room and a museum store. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 12 to 5pm. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for kids ages 3-18 and for college students; children under age 3 are admitted free of charge.
Connecticut Children’s Museum
22 Wall St.
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
For younger children, the Connecticut Children’s Museum in Greater New Haven offers role-playing for parents and young children (up to 9) in a "neighborhood" outfitted with a grocery store, post office, restaurant, etc. The museum has theme-specific rooms with exhibits focusing on music, linguistics, logistics and math, and nature. The museum is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 12-5pm and offers weekend reading and art programs for children.
Quinnipiack Schooner, Inc.
Long Wharf Pier
Long Wharf Drive
New Haven, Connecticut
The Quinnipiack Schooner will take sailors on a relaxing ride around New Haven Harbor and the Long Island Sound, departing daily from the Long Wharf Pier. Advanced reservations are recommended and hours are seasonal. For 2011, the trip costs $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for children, and group discounts are available.
Barker Character, Comic & Cartoon Museum
1188 Highland Ave.
For kids of any age who like characters, comics or cartoons, the Barker Museum has something for everyone. The museum holds items dating back from 1873 to present including comic strips and collectibles from cartoons, Westerns, TV and advertising. There is a Cartoon Theatre, storybook stage, Western area, children’s playhouse, Snow White wishing well and California Raisin and Gumby Museum. Also for visitors’ enjoyment are the animation art and fine art sculpture gallery, as well as various trivia games and scavenger hunts. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 4pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12 and free for children under 2 — a worthwhile treat.
Eli Whitney Museum
915 Whitney Ave
A dose of history and the thrill of curiosity will draw visitors to the Eli Whitney Museum. With changing exhibits and workshops, an outdoor water learning lab, a covered bridge and an 1816 barn, this is the perfect place to add some educational value to any trip. The museum offers walk-in projects for kids that cost between $6-$8 per project. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday and Sunday from 12 to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 3 pm.
Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets
20-A Killingworth Turnpike
Clinton, Connecticut 06413
Shopping-addicts (and the budget-conscious) will love Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Clinton, CT. The outlet mall boasts over 70 outlet stores including Barney’s New York, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Michael Kors, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th. Stock up on discounted back-to-school apparel, games, and furniture for the whole family. Afterwards, drive a few miles to Madison, CT and have New England-style afternoon tea at Savvy Tea Gourmet, a small restaurant with over 250 loose-leaf teas and a menu of tea-compatible sandwiches, soups, cheeses, fruits, and desserts.
Shore Line Trolley Museum
17 River Street
East Haven, Connecticut 06512
Though the Shore Line Trolley Museum was originally founded to preserve the “endangered species” known as the trolley car, it now boasts a collection of nearly 100 vintage vehicles as well as artifacts and documents from the trolley era. Only three minutes from I-95 or US-1, the museum offers rides on the trolley cars that stop frequently right outside the Sprague Building. Climb aboard the antique trolley car and hear the growl of the vintage electric motors and the squeal of the steel rails, and you'll feel as if you lived in 1900. Trolleys make stops in the hamlet of Short Beach and then return to the main rail yard. There you can take a guided tour of the museum and its vintage cars. Your tickets are good for as many trolley rides as you like for the entire day, and there are several different trolleys running on the line. 2011 Admission is free for children under 2, $4 for children 2-15, $8 for adults, and $6 for seniors and teachers/students with ID. The first trolley of the day departs at 10:30am and the last leaves at 4:30pm.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.