7 Best Things to Do with Kids in New Haven over Winter Break

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Don't look now, but it's nearly winter break—aka President's Day weekend. What will you be doing? Visitors to New Haven, Connecticut, can sample some of the nation's best pizza, visit family-friendly cultural spots, and even take in music and theater. Here are the seven best things to do in New Haven CT this winter break.

1. Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium

Leitner-Family-Observatory-Planetarium

If your kids are fascinated with space, they will love the Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium. It's located on the Yale University campus and is run by the department of astronomy.

It's open to the public on Tuesday nights and Sunday afternoons—check the website for information about what's happening over winter break. Typically, the weekly offerings include free planetarium shows and (when the skies are clear) public viewing of stars, planets, and nebulau.

2. Peabody Museum

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Formally known as the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, this museum is filled with exhibits that will appeal to any kid interested in Earth, dinosaurs, and more science-related things. The Great Hall of Dinosaurs has breathtaking prehistoric skeletons. Kids can also check out exhibits on birds, primates, gems, minerals, and more. Museum-goers can also check out the recently opened exhibit Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies, which includes hands-on displays, life-like models, stunning artwork, and more than 150 dinosaur eggs on display. Also special for February break, there will be Roxi Fox Puppet Shows from February 17-21, and also it will be the annual Dinosaur Days week where kids can "dig" for fossils and participate in other hands-on activities—perhaps best of all, as in past years kids have been sent home with expertly identified fossils—perfect for post winter break show and tell.

3. Take in a Sporting Event

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Yale Bulldogs/Ingalls Ice Rink via JoevareCreative Commons

While you won't find pro teams in New Haven, college sports are on. If your kids are sports fanatics, then they might just love one of the three games that the Yale Bulldogs will be playing this weekend. On February 14th, Yale Men’s Basketball will take on Penn. On the 15th, Men's Ice Hockey will be playing Princeton, and on the 16th, Men's Lacrosse will take on Tufts.

4. Yale Art Gallery

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Introduce your children to fine art with a visit to the Yale Art Gallery. With free admission, and a collection that spans ancient to modern works, there is something for everyone here. Although there are family activities each month, none will be happening over winter break—but don't let that stop you. You and your kids can still enjoy art together in this special space.

5. Ikea New Haven

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Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com

What? A store?!? Let's all face it. Ikea isn't just any store—and many kids go crazy for those amazing little Swedish meatballs. As for you, considering that the kids meals are about $3 (though sometimes you can score them for just $0.99) and you can eat well for $5–$8, this is a low-cost outing that everyone can enjoy. And, if your kids are potty trained and meet height requirements, you can also let them play in the supervised—and absolutely free—Småland for 30 minutes during your visit.

6. Eli Whitney Museum

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Drop by this fun museum to learn about engineering, building, mechanics, and more. If you go on a weekend, there are also walk-in programs where kids can build things—like racers, mini shelters, and more. And for winter break, there are fun daily drop-off programs where kids can get hands on with their learning. It's Engineers Week, so kids can choose from workshops about mechanics and making educated predictions—drawing on the excitement of the Olympics at the same time (many of the workshops combine Olympic themes with engineering ones).

7. Don't Forget the Pizza

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It's no wonder that New Haven's pizza is often mentioned as among the best in the country—especially since American pizza was literally born in New Haven. The brick ovens used give the pizza an unforgetably crisp crust (that's always thin!) and flavor. Which one is the best? You'll have to try our Frank Pepe's, Sally's Apizza, and Modern Apizza to decide for yourselves. Can you say pizza crawl? The kids will love it.

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