One big need I anticipate as a downsizing family is opportunities to get out and about rather than stay cooped up in our little apartment, especially during school vacations and on the weekends.
In this post I will be collecting ideas for things for families to do in New Haven (my new city). I'll definitely take suggestions, if any one out there reading this is familiar with the area. I'll add to the list periodically.
Of course, I can't wait to join the New Haven Free Library! Not only will they be our go-to resource for books (many of our books are going into storage, so we won't be buying books regularly in our downsized life...instead, we'll keep a basket of library books on our bookshelf to help us stay organized and not lose track of those books), but the library has numerous free events. And they have downloadable ebooks and audiobooks.
I hear the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History is impressive for its size and child friendly. With my Yale ID card, I can get us a family membership for one year at the rate of $50. Would need to figure out a way to budget that, or see if they loan admission passes at the local library.
Edgerton Park looks like a great resource with some fun events and even community gardening opportunities (inclusive of instructions and guidance provided to novices like me). While this looks like mainly a summer resource, with a few exceptions, I'll keep it in mind especially in case we end up staying in New Haven year-round.
The Connecticut Children's Museum for kids 3-9 looks great! It is open on Fridays and Saturdays only, however, and does not appear to have an annual membership. Each visit would be $7.50 per person ($30 total for the whole family), so this unfortunately probably can't be a regular stop for us.
It looks like without even needing a student ID card, the Eli Whitney Museum has an annual family membership cost of just $45 annually ($25 individual student membership), and it seems to have a lot of cool programs and opportunities (though many pretty school-centric and not maybe as open-ended as we need). It does look like many of the programs and opportunities seem to have additional fees. This is another one to either budget for or consult the library about.
There are also at least a couple of options for skate parks. The outdoor Edgewood Skate Park is free, I am assuming, and should be good for at least two or three months out of the academic year. There is also an indoor skate park in North Haven, which would be great for the winter months, but is too expensive to go often.
The Yale University Art Gallery is apparently something of a small, free, art museum, so you can't beat that. I am sure "child friendly" is a relative term for all families, but I can see stopping at the museum on occassion with my kids for a short round, one floor at a time.
Though I am not a big sports fan, I do want my kids to have the experience of some live sports games over the course of their childhoods. Besides, Manina enjoys sports. I was excited to see that we could get myself and the kids in for free to a Yale Athletics football game (and I hope/suspect there are discounted tickets for folks with Yale spouse IDs). I can get into Yale basketball games too, and get the rest of the family in for fairly low cost. Hockey is a different story.
The New Haven Parks and Rec has some relatively well-priced outdoor educational programs, including winter programs such as snowshoeing. If we end up living in New Haven to the extent we'll pay taxes as residents, I think we count for the lower rates.
By the way, I have to plug this. New Haven has a BooksnParks program! Is this too cool or what?
And finally, there are more items from the Yale Office of New Haven and State Affairs.