It’s easy to forget if you’ve been living here for a while that Boston is a pretty unique and special place to live: it’s small and a bit provincial as cities go, but the cultural and historical institutions here are second to none. Colleges and universities? We’ve got a few. Museums and art galleries? We have those too. Historical sites? We’re soaking in ‘em. So for April vacation, coming up next week, here are some very Boston-specific activities for kids that you can try!
ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS: THIS WEEK
Cambridge Science Festival
April 15 – April 24
If you want science, technology, engineering, and math concepts to stick, hands-on fun is the way to go, and this exciting event will create some great memories! Created by the MIT Museum, Harvard University, the Museum of Science, and other local institutions of learning, this is the sort of event that could only happen in Boston/Cambridge: kids can experience a Robot Zoo, learn about the Science Club for Girls, hear musical performances about scientific greats including Archimedes and Hedy Lamarr (!!!), and more.
Concord Patriot’s Day Parade
Reading about the American Revolution is not necessarily a thrill – but watching reenactors fire real muskets? Now THAT’S cool! This year, they’ll be celebrating the 241st anniversary of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War, and festivities will include the Lexington Battle Reenactment, a re-staging of the North Bridge Fight with marching and musket fire, and then a parade with Minute Man companies and music.
Got something else to do on Monday? There’s a whole weekend of events leading up to the parade, all of which will bring history to life in a way that we know kids will love. My personal favorite: “Paws for the Cause,” stars a Park Ranger and his pug, Cricket, who will be leading a walking tour with a talk on the lives of dogs in colonial America. You can bring your own pupster along as long as they’re friendly and well-behaved!
Wild Seasons at Franklin Park Zoo
April 19- April 22
This vacation camp teaches kids about how animals in the wild adapt to the changing seasons in their environments: hibernation, migration, winter coats, camouflage, and more! Kids will get to meet a variety of animals, and enjoy tours, games, and activities galore.
No Planes, No Trains, Just Cranes
now through May 15
The Boston Children’s Museum is a classic year-round destination for Boston families, with loads of fun exhibits, educational programs, and other activities for kids. Kids who are gaga for construction vehicles will fall in love with this current exhibit: at “No Planes, No Trains… Just Cranes,” kids can watch time-lapse videos of the construction cranes that are right by the museum. Then, they can walk over a few blocks and see the real cranes in action!
MFA April Vacation Week Adventures
April 19-April 22
Admission is free for kids all week, so what are you waiting for – it’s time for their first museum trip! (Or second, or fifth, or tenth…) There are activities for everyone from toddlers to tweens: Story Hour, a presentation on art using recycled materials, and art-making activities featuring mountains, landscapes, collage, found objects, and more! Or, just take in a Kids’ Tour for ages 6-10.
Self-explanatory: this is one of the world’s most famous road races, and you can find spots to cheer all over the 26 mile route. The race starts in Hopkinton, goes through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, and Newton, and then wends through Brookline and finally, Copley Square. You can see the entire schedule for this year (and spectator guidelines) here, and even track runners here!
Minecraft Coding Workshop
Another highlight of the week for mini-techies: kids from ages 8 to 12 can learn how to do a variety of mods in their favorite game! If your kid is a Minecraft fan, don’t wait – register today!
ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS: ANYTIME
Swan Boat Rides
Celebrate spring in the most Boston way possible: with a 15-minute paddleboat cruise that has been enjoyed by families from around the world since 1877. Everyone should definitely do this at least once in their lives, and it’s not even expensive at all – kids ride for $2, adults for $3.50, seniors for $3, babies for free.
Salem Witch Museum
More history: there’s no better way to bring colonial America to life than visiting the spooky site of the Witch Trials! The museum is open from 10am-5pm daily, and it costs $11 for adults, $8 for kids ages 6-14. For a quick intro, check out these videos on their website, featuring kids’ questions about the trials.
Old South Meeting House
The site where the Boston Tea Party was launched is great to visit year-round, with exhibits, scavenger hunts, audio tours, a gift shop, and events galore, but they really pull out all the stops for spring vacation. Activities for kids include Designing A Meeting House, searching for architectural features, relaxing in a weekly Tots’ Corner, learning how a Sounding Board helped to project a speaker’s voice (did you know that was a thing? I didn’t until just now!), and more. Admission is free on April 15!
Charles River Esplanade
Get some fresh air in one of the most breathtaking scenic locations in the city! The Esplanade is a great place for a walk (or a run with your jogging stroller), and the Esplanade Playspace is guaranteed to be swarmed on sunny days this week. There are two other playgrounds as well, and they feature everything from zip lines to climbing structures to tubes and tunnels. Bring a picnic, and don’t forget your sunscreen!
Top of the Hub Skywalk
The top of the second tallest building in Boston boasts an astounding 360-degree view of the city from the 50th floor – you can see up to 100 miles away on a clear day! Tickets are $18 for adults, $13 for kids ages 3-12, free for babies and toddlers. The thrill is obvious… and when you’re done, come in and say hi to us in the mall downstairs!