This venerable funhouse (see Children’s Museum) pioneered the interactive-exhibit concept now found in museums worldwide. It includes a climbing wall, a Big Dig-style (see The Big Dig) construction zone, and a science playground where tracks, balls, and bubbles encourage kids to investigate, and make learning fun. The museum runs a program of special events throughout the year covering a range of subjects, including health, engineering, and literacy.
Hands-on learning exhibits, such as assembling animal skeletons or building a computer model, teach children the thrill of discovery. The Omni Theater delights with its fast-paced IMAX projections, while the planetarium places the cosmos within reach. There are also 4-D film presentations and a butterfly garden (see Museum of Science).
Public Garden • 617 522 1966 • Open mid-Apr–mid-Sep: usually 10am–5pm daily • Adm
If Boston were to have a mascot, it would likely sport white feathers and a graceful, arching neck. The swan boats have been a Public Garden fixture since the first fleet glided onto the pond here in 1877.
Prudential Center, New England Aquarium, and Museum of Science • 617 267 3825 • Open mid-Mar–Nov: 9am–dusk daily • Adm • www.bostonducktours.com
Board a World War II-style amphibious vehicle that plies the Charles River as smoothly as it navigates Back Bay streets. This historic tour encompasses the entire peninsula and is conducted by informative and entertaining guides.
The aquarium (see New England Aquarium) goes to great lengths to keep kids entertained through a variety of interactive displays. Nothing illustrates this better than the Edge of the Sea exhibit, where children can touch some of the region’s typical tidepool dwellers.
For children with even the slightest interest in sports, a Red Sox game at legendary Fenway Park is pure magic. It is impossible for fans not to feel part of the action at the country’s most intimate professional baseball park.
800 Boylston St • 617 859 0648 • Open Mar–Oct: 10am–10pm daily; Nov–Feb: 10am–8pm daily • Adm
Located on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower, this observatory provides a rewarding Boston geography lesson. Should the jaw-dropping, 360˚ views not keep the youngsters enthralled, the audio guide to Boston’s history will. The swift, ear-popping elevator ride to the top is also a thrill.
Rose Kennedy Greenway • www.rosekennedygreenway.org
Set inside the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the linear green parkland in the heart of Boston, this charming seasonal carousel features hand-carved figures of 14 local animals, including a squirrel, turtle, cod, lobster, whale, harbor seal, skunk, 3 types of butterfly, and more. It is also accessible to individuals with disabilities.
As soon as temperatures dip below freezing, kids flock to quaint Frog Pond for ice skating and hot chocolate at the adjacent hut. Boston’s oft-oppressive summer days lure them back for splashing and fun beneath the central fountain.
1 Franklin Park Rd, Dorchester • 617 541 5466 • Open 10am–5pm Mon–Fri, 10am–6pm Sat–Sun (Oct–Mar: 10am–4pm daily) • Adm • www.zoonewengland.com
Boston’s urban zoo, dating back to 1913, houses over 200 species of animals. Its Tropical Forest section houses gorillas, leopards, and other exotic creatures. Bird’s World showcases and provides a safe environment for dozens of species. The seasonal Franklin Farm lets kids get close to domestic farm animals.