Friday, December 20, 2013

Kid Friendly Museums In and Around Boston

With the chilly temperatures and the whole winter ahead of us, I'm always looking for ideas on fun things to do with kids. They took the plunge the other day and dug forts in the snow with grandma, but that's not going to happen every day. For the record, it took half an hour to outfit them in snow-proof gear! Today I ventured out with them myself and it was definitely fun!

Whether you live in the Boston area or you're traveling here, there are many museums in this cultural hub that cater to families - whether it's a place specifically designed for children or an 'adult' museum with great kids programs. Here are some of our favorites, both popular and from a path less traveled. We hope you'll find this list helpful! 

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Boston Children's Museum: The ultimate kids museum for an all-day adventure. To avoid crowds, weekday mornings are great - we like the more peaceful atmosphere and lots of breathing room. So much to do here for kids of all ages and interests. (Boston; adults $14, kids 1-15 $14, kids under 1 free; Fridays 5 to 9 pm - $1 admission)

Museum of Science: Fun for all kids but especially for the 5 and up age, lots of learning and hands on activities, as well as an Omni theater and the Charles Hayden Planetarium. Explore the human body, wildlife, math, science, marine biology, and so much more... (Boston; adults $23, kids 3-11 $20, Seniors $21, kids under 3 free)

Museum of Fine Arts: Although it is an art lover's paradise, it's not off limits to kids! Check out their special kids and family programs. You know your child best, the museum and exhibit artwork cannot be touched and there is no running allowed - so it may not be for everyone. (Boston; adults $25, kids 7-17 FREE after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston public school holidays, otherwise $10, Seniors $23, kids under 6 always free)

Harvard Museum of Natural History: Dinosaurs, meteorites, gemstones, and animals from around the globe may be just the thing for some older children who are curious about these subjects. There is also a variety of kids programs and events available. (Cambridge; adults $12, kids 3-18 $8, Seniors $10, kids under 3 free)

Peabody Essex Museum: PEM has a variety of kid-friendly initiatives and always comes up with new activities for kids. Drop-in art making on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-3 pm is included in admission. (Salem; adults $18, Seniors $15, kids and youth 16 and under free)

Amelia Park Children's Museum: A children's museum in western Massachusetts that's worth a visit. Building, art and crafts, indoor play space, pretend play at the doctor and bank, definitely lots to explore. (Westfield; adults $7, kids 1 and older $7, Seniors 60+ $3.50, kids under 1 free)

American Textile History Museum: Spinning, weaving, recycling, and designing - it's so much more than just a textile history museum. Past exhibitions include explorations of bridal dress history, space suits, kites, and 1930s fashions - always something new to explore. (Lowell; adults $8, kids 6-16 and older $6, Seniors 65+ $6, kids under 6 free, adult admission coupon available online, see free events)

Paul Revere House: It is fascinating for children to see how people used to live back in time. The restored Paul Revere dwelling is downtown Boston's oldest building dating back to about 1680 and offers a fascinating look into life in colonial New England. (Boston; adults $3.50, kids 5-17 $1, Seniors and college students $3)

The Children's Museum of New Hampshire: While not technically in Massachusetts, but a very accessible location for those living in the north part of the state. A ton of hands-on fun exploring flight, paleontology, building and problem solving, music and sound, and pretend play, among other things. (Dover, NH; adults and children over 1 $9, seniors 65+ $8, kids under 1 free)

Children's Museum at Holyoke: Another fun museum option where children can run around and touch anything they want! Imaginative play, climbing structures, water play, a TV studio, ambulance, fork lift, and grocery store are just a few of the things to entertain your littles. (Holyoke; adults and children over 1 $7, seniors 65+ $3.50, kids under 1 free)

Battleship Cove Naval Ship Museum: Boys and girls alike will love this amazing museum with memorabilia, exhibits, and a real naval ship to explore! It's great to visit both in the winter and the summer. (Fall River; adults $17, kids 6-12 $10.50, kids under 6 free)

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A lot of these museums also offer birthday party packages, so if you're looking for an out-of-the-ordinary way to celebrate your child's birthday (hassle free for you), it's worth checking out.

We've visited most of these, but there a few are definitely on our list of places to check out this winter. While we love to be home, cooking, baking, playing indoors - we all need a change of pace sometimes. If you're local, find out if your public library provides free passes or discounts to these museums - we almost never pay full price!

Know a place in Massachusetts that we haven't mentioned and you love? Please share below!

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