If you’re planning on taking the kids through Boston, they might be dreading walking the Freedom Trail and playing in the Frog Pond, yet again. These are classic Boston activities that everyone should experience, but they can get tiring, especially for exciteable young ones. Here’s eight new ideas the whole family will love.
There are dozens of museums in the Greater Boston area, but none combine interactive activities and history quite like the Boston Tea Party Museum. It’s beginnings go back to 1841 when it was called the Boston Museum, where you could originally see famous artworks of John Singleton Copley and the like, wax figures, theatrical performances and more. Today, it’s located in the Seaport Districts and visitors of all ages can experience throwing tea in the Harbor, as the colonists did during the famous Boston Tea Party. Cost: $16.00 for children, $26.00 for adults
The Blue Hills lie just outside of Boston city limits, making this a perfectly accessible day trip. It’s a great spot year-round, as it’s open for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and you have access to 125 miles of hiking trails the rest of the year. One of the most alluring aspects of the Blue Hills, especially for little ones, is the Trailside Museum located at the foot of Great Blue Hill. It’s a sanctuary that takes in animals that otherwise would not survive on their own. On any given day they have a variety of species, often including deer, fox, otters, and bald eagles. Cost: $3.oo for children, $5.00 for adults
The Harbor Islands are one part of Boston that doesn’t get advertised enough, and they make another great outdoor escape when the city feels too crowded for kids. Ferries will take you to George’s Island and Spectacle Island, with trips a few times a day. There are trails around each island open and waiting for kids to explore. Bring a picnic on a nice day and enjoy a spectacular view of the city skyline. Be sure to check out the Harbor Islands’ website for their free ferry days.
Cost: $10.00 for children’s ferry ticket, $17.00 for adults, or family four-pack for $43.00
Take a tour of the Taza chocolate factory
Located in Somerville, Taza Chocolate is a local delicacy. You’ve seen their famous circular chocolate bars in specialty shops around the city, and now is your chance to watch them make their specialty chocolate up close. Its stone-ground preparation means the process is as minimal as possible, ensuring the best possible flavors within the cacao beans. Tours are offered every day, just be sure to make a reservation online first.
Cost: $8 per person, children under 3 free
Free Fun Fridays
Thanks to the Highland Street Foundation, anyone can visit a variety of museums every Friday in the summer, ranging from the Boston Children’s Museum to Plymoth Plantation to Tanglewood. This is a great option for families as museum tickets can be up to $25 per person today, not including lunch and the obligatory souvenir you’ll be obliged to pick up. Each Friday in the summer, eight different museums in Massachusetts offer free admission, and the line-up changes weekly.
What’s better than flatbread pizza and bowling? Not much. Enter Sacco’s Bowl-Haven in Somerville where you can order food and have it brought right to your lane. For health-conscience parents, rest assured – while flatbread isn’t the healthiest meal, Sacco’s is dedicated to using locally-grown, sustainable ingredients. Their menu varies from classic cheese and herbs to Kalua pork pie, and all pizzas are fired in a wood-burning oven. Cost: Food $15-20; One hour of bowling $25
While it’s generally known that pizza is technically an American invention, Italian families from all over Italy have brought their recipes to the North End. But this area is also the oldest in Boston, and is filled with historical sites like Old North Church and Paul Revere’s House. Boston Pizza Tours makes it easy to combine these subjects. Over the two-hour walking tour, you’ll learn all about the North End and sample three (large) slices of pie from pizza joints in the area. I recommend skipping breakfast for this one.
If you find yourself with a need to entertain the kids on Sunday morning, head over to SOWA Open Market. Located in the South End, this weekly market features local farmers, artists, and plenty of food. Bring the kids to browse the dozens of vendors and grab lunch from one of the many food trucks that come down just for the market. It’s also a great place to get holiday shopping done early. Cost: Free Admission