Explore Boston

Things to Do in Boston With Kids

One thing I’ve learned as a mom is that traveling with kids is a lot of work. I mean, a lot of work. From researching G-rated-yet-exciting activities to snack preparedness, it’s likely that you’ll want another vacation after this one—alone. You'll be happy to know that Boston caters to the under-age set, and there are loads of things to do with kids here. Museums, parks, cruises, tours that are thick with theatrics. Oddly enough, families can find fun with a variety of water fowl, from swans (Swan Boats) to mallards (Make Way For Ducklings statue) and other kinds of ducks (Boston Duck Tours).

To make your journey to Boston a little easier, I’ve put together some of my favorite kid-friendly fun spots, all guaranteed to earn you hero status and maybe an hour at the hotel bar after they conk out.

New England Aquarium

Explore the world’s waters from the Amazon rain forest to Pacific reefs to the Gulf of Maine, and the creatures living there. Come see the Giant Ocean Tank, a Caribbean coral reef environment boasting 2,000 sea creatures! Other main exhibits include a shark and ray touch tank and a seal center.

Boston Duck Tours

Boston’s original 80-minute amphibious tour is narrated by “conDUCKtors” well versed in local lore and combines a land tour with a splash in the Charles River. Tours depart the Prudential Center and Museum of Science or the New England Aquarium.

Boston Children's Museum

Kick off a visit to this youngster-friendly museum by scaling the giant, three-story New Balance Foundation Climb. Kids engage in interactive and educational displays; exhibits include “Arthur and Friends,” “PlaySpace,” “Our Green Trail” and the Japanese House. Open Sa-Th 10 am-5 pm, F 10 am-9 pm.

Make Way For Ducklings Statue

One of Boston’s most popular photo-op spots, this string of larger-than-life bronze statues in the northeast corner of the Public Garden was created by local artist Nancy Schon and celebrates the fun-loving duckling family in Robert McCloskey’s beloved children’s book, “Make Way For Ducklings.” Open daily, dawn to dusk.

Codzilla

“Wicked fast and wicked fun” is what Bostonians say about the city’s most exciting summer attraction. The thrill boat takes you on a heart-pounding, turbocharged cruise across Boston Harbor at speeds up to 40 mph and performs aquatic aerobics, including 360-degree spins and S-turns. You will get wet!

Boston by Foot

These guided, 90-minute tours are indeed conducted on foot. Regularly offered tours include Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Heart of the Freedom Trail, the Dark Side of Boston and a literature-focused tour. Tours depart multiple times daily, and schedule varies. Tickets: $10-20.

Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove and Greenway Carousel

It is easy to forget that you’re standing in the heart of the Financial District on this stretch of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway. Clusters of honey locust and pin oak trees buffer the noise of nearby traffic and provide shade for families looking to take a break from sightseeing.

Public Garden

Established in 1837, it is the country’s first public botanical garden. Victorian in atmosphere, the lush oasis is coursed with walking paths that wind around memorials, bubbling fountains and benches.

Museum of Science

The Museum of Science is a compelling technology and science-based destination. Permanent exhibits study the weather, mathematics, bird species, dinosaurs, space and the human body, among other “minds-on” topics. Bonus experiences include the Butterfly Garden, the Planetarium, the 4-D Theater and the Mugar Omni Theater.

Swan Boats of Boston

Located on the lagoon in the center of Boston’s idyllic Public Garden, the historic Swan Boats are a legendary local tradition. Owned by the Paget family since 1877, the elegant, pedal-powered vessels feature scenic, 15-minute rides past weeping willows, gardens in bloom and mallard duck families. Weather permitting.

Fort Warren Georges Island Visitor Center

This Civil War-era fort occupies the majority of Georges Island and is completely open to visitors. Explore the deserted caverns, rooms and (sometimes hidden) passageways of the historic landmark at your leisure, or catch special events like Civil War-era lawn games, baseball and more.

Franklin Park Zoo

From lowland gorillas, ring-tailed lemurs and ocelots, to African lions, white tigers, Masai giraffes and Grant’s zebras, Franklin Park Zoo is home to hundreds of exotic animals from around the globe. Exhibits include: Aussie Aviary with its colorful budgies, and Tiger Tails. Open M-F 10 am-5 pm, Sa-Su 10 am-6 pm.

The USS Constitution Museum

Located right in Charlestown Navy Yard, The USS Constitution Museum welcomes families and history buffs to learn more about the historic warship that was named by George Washington. Exhibits include "All Hands On Deck: A Sailor's Life in 1812," "Constitution vs.

Boston Tea Party Ships Museum

This center provides a unique, immersive experience set during a historic time period (1773-1775). Live actors, tea-tossing reenactments, high-tech interactive exhibits, a film and three authentically restored tea ships tell the full story of the Boston Tea Party and its immediate aftermath.

MIT Museum

This microcosm of technological, engineering and scientific strides attracts visitors from around the world.