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15 Things To Do In Boston With Kids

20 January, 2022by Bounce

Welcome to Boston, home to the Boston Marathon, America's first public park and library, as well as 23 neighborhoods with some great shopping and dining options. It is one of the oldest cities in the United States and also a popular tourist destination, and about 20 million people travel here every year.

This city is the capital of Massachusetts and a wonderful place to take a family vacation. With so many creative activities, museums, playgrounds and historic locations you shouldn't have any trouble finding things to do in Boston with kids. Before you take off on your adventure around the city, leave everyone's bags and backpacks at a luggage storage service in Boston.

Take a Boat Ride at the Public Botanical Garden

The public garden is found near the Boston Common so you can head there right after. This oasis in the city is a great place for kids and adults to relax. You can take a nice stroll around the grounds and maybe even see some ducks and swans swimming in the lagoon.

Beautiful floral gardens decorate the area as well as statues of Mrs. Mallard and other characters from the Make Way For Ducklings book. After you are done exploring the gardens, take a 20 minute swan boat ride, which has been a local tradition for the past 100 years.

Visit the New England Aquarium

With penguins, sea dragons, sharks, lionfish and sea turtles, people of all ages will have fun at this activity. The most amazing exhibit is the giant ocean tank, which is four stories high and home to some beautifully colored fish that you would usually find in a Caribbean coral reef.

In another part of the aquarium, you can see Atlantic harbor seals swim around with sea lions. Young kids will love the Touch Tank where they can feel and hold hermit crabs or starfish. If you want to see the animals being fed, trained, or put on live performances you can check the schedule to find the best time to go.

Take a Family Walk on the Freedom Trail

This is one of Boston's top attractions since it brings you to many historic sites in the city. Walking the 2.5-mile long trail is a great way to see the town and learn about Boston, and many of the places that you pass by can be visited for free. You will pass by some iconic spots like the Old State House, Old North Church, Faneuil Hall or the Paul Revere House.

This activity requires a lot of walking, so you might want to take it slow or do small parts at a time if you have small children. Another option is to take a trolley tour, or follow the guided Boston by Little Feet tour made specifically for kids. Be sure to treat the family to Boston street food after this trek!

Go to the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument

This ship is nicknamed Old Ironsides and is a place to go when visiting Boston. It is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world and was first launched back in 1797. This ship fought during the War of 1812 and was never defeated in battle. The USS Constitution is now open to the public for visits and history lessons.

Found right next door is the Bunker Hill Monument that stands at 221 feet tall. It marks the spot of the first significant battle of the 1775 American Revolution. The monument has 294 steps and if you manage to climb to the top you will be rewarded with an incredible view.

Catch a Game at Fenway Park

Fenway Park was opened in 1912 and holds the title as the oldest ballpark in America. There are regular games held here during the season or you can take an hour long guided tour learning about the park and some of the famous athletes that played there, like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

See the home of the Boston Red Sox and the exact place where a 502 foot home run was hit by Ted Williams. If you get hungry you can treat yourself to some of the best ballpark hotdogs sold on-site by Fenway Frank.

Take a Ride on the Boston Duck Tours

Try the Boston Duck Tours! They are a fun 80-minute experience where you are taken aboard a boat styled after a WWII water vehicle. You will be brought to different local landmarks where you can quack at the observers and see great views of the city on the Charles River.

The Duck Tours are a great way to see different parts of the city, although it is a bit expensive. However, you can use your tickets to get a discount at other fun attractions like the New England Aquarium or Museum of Science.

Play Around at the Boston Children's Museum

This museum is special, as it is one of the oldest and biggest of its kind around the world. It was founded in 1913 and has given a fun and interactive experience to lots of kids since then. You can enjoy areas like the Playspace that is made for smaller children, the New Balance Climb which is a fun three-story vertical maze, or the Japanese House that was gifted by the city of Kyoto and designed after a real silk merchant's home.

There are often programs with creative events going on at the museum, but if you can't make it at those times your kids can still have fun exploring the area and its hands-on activities. It opens daily at 9 am but entry is only $1 on Fridays between 5 pm and 9 pm, making that the best time to go if you want to save money.

See the World at the Mapparium

Boston's Maparrium is another one of the unique and fun things to do as a family in the city. This building is actually the biggest walk-in globe in the world and is found inside the Mary Eddy Baker Library. The whole globe spans 30 feet and can be crossed on a glass bridge that splits it through the middle.

It is the perfect activity for anybody who loves geography. Fun fact, since the globe was constructed back in the 1930s it has a slightly outdated border formation.

Enjoy the Greenspace at the Boston Common

The Boston Common is 50 acres large and the oldest park in all of the United States. Over time the area had been decorated and transformed with statues, trees, monuments and fountains, like the Brewer Fountain which stands at 22 feet tall.

Today you can find fields perfect for playing sports and the Frog Pond which hosts regular events. In warmer months the Frog Pond is turned into a splash pad which is perfect for a hot summer day, and during the winter it is transformed into an ice skating rink. Nearby you will also find a carousel and playground.

Appreciate Artwork at the Museum of Fine Arts

This Boston museum was founded back in 1840 and has since gathered an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, prints and other forms of creative expression. It is the oldest museum in the United States and hosts permanent and traveling exhibits of Asian art, impressionism, American art and more.

The Museum of Fine Arts has specific activities dedicated towards younger visitors, like fun scavenger hunts using downloadable sheets with clues to finding objects or images in the artwork. You can also get complimentary sketchpads and pencils from the Sharf Visitor Center, or an audio guide for kids if you visit the Contemporary or Art of the Americas collections.

Learn about the Boston Tea Party Ships

Do the kids adore cool museums? One of the fun family friendly activities in town is a visit to the Boston Tea Party Ships. Here everyone can learn about the event that changed American History in an entertaining and educative way. Once you enter the Meeting House you will be transported back to December 16, 1773. Actors posing as colonists will tell stories and you will be given a disguise to become part of the Sons of Liberty.

Your adventure will take you to Griffin's Wharf where you will board a ship and join the patriots in dumping tea overboard. It can be an expensive family activity but an unforgettable experience.

Go Bowling at Kings Dining and Entertainment

Kings Dining and Entertainment has five locations around downtown Boston and nearby areas that offer lots of family-friendly fun. The buildings have huge areas with glowing neon bowling lanes and other fun arcade games to try. See who wins at air hockey, corn hole or a giant Jenga game.

If you get hungry there are some tasty meals available on site. Treat yourself and the kids to some yummy pizza, wings and milkshakes.

See the Animals at Franklin Park Zoo

The Franklin Park Zoo is 72 acres large and home to an array of habitats and ecosystems with lots of exotic animals to see. It can take a while to walk around the zoo and younger children might get tired. Thankfully there is a small train that can take you around the property, as well as fun rides like a carousel and playground to stop at.

The exhibits found here include the Kalahari Kingdom where you will find lions and striped bongos, the Giraffe Savana that is also home to zebras, the Aussie Aviary where colorful birds fly around and the Butterfly Landing where some of the most elegant butterflies can be found. Some exhibits invite you to join them for activities like gorilla feeding time at the Tropical Forest area.

Be Amazed by the LEGOLAND Discovery Center

At LEGOLAND, you will find a fun indoor playland where young children can build things with LEGO, race cars and explore areas like an amazing miniature model of Boston at Miniland. They also offer fun workshops and activities at the Model Builder Academy.

Fun rides like the Kingdom Quest Laser Rider or Merlin's Apprentice allow kids to work together to zap enemies with wands or reach the highest point by pedaling. The center has two fun areas with themes of construction and firefighting full of active components like slides or climbing walls.

Shop at Quincy Market

This local market is found inside Faneuil Hall and was the city's first marketplace built back in 1742. The area is beautiful with a central dome surrounded by granite walls and an intricate interior with Roman-style columns.

This is a great social gathering place and also the perfect spot to shop. You can find dozens of restaurants, stores and live entertainers like street musicians. The whole family can have fun exploring the marketplace, and maybe you can find a nice souvenir of your family vacation here too.

What are the Best Family Activities in Boston?

Best Things to do with Younger Children

  • Boston Duck Tours - This is one of the top Boston outdoor activities and the enthusiastic tour guides and constant quacking on the duck tours will keep younger kids entertained.

  • Franklin Park Zoo - Everyone will love to visit the zoo, but small kids will have the time of their lives seeing all of the cool animals.

  • Legoland Discovery Center - Younger children will have the most fun building and exploring the different areas at Legoland.

  • New England Aquarium - Young kids will be amazed by all of the sea creatures, and with areas like the Touch Zone, they can even interact with some of the safer animals.

Best Things to do with Older Children

  • Kings Dining and Entertainment - There are arcade games and bowling alleys perfect for older children who know how to play and enjoy challenging themselves.

  • Fenway Park - Fenway Park is the perfect spot for anyone who is a baseball fan, and older kids might know more about the sport than younger kids.

  • Mapparium - Older children will enjoy exploring this three-story globe of the earth and can try to find different places on the map.

  • Museum of Fine Arts - Younger kids might get bored at the fine arts museum, and with all of the walking older children might be able to experience more here.

Free Things to do with Kids

  • Freedom Trail - The Freedom Trail is completely free to walk along, and many places that you pass on your stroll can be visited at no charge too.

  • USS Constitution Museum and Bunker Hill Monument - This is one of the most interesting activities that you can visit in Boston and entry won't cost you anything either.

  • Boston Common - This local park is open to everyone so both locals and tourists can spend time here for free, although some activities at the Frog Pond will cost money.

Find Family-Friendly Activities in Boston

Boston is a city full of tourist attractions and there are so many things to do here as a family. If you make it all the way through this list you can check out other activities like the Charles River Esplanade, the historic Fort Warren, Castle Island or Fort Independence. Go snacking at the food trucks in South Boston or relax in a waterfront park. Whatever you do, make sure to visit some of the fantastic Boston landmarks.

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