Visiting Mass MoCA with Kids - Plus More Things To Do in North Adams, MA in the Berkshires

There's so much for kids to see and explore at Mass MoCA.
There's so much for kids to see and explore at Mass MoCA.
10/14/23 - By Ally Noel

North Adams, MA, a hub of arts and culture in the Berkshires, is home to one of the largest centers for visual and performing arts in the US—the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). Mass MoCA is a massive, vibrant space where creativity knows no bounds, even for the little ones. Amidst the colossal industrial buildings, there are a ton of activities tailored for children.

Mass MoCA is housed in a renovated factory space, which allows for large and open galleries spread throughout 14 buildings and 250,000 square feet. In addition to the museum, there are several retail spots, restaurants, a coffee shop, and some outdoor art exhibits. You can also grab a picnic table or spread out a blanket on a grassy spot and enjoy the sunshine and mountain views. So wear comfortable shoes, grab a map with your tickets, and plan to spend a day exploring Mass MoCA.

I recently visited Mass MoCA with my 11-year-old daughter and 10-year-old niece, and we all had a blast. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Mass MoCA with kids, plus more family-friendly things to do in North Adams, MA (including great North Adams hotels).

Check out our New England Family Travel Guide for more nearby fun, including our list of 25 things to do in the Berkshires with kids.


Visiting Mass MoCA with Kids - Plus More Things To Do in North Adams, MA Mass MoCA
Wander around Mass MoCA and you never know what you'll find.

Visiting Mass MoCA with Kids

Mass MoCA Exhibits

Mass MoCA is packed with interactive exhibitions designed to engage budding artists. From exhibits where kids can touch, move, and even create their own art to digital installations that respond to their movements, this place will create an art lover out of even the youngest of visitors.

Upon my arrival at Mass MoCA, I asked for recommendations on what to see at the ticket counter. They provided me with a great list of interactive exhibits that would be fun for all of us.

We kicked off our art adventure with EJ Hill’s Brake Run Helix. When we entered the giant gallery and saw the pink wooden roller coaster, we immediately knew this museum was different. We plopped down on a bench and waited in anticipation to watch a lucky guest get to ride the coaster. (Visitors 15 and older can make a reservation online to ride it, though at press time it was paused for maintenance.) A small crowd gathered for the event, and we all watched the blue car zoom down the track.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, Mass MoCA has a wonderful rotating exhibit schedule. Some of our favorite experiences were listening to the voices echo through the Tonal Walkway, getting immersed in the bright colors of The Sol Lewitt Wall Drawings, and playing with all of the instruments in Gunnar Schonbeck’s No Experience Required.

RELATED: The Best Children's Museums in the US

Visiting Mass MoCA with Kids - Plus More Things To Do in North Adams, MA Mass MoCA
Young visitors can get creative with hands-on art projects in Kidspace.

Mass MoCA Kidspace

Mass MoCA has a whole area dedicated to children. This award-winning, child-centered art gallery is broken into two spaces—a gallery space that presents exhibitions from artists whose work appeals to children and the hands-on studio space, ArtBar.

My tween daughter and niece walked into Kidspace rather skeptically, silently declaring themselves “too old for the kids' room.”  But when I grabbed a tray of supplies from ArtBar, we ended up spending about an hour immersed in creating art.

Mass MoCA Scavenger Hunts

While you are in Kidspace, make sure to pick up one of the museum’s scavenger hunts (or print them online). We grabbed both the beginner scavenger hunt and the expert hunt and used them to guide our way around the museum. These hunts turn art exploration into an exciting adventure with a little reward at the end!. Armed with clues, we went on a mission to discover specific artworks.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in New England with Kids Before They Grow Up

Visiting Mass MoCA with Kids - Plus More Things To Do in North Adams, MA Mass MoCA
Kids can take home their art projects!

Mass MoCA Admission

Mass MoCA is open 10am-5pm every day except Tuesday. Advance online ticket purchase is recommended, but not required. At press time, adult tickets cost $20, while tickets for kids 16 and younger were significantly less. Kids 5 and under get in free.

Other Things to Do in North Adams, MA with Kids

1. Natural Bridge State Park

Located just outside North Adams, MA, Natural Bridge State Park features the only natural white marble arch in North America. Kids will enjoy exploring the park's trails, caves, and of course, the impressive marble bridge.

2. Hoosac Valley Train Rides

Many kids love trains, and the scenic Hoosac Valley Train Rides are a great way to experience the beauty of the Berkshires. The rides typically offer picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and landscapes. Make sure to check out the railway's calendar of special events.

3. Mount Greylock

Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts and offers panoramic views of the Berkshire Mountains and surrounding states. Auto roads are open for the summer season and typically close at the end of October. Make sure to stop at the visitor center to grab a trail map and learn about the park’s year-round programming.

4. Greylock Bowl & Golf

This old-school bowling alley evokes all the happy childhood nostalgia. Greylock Bowl has classic wooden lanes with modern automatic scoring, a sports bar, and golf simulators.

5. Windsor Lake

Windsor Lake is a scenic spot where families can enjoy picnicking, fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and more. There are also playgrounds, making it an excellent location for a family day out. Enjoy free outdoor concerts on Wednesday evenings in the summer months.

6. Jaeschke Orchards

If picnicking in an apple orchard surrounded by the beautiful Berkshire Mountains is your thing, then Jaeschke Orchards is your place. Buy flowers in the spring, watch the beautiful fruit trees bloom in the summer, and go apple picking in the fall.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in Boston Before Kids Grow Up

Visiting Mass MoCA with Kids - Plus More Things To Do in North Adams, MA Trail House restaurant
Dig into a delicious farm-to-table meal at Trail House. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Where to Eat in North Adams, MA

7. Trail House

Named after its proximity to the Appalachian Trail and Mohawk Trail, the Trail House offers a menu of farm-to-table options that will delight every member of your family. There are burgers, steaks, chicken and seafood dishes, and more. The children's menu features pasta and chicken bites. Just remember to save room for the chocolate brownie sundae for dessert.

8. Bascom Lodge (seasonal)

Located on top of Mount Greylock, Bascom Lodge is a gorgeous (and delicious) place to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner from late May through late October. At least three locals informed me that JK Rowling declared the rustic stone and wood lodge to be the location of the North American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

9. Bigg Daddy’s

While you are at Mass MoCA, Bigg Daddy’s Philly Steak House is a perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat. In addition to cheesesteaks, there are burgers, BBQ platters, wings, salads, and more.

RELATED: Day Trips and Weekend Getaways from Boston

Visiting Mass MoCA with Kids - Plus More Things To Do in North Adams, MA: Hotel Downstreet
Hotel Downstreet is located within walking distance of many activities for families.

Great North Adams Hotels for Families

10. Hotel Downstreet

Hotel Downstreet is located on Main Street in North Adams, MA, making it easy to walk to restaurants and other local attractions. Downstreet also offers spacious rooms, an indoor pool, and complimentary coffee.

11. The Porches Inn at Mass MoCA

This charming boutique inn is located just steps away from Mass MoCA. Porches has 47 rooms and is stocked with family-friendly amenities like a four-season outdoor heated pool, complimentary breakfast, and communal bonfires.

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Unless noted, photos by Ally Noel

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