South Suburbs

10 Reasons to Go to Plimoth Plantation over Thanksgiving and Christmastime

All elementary schoolers learn about the first Thanksgiving and early Native American and colonial life. But did you know that Boston kids are less than an hour away from a living museum where this era is reenacted almost everyday? Plimoth Plantation, located 2.5 miles north of modern-day Plymouth, is a wonderful place to visit anytime, but is particularly special during November and December when seasonal presentations and historic feasts bring the first holidays to life. Bundle up and make plans for a cozy, fascinating day on this bustling property; whether they share a meal with a "pilgrim" or play a traditional game with a member of the Wampanoag Nation, your kids will definitely leave Plimoth with a taste of how their New England forebears lived.

All Aboard The Polar Express: Christmas Train Rides Near Boston

What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked—especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's picture book about believing in the magic of Christmas, captured the hearts and imaginations of kids and adults alike. During the holiday season train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits from Santa bring Christmas stories like The Polar Express to life for all who believe.

Although we could make the trek to New Hampshire's White Mountains for a magical Christmas train experience, we have plenty of delightful options much closer to Boston. The seats fill up very quickly, though, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now.

Just-Spooky-Enough Haunted Houses and Halloween Attractions for Boston Kids

Halloween is a holiday that everyone from toddlers to grandparents can enjoy, but the fear factor can be a little intense for some kids. While there are many gory and gruesome options for 'tweens and teens, it can be hard to find Halloween activities that can feel suitably exciting (but not terrifying) for the elementary-school set. Here are six local activities with varying levels of scariness that will entertain kids ages 6 to 12 without scaring the pants off of them. And for even littler folk, check out our Halloween picks for toddlers and preschoolers.

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20 Free (or Almost Free) Halloween Activities for Families in and Around Boston

The days finally have a real fall crispness to them, the leaves are turning, and front steps are flickering with the glow of carved pumpkins at night. There’s lots of spooky fun and not-so-spooky fun to be had, from costume parades to pumpkin festivals, and there's plenty to do for free. Take the kids to a few of these free Halloween activities for families—and save your money for goodies to give to trick-or-treaters.

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Halloween Events at Zoos Around Boston

How do you possibly make Halloween even more fun for children? By adding some real live animals in the mix! Zoos in New England are getting into the Halloween spirit and inviting guests to visit in costume to trick or treat with the critters who live there. Halloween events at all zoos are even included with the price of admission...and costumes are highly encouraged, of course.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Banned Books, Fun Physics, and Giant Pumpkins; Sept 25- 29

What would we do without our libraries? For one thing, we wouldn't necessarily know about all the interesting, commemorative months and weeks being celebrated around the country. This week kicks off with a nod to Hispanic Heritage Month with an event to open preschoolers' eyes (and ears) to Spanish music, when Berklee dynamo Naty Hernandez leads a singalong on Boylston. A day later, older kids can take a stand against censorship with a clever craft project for Banned Books Week in the North End. 

You wouldn't know it by the balmy temps outside, but some outdoor programs are ending for the season, and a public arts' program on the Greenway closes with a showing of a Tim Burton classic. Physics takes the spotlight with a new program in the south 'burbs, while up north, the Topsfield Fair gets going with our favorite fall spectacle of all: gargantuan pumpkins

For more interesting activities this week in Boston and beyond, check out our Events Calendar.

Got a Horse Lover? Here are 6 Spots for Riding Lessons Around Boston

For many kids, learning to ride a horse is a distant dream. The good news? That dream could become a reality with several stables and farms offering lessons within easy driving distance of Boston. Some cater to beginners, and others only to committed equestrians, but they all offer lessons to kids dreaming of riding into the sunset. Find more interesting, out-of-box athletic programs in our class guide.

6 Corn Mazes Near Boston With Fun Extras Like Zip Lines, Rides, and Playgrounds

Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of finding their way through winding paths to solve a mystery, claim a prize, or just make it to the other side – a perfect fall activity that gets kids and parents working together. Choose a farm with a corn maze to take your apple picking and pumpkin patch excursions up a level, plan an unforgettable birthday bash for your child, or just have a blast as a family. Here are some of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure—some are opening this weekend. Note: Most mazes are not stroller friendly, so if you’re bringing young children, consider using a backpack carrier.

Six Boston-Area Playgrounds with Shade

Recently, we went on a hunt for special playgrounds that have unique elements that make them worthy of getting in the car and driving to. But in the dog days of summer, we have one more criteria that's essential for a perfect day at the park: shade. Here are six tree-lined parks and playgrounds with an hour of Boston that have natural elements to keep you cool while you're having fun.

Top Spots for Summer Stargazing around Boston

Summer is all about exploring the wonders of the outdoor world, and we have plenty of ideas for filling your days with meaningful family activities to fill your photo albums and memories. However, some of the most brilliant spectacles of summer are visible after the sun goes down. Along with the big show—the Perseid Meteor Shower, lighting up the night sky on August 12th and 13th—there are stars, planets, and moons to behold, if you're in the right place on a clear night. Consider bringing the family to one of these observatories or "star parties" one late-summer or early-fall evening; and if daytime activities are more your family's speed, stay tuned for our upcoming article about watching the partial solar eclipse with kids on August 21st.

Note that most events involving telescopes or other equipment—not to mention late-night hours—are best for kids around age 5 and up. Also, most of the following happenings are canceled or postponed if it's cloudy or foggy, so be sure to call the organization or check its website or social media pages on the day of the event to make sure it's on. Happy viewing!

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