South Suburbs

Patriots, Pirates, Castles: Theme Playgrounds Spark Imaginative Play around Boston

Do you have a child who dreams about being a pro sports star, a pirate, or a princess? A handful of forward-thinking playgrounds in Massachusetts really take imaginative play to the next level. From a pair of Patriots-themed parks sure to thrill G.O.A.T. and Gronk fans to a castle-shaped playground fit for wannabe royals, these outdoor play areas—all within an hour of Boston and free and open to the public year-round—are perfect for kids who love to play pretend. For more parks that justify a trip beyond your own 'hood, check out our recent roundups of our favorite destination playgrounds and brain-boosting playgrounds.

Jack O’Lantern Journey at Franklin Park Zoo: 5 Tips for a Fun Family Evening

Eager to experience some Halloween night magic before October 31? This fall season, Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo is just the place to do it. Through November 4, the zoo is home to the Jack O’Lantern Journey, a spectacular jack-o’-lantern display filled with thousands of intricately carved pumpkins over a half-mile trail. I headed to the event with my two children to find out everything you need to know before visiting. Here are my insider tips to make sure your visit with children is a real treat (with no tricks).

20 Free Halloween Activities and Parades 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 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 no-cist Halloween activities for families—and save your pennies for goodies to give to trick-or-treaters.

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. For more ideas for littler folk, check out our free Halloween picks.

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16 Boston-Area Beer Gardens and Oktoberfests that are Fun for Families

Boston has seen an absolute boom in beer gardens (or biergartens) in the last few years, and luckily for anyone with kids, many are welcoming to families. If you like to sip a craft brew outside, these are the places to go with little ones in tow: Many have live music, lawn games, and great views. From the heart of the city to several of the suburbs and mountain resorts nearby, there’s likely a beer garden near you that's open from summer through fall or just in celebration of Oktoberfest. Sip—and play!

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

Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of working through a tricky puzzle together, all while enjoying New England's crisp fall weather. Add exciting play areas and quirky country games (like apple and pumpkin blasters), and a corn maze outing becomes one of our favorite fall activities. Here are some of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure. Note: Most mazes are not stroller friendly, so if you’re bringing young children, consider using a backpack carrier.

25 Things We Can't Wait to Do in Boston This Fall

Ah, fall … can there be a better season to get out and do things as a family in Boston? The draining heat of summer is behind us, back to school jitters have subsided, and the threat of winter’s cold and snow is (hopefully) still weeks away. The beauty of nature surrounds us and family fun is plentiful, whether you want to experience a little culture or frolic on a farm. To herald in the season, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite, must-do autumn activities for families.

5 Free Outdoor Playgroups for Boston Babies and Toddlers

As soon as the weather turned warm, I couldn’t wait to get outside with my son. And while we love going to the park or playground by ourselves to swing or play with toys, it’s extra fun when a friend or two can join us. So when I started hearing about outdoor playgroups, an increasingly popular alternative to meet-ups in houses and rec centers, I knew we had to check them out. We’ve mostly been going to the Growing Center (see below) because we live in Somerville, but all of the groups look like really fun (not to mention no-cost) ways to soak up the sunshine and fresh air while meeting new friends.

25 Things to Do on Boston's South Shore with Kids this Summer

Even though I grew up in Boston, I knew very little about the South Shore before I moved there. Much to my delight, in addition to being a beautiful part of New England, there is also a lot of fun things to do, especially in the summer. Here are some top picks that are worth the drive (and possible Cape traffic!) to this special area.

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