Surely you've heard (or seen the giant billboard on the Pike) about the newest Museum of Science exhibit, Nature's Superheroes: Life at the Limits. Or, if you have an animal-crazed nature nut like my seven-year-old son, you haven't stopped hearing about it since learning the traveling exhibit was Boston-bound in 2019. My son and I checked it out the day after it opened, and weren't disappointed: From a micro-animal that could survive temperatures on Pluto to lizards that squirt blood out of their eyes, the fascinating, strange, and downright gross creatures we learned about are excellent kid-conversation fodder. Here's a preview if you decide to make a February staycation outing or winter day trip out of it.
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With three boys who are outgrowing indoor play spaces, I'm always on the hunt for spots where they can get their energy out in cold or wet weather. Indoor obstacle courses, bowling alleys, go-karts, and laser tag often fit the bill, but recently, I kept hearing other moms talk about a new place in Marlborough that combines these activities and more under one (ginormous) roof. The other week, we made the trek to Apex Entertainment Center, and after lifting jaws that had dropped to the ground at the place's sheer size—80,000 square feet!—my kids smiled and whooped their way through three hours of sporty and techie fun. Here's what to expect at the place that bills itself as New England's biggest family entertainment center.
Teaching a child to ski is no easy feat. Between the gear, ticketing costs, and power struggles, it can often be a better bet to sign a child up for ski lessons. Luckily, within an 80-minute drive of Boston, there are a half-dozen simple ski facilities—five downhill mountains, and one cross country course—with gentle, wide-open slopes that are perfect for learning this great winter activity. All offer rentals and lessons, courtesy of experienced instructors who are accustomed to working with new (and sometimes overwhelmed) skiers, and a family-friendly atmosphere where a slopes-confident parent can, alternatively, have plenty of space to teach a child on their own. While a good snowstorm can happen at any time, the mountains are making as much snow as they possibly can. Call or register online ahead as far in advance as possible, and take heart—just like a potty training and two-wheeling, they will get the hang of it eventually! After a few lessons, your family may even feel a bit more ambitious and ready for a classic New England ski weekend getaway!
Each of the past five years, I've planned to bring my Polar Express-obsessed boys to a Christmas-themed train ride down the Cape or Rhode Island. But packed sports schedules and school calendars have caused me to lose steam on the idea of even a slightly far-flung locomotive journey. Luckily, I found out about a new, Polar Express-themed adventure that's right in Boston, lasts all of 20 minutes, costs just $6, and packs real charm and excitement into almost all of that time. New this year, the Museum of Science is running the Polar Express 4-D Experience in its specialty theater space through January 6, 2019. As a bonus: All Aboard! Trains at Science Park, featuring model trains and interactive train tables, is on exhibit, too. Do your kids have trains on the brain? Here's what to expect with a train-themed visit to MOS.
Old West charm? Check. Rugged natural beauty? Check. Toss in four seasons of family-centric fun, and Jackson Hole is an ideal place to introduce kids to the American West. Our extended family—including eight kids between the ages of 3 and 13—went to this postcard-perfect Wyoming valley situated south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park over the summer. But we're already dreaming of returning in the winter for ski and sleigh-ride adventures.
To quote my 6-year-old during one action-packed July day that started with a zip on a "cowboy coaster" and ended with a moose sighting in the backyard of our rental house: "There's just too much to do in Jackson Hole!" To help guide little cowpokes and parents, we've handpicked 25 special activities that will see you through both warm and wintry weather in Wyoming.
For a Mountain West adventure in a more urban setting, read our guide to Denver. Happy trails!
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.
The Boston Globe just crowned it New England's best beach town, and we'll go further to say that Narragansett is tops for families, too. With loads of wide beaches, nature stops, kid-friendly restaurants, and even a little fun park, this low-key alternative to Newport is a great spot for an Ocean State weekend getaway. (It's also just under two hours from Boston by car.) Consider this a short list of activities to make the most of a visit to Narragansett.
When the humidity is soaring and the holiday spirit is in hibernation, a winter wonderland sure is a nice idea. While Santa's Village can't make it cooler outside, it does create the feel of Christmas in July (actually, May through December, with daily hours in the summer). With themed rides like the Chimney Drop, activities like "snow" tubing down a giant slide, and encounters with real, live reindeer, Santa's Village is a uniquely sweet theme park experience akin to Story Land, another New Hampshire gem especially suited to young kids. Here's how to get the most of your trip to the near-North.