Situated on 26 acres in the quiet northern 'burbs, Stone Zoo is beloved by many as the smaller, simpler counterpart to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. But recently, Stone Zoo has been busy setting itself apart—with a modern new entrance, and now, an innovative exhibit celebrating the exotic, colorful creatures that live as our neighbors to the south. Caribbean Coast will be a permanent fixture in Stoneham, and, as my kids and I recently discovered, a big reason to make the trip.
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My kids are always excited for a trip to the Franklin Park Zoo; I mean, who isn't awed by lions, gorillas, or those gorgeous, roaming peacocks? But when we learned that some new animals were taking up temporary residence in Franklin Park this summer—life-sized, moving, roaring dinosaurs, no less—our curiosity was piqued even more than usual. So, on a quiet Wednesday afternoon in June, my 6-year-old played hooky from kindergarten and we went into Boston to take in Destination Dino, on display at the Franklin Park Zoo through September 3. Here's what we saw—and what to know before you go.
You've signed your last permission slip, figured out teacher's gifts, and even fished the flip-flops out from the dark reaches of the closet. You give yourself a pat on the back—before suddenly realizing that you haven't figured out summer camp yet. Whether you have a preschooler or a teenager, signing kids up for summer camp is key to surviving those long, hot summer days. But, don't panic; you can still find a spot.
We've sussed out several of our partner camps with availability all over the Boston area. It's amazing what kids can do too! Think specialty camps where kids can learn to sail, act, sing, code, build robots, drones, or debate...or good old traditional camps where they do a bit of everything. There's a perfect summer out there for your kid. Don't see what you like here? Check our Boston Summer Camp Guide and Directory for more options and call for availability. Once you figure out camp, hit our summer fun guide to help you out the rest of the time.
Tucked on the southern New England coast between New York and Boston, Providence sometimes gets overlooked as a family travel destination. But the self-proclaimed "Creative Capital" is a hive of kid-friendly art, American history, and waterfront fun. It's a lot less crowded and touristy than other urban centers, which helps when you have kids in tow. What's more, Providence is a short drive from some truly stunning beaches, allowing for a surf-and-turf mix of activities over the course of a warm weekend. Here's a checklist of can't-go-wrong actvities for a visit.
Obstacle courses are a hot trend right now, and I'm all for it: navigating ropes, walls, and mazes inspire kids to use their muscles and brains. While my boys love the indoor obstacle courses cropping up around Boston, the arrival of warm weather means they can visit outdoor obstacle courses, where nature provides additional beauty (and challenges).
Amuseument parks are a big thrill for kids; but for younger ones, they can be little scary, too. New Hampshire's Story Land gets it. Nestled in the Mount Washington Valley, Story Land was created more than 60 years ago to simulate a storybook village where characters and animals can come to life to charm children. It's grown to include more than 30 rides (most recently the "Roar-O-Saurus") and splashy stage shows (Daniel Tiger visits this summer), but has maintained a low-key, family-friendly feel that's geared to kids 2 to 12 years old (though we find it especially appealing for preschoolers and young elementary schoolers). It's also a morning drive away from Boston (see that, Disney), and about half the price of a day at Six Flags Great Adventure. Read on for tips on a Story Land trip...with a little planning, it's possible you'll be just as enchanted as the kids.
Calling all active kids! A nationwide adventure race created just for children ages 5 and up is swinging through Boston, and it promises some heart-pumping fun for families. The Kids Obstacle Challenge will be held one day only, on May 19 at Kalon Farm in Lancaster (just less than hour west of the city) before it moves on to Washington, D.C. Expect mud pits, rock walls, ball pits, rope challenges, and more mud...basically an outdoor version of the ninja warrior courses that have become so popular. If you have kids who love to have fun, get messy, and challenge themselves, read on for more details about this one-day-only event.
Catch 'em before they disappear again! For the first time since 2012, an animatronic dinosaur exhibit will be on loan to the Franklin Park Zoo. Destination Dino will feature more than a dozen moving, roaring, life-sized dinos, on display from May 26 through December 3. It's like Dino Dan or Dana come to life...right here in Boston.