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Top Attractions in Boston for Kids and Families

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From The Children's Museum to the Franklin Park Zoo, Boston offers a wide array of attractions that will compel both kids and parents. The fact that children might learn something along the way at many of these top picks is just a bonus.

1. Boston Children’s Museum

This long-standing Boston institution presents families with a wonderful option for engaging kids into their surroundings. The interactive exhibits here offer kids a way to enjoy themselves while learning about such topics as ethnicity, health, science, culture, and more. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for children ages 1-15.

2. New England Aquarium

The aquarium is the perfect place for kids to get acquainted with the marine life that defines many parts of this region. It offers a number of special programs, classes, and workshops aimed at children, even as young as two years old. The whole family can arrange to spend a Saturday morning exploring local marine environments, or spending the night on one of the aquarium overnights. Just don’t keep the dolphins up too late, ok?

3. Museum of Science

Learning really has never been this much fun. The Museum of Science offers kids and families an eye-opening, interactive way to delve into the lands of physical and natural sciences, all with an approach that is neither simplistic nor complicated. The museum features dozens of time-tested exhibits through its halls, good for all ages, in addition to a popular planetarium, 3-D theater, and IMAX theater.

4. Swan Boats

Courtesy Greater Boston Convention and Vistors Bureau
The first true sign of spring in Boston is when the Swan Boats make their way into the Public Garden waterways. These swan-shaped boats take riders on a peaceful 15-minute ride around the Public Garden's lagoon for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Kids will love the boat ride, while adults will marvel in the botanical wonders that surround the shores. Around in one form or another since the 1870’s, the Swan Boats remain a defining image of Boston.

5. Make Way for Ducklings Statues

Courtesy Greater Boston Convention and Vistors Bureau
Erected in 1977 as a tribute to the classic Robert McCloskey children’s book, the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculptures will delight any young children familiar with the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. To date, the book, set in Boston’s Public Garden, has sold more than two million copies since its initial publishing in 1941.

6. U.S.S. Constitution Museum

Courtesy Greater Boston Convention and Vistors Bureau
As part of the famed Freedom Trail, the U.S.S. Constitution is just one of many stops dedicated to preserving Boston’s history. But kids will particularly enjoy this destination for the ability to experience what a sailor’s life was like during the 1800’s. Visitors will scrub the deck, attempt to raise a sail, and kick back in a hammock at the end of the day. The museum also holds a variety of nautical-themed events throughout the year.

7. Franklin Park Zoo

Spread out across 72 acres of Boston’s Franklin Park, this zoo features a wide array of wildlife, including gorillas, lions, giraffes, zebras, and tigers. Kids will cherish the petting zoo, where they will be able to get up close and personal with goats and sheep. The zoo is open year-round, though hours will vary depending on the time of year.

8. Prudential Skywalk Observatory

Photo by Eric Wilbur
Get a birds-eye view of the city from the Prudential Center’s 360-degree observatory set atop the second-highest building in the city. Admission can be pricy ($12 adults, $8 children under 12), but the view’s been described as priceless, so perhaps there’s some balance there.

9. Boston Harbor Islands

Set just off the coast, the Boston Harbor Islands offer the perfect opportunity to escape city life for the day. Families can plan a picnic on these urban oases, while kids will revel in the ability to walk along the beaches, splash in the water, and maybe even fly a kite.

10. Quincy Market

Photo courtesy Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Kids will no doubt find themselves immersed in this bustling center of the city. The food court alone offers a multitude of smells, sights, and sounds that will have entire families divided on what to eat. Expect crowds during the summer season especially.
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