Fun things to do with kids in Boston
April 1, 2011 1:14 PM   Subscribe

How can we best entertain my partner's middle-school-aged cousins during their trip to Boston?

We're going to host his aunt, uncle, and three cousins for a short visit soon. The two eldest cousins -- girl, 14, and boy, 12 -- are taking the bus down a day early so they can spend a day/overnight of older kid independence with us. Any recommendations for what to do with them to further cement our position as the Awesomest Cousins?

So far, we are thinking maybe sailing during the day (provided the weather is ok), lunch out, eating dinner at home and playing video games, staying up late and going on a nighttime expedition to get ice cream or something. We have a membership to the Science Museum, but then again, that's something we could do when the whole family is here.

They are into: music, outdoors stuff, movies. The 14-year-old's interests and social skills skew younger than her age, and the 12-year-old's older, but they can generally be entertained by the same things. He would probably be into art museums and playing board games and reading books and whatnot, but I don't know that those kinds of activities would hold her interest. Honestly they'll be happy enough to be spending time with us without their parents and younger sister, and being able to look at our comic books and play with our cats and all that, so the bar is pretty low. But it would still be nice to have some cool things planned.

What else? We don't have a car, so transit-accessible is best.

And as a bonus, any ideas for stuff to do with the whole crew (them plus two parents and a 9-year-old girl) also welcome. Whatever happens, we can't stay all seven in our 3-room apartment, or I will chew my way through the wall and go gibbering down the street.
posted by little cow make small moo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The USS Constitution (and associated museum) was one of my favorite things in the Boston area when I was that age. It's a bit of a walk (I've gotten there from the Bunker Hill t-stop), but Charlestown is cool and you can also get to the North End from there without too much hassle.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:18 PM on April 1, 2011

What kind of sailing? The part of the Boston Harbor where the planes come in right over your head is awesome.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:30 PM on April 1, 2011

Best answer: The New England Aquarium is very cool, right on the T and very near Quincy Market for some cool shopping, if that's of any interest and/or financially viable.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:33 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

What kind of movies? Maybe there is something they would enjoy at the Brattle or the Coolidge Corner cinemas?
posted by mkb at 1:35 PM on April 1, 2011

Best answer: (maybe avoid the Bike Porn)

Also, what about trying to find all the planets?
posted by mkb at 1:37 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Where are they coming in from and when?

Because if they're coming from Ohio in June, I'd say a whale watch or a trip out to the harbor islands. But if they're coming from someplace coastal or in a cold weather month than that would be less appealing.
posted by bondcliff at 1:54 PM on April 1, 2011

Best answer: The Van deGraf generator at the Science museum is genuinely awesome.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:00 PM on April 1, 2011

Response by poster: What kind of sailing?
I guess Community Boating, on the Charles? Partner has membership and knows how to sail, but would have to get in a practice session before he felt comfortable taking them out. On the other hand, I think they've all gone to sailing camp before.

Where are they coming in from and when?
They are coming from Maine in two weeks. (holy crap!)
So, yeah, they can see the ocean from their dining room window at home, but they still like outdoorsy activities and are used to tromping around in the cold and are troopers about that kind of thing.

What kind of movies?
Actiony adventury sort of stuff, I guess, maybe PG-13? 14-year-old would happily watch LoTR forever and ever but the rest of us can't take it any longer.

That planet thing is cool! These are all great ideas so far, thanks, everyone.
posted by little cow make small moo at 2:01 PM on April 1, 2011

Best answer: One thing Maine lacks is tall buildings. What about a trip to the Pru or the Hancock, espeically on a clear day? And a visit to the Mapparium at the Christian Science Center?
posted by Sukey Says at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2011

It's off-season, but the commuter rail to Salem is quick, and there are some really amazing historical sites there with regards to the witchcraft trials (in addition to plenty of cheesy schlock and bizarre little stores).
posted by hermitosis at 2:37 PM on April 1, 2011

Best answer: There's always any or all of the stops on the Freedom Trail, depending on how interested they are in history.

If they like the National Treasure movies and/or The Da Vinci Code you could tour the Grand Lodge of Masons, right on the common at Boylston & Tremont.

Seconding the Museum of Science (and the Van De Graaff generator!)

I always found poking around at Quincy Market pretty fun at that age.
posted by usonian at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2011

Using transit, you could break into pairs and complete some sort of photo scavenger hunt -use history, boats, landmarks, tall buildings, tourists.......and then meet up at Finale Desserterie for dessert. Then share the pics with the family the next day.
posted by jennstra at 2:54 PM on April 1, 2011

Best answer: should have added, I took, my then 13 year old daughter to the dessert place a few years ago, she felt very grown up there, lots of great desserts to share
posted by jennstra at 2:57 PM on April 1, 2011

Response by poster: We actually just went to Finale a few weeks ago and now that you reminded me, I think it would be a great place to take them. Sort of fancy and grownup, plus the luxury of just eating fancy desserts.

I'd love to go to the Aquarium, so maybe we'll check that out. That or the Museum of Science would be good whole-family activities, too.

I didn't know about the planets things ... I don't know if the kids will be up for it, but I totally want to do it! And Uranus is in my neighborhood! Uhh. Right.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by little cow make small moo at 8:15 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

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