One day in Boston, with kids. What should we do?
December 29, 2014 7:09 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in Boston with my kids for one day (two nights) in February. They're ages 8 and 12. Too old for the Children's Museum, too young to be set free to wander on their own. What should we do?

I used to live in Boston, but it was years ago and before I had kids. Their interests are not unusual: Minecraft, cats, computer programming, Girl Scouts, arts and crafts, swimming.

We don't have a hotel reservation yet, and we're not set on one part of town.

The MIT museum looks good -- is it a small museum you run through in 30 minutes, or does it take longer?
posted by The corpse in the library to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (21 answers total)
 
That was about the age where we could spend all day in the science museum there.
posted by jeather at 7:14 AM on December 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Science Museum plus OMNIMax and Aquarium!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:15 AM on December 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Museum of Science really is great. We're members and the kids enjoy it despite going every other month. For maximum enjoyment do the bug/butterfly area (it's a couple bucks extra) and their design challenges.

A walk around Harvard Square.
posted by beccaj at 7:16 AM on December 29, 2014


Fourth vote for the Museum of Science here. It's basically geared towards kids anyway, and my childhood memories of it are all really good.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:16 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's a Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville that opened recently. I have friends with kids that have gone and they seemed to enjoy it.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:18 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The MIT museum is small, but I haven't been inside for ages, so can't speak to the current exhibits. For kids intersted in programming I think it's a great idea. It's also almost exactly across the street from the excellent Flour bakery.

The Science Musuem is also great.

Since you mention swimming, there's a really awesome "indoor water park" at the Salvation Army Kroc Center (no, really!).

If it's not too cold you might do some or all of the Freedom Trail, with obligatory stop at Mike's Pastry.
posted by chocotaco at 7:21 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Take a Duck Tour. They seem really cheesy (and they are), but it's a great way to see the city and the river.
posted by xingcat at 7:27 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Science museum. Science Museum. Science Museum. Heck, at 42 I still like going there.

The MIT museum is pretty small, I'd say an hour max.

Freedom Trail is pretty easy if the weather is decent and the sidewalks clear.

And while it is a little weird at times, the Mary Baker Eddy Library tour is pretty cool, just for the Mapparium if nothing else.
posted by kaszeta at 7:27 AM on December 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Museum of Science plus duck tour would be just about perfect. Lunch at Legal Seafoods near the aquarium would round things out nicely.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:33 AM on December 29, 2014


I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Constitution tour yet. Super fun and interesting and unique to Boston.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:35 AM on December 29, 2014


Museum of Science is definitely great, and the aquarium is also really great.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:49 AM on December 29, 2014


Museum of Science and the Aquarium are your best bets. You could also add in the Harvard Museum of Natural History if you want to go into Cambridge (and could tie it to lunch/dinner in Harvard Square - you'd have a lot of great options).

Duck Tours are closed for the season (and would be god-awful miserable this time of year). The USS Constitution is open until it goes into drydock next summer, but only for a few hours a day, Thursday-Sunday, which might not work for your schedule.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:52 AM on December 29, 2014


We'll be there on a Monday, and Tuesday morning.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:05 AM on December 29, 2014


The Boston Library has pretty interesting architecture and statues; my kids read there for an hour or so while the adults toured. It also is quite close to Max Brenner's for a hot chocolate fix. This is also the general vicinity of the Boston Marathon Bombings if you wanted to touch upon that.
posted by beaning at 8:09 AM on December 29, 2014


Outdoor ice skating! There's one on the Boston common frog pond and I recently heard about a rink under the rotunda at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
posted by barnone at 8:50 AM on December 29, 2014


The MFA and Isabella Stewart Gardner a Museum are both gorgeous
posted by spunweb at 10:22 AM on December 29, 2014


Museum of Science and the Aquarium are your best bets. You could also add in the Harvard Museum of Natural History if you want to go into Cambridge (and could tie it to lunch/dinner in Harvard Square - you'd have a lot of great options).

Seconding (or n'thing) Museum of Science and Aquarium. I think you could go to the MoS and then take a short walk to Old Ironsides to catch a boat-shuttle back to the Aquarium. My kids love both. If you are short on time, then spend the time in the MoS, catch the shuttle, and just gawk at the sea lions outside the Aquarium before getting dinner somewhere near Quincy Market, which is a few blocks from the Aquarium. Might be too much walking for some families and also will be cold.

Zaftigs in Brookline (off the Green line of the T) is one of the best brunches ever. Family friendly too.
posted by Slap Factory at 1:34 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


While the Science museum is a safe bet, if I had to choose I'd go with the Constitution - that is, assuming your kids would enjoy wandering around below decks in a 200 year old ship that just happens to be the oldest commissioned naval vessel in the world. Oh, and the tour guides are active duty sailors dressed in 18th century uniform. Plus it gets you to the waterfront. In March the ship will go into drydock for 3 years so this will be your only chance for quite a while.
posted by mr vino at 1:37 PM on December 29, 2014


> assuming your kids would enjoy wandering around below decks in a 200 year old ship that just happens to be the oldest commissioned naval vessel in the world.

That's my idea of a perfect time, but sadly my kids might not be as interested (I've failed as a parent in so many ways). It looks like we're doing the science museum. Thanks to all who recommended it.

The Boston Aquarium was my favorite place as a kid, so I'll try to drag them there as well if time and jet lag permit.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:21 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


MIT Museum is fun, if small.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:30 PM on December 29, 2014


If it is running that day, be sure to go to the Theater of Electricity in the Museum of Science. Indoor lightning show, about 25 minutes long. I went and watched it as a 27 year old and still had fun.
posted by Hactar at 11:58 PM on December 29, 2014


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