The holiday season is upon us and besides gift shopping, cooking, and decorating, that means the kids will be out of school for a week. While their help with holiday chores might be helpful, getting out of the house could be just the thing you all need. Here are some boredom busters in the New England area to occupy the kids while they enjoy being out of school, but complain of having nothing to do. Next
Providence Children’s Museum
The Providence Children’s Museum has activities planned for vacation week beginning Dec. 26, including a colorful block construction party, live children’s music, puppet shows, and music workshops. The museum will also be part of the First Night Celebration with a variety of activities planned for kids.
100 South St., Providence, $9 for admission. Next
Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Children’s museums really know how to cater to their audience. On Dec. 27 and 28, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is hosting a workshop where children can create a Lego amusement park, complete with motors, gears, and working rides. Additional fees apply to the workshop, and kids will not take home their creations. The museum offers other great exhibits for all ages.
10 Henry Law Ave., Dover, N.H., $9 for admission. Next
Museum of Science
The Boston Museum of Science’s numerous exhibits are informative and fun, especially for older kids. The newest exhibits are “Shipwreck! Pirates and Treasure,” an interactive display that teaches about the sea and being a pirate, and “Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age” (pictured), which showcases lifesize models of animals that lived during the Ice Age. These run through Jan. 13.
1 Science Park, Boston, $22 for 12 and older, $19 for ages 3-11. Next
New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium is under construction and will be completed early summer 2013, but it is still open. The penguins are on vacation, but the other animals are still around. The harbor seals out front, pictured, and the rays in the touch tank get up close and personal with visitors. One perk of construction is the discounted ticket prices.
1 Central Wharf, Boston, $17.95 for adults, $12.95 for children 3-11, children under 3 are free. Next
Museum of Fine Arts
A museum full of fine art might not seem like the most kid-friendly of places, but the MFA offers several kids programs and great deals for admission. School vacation week is a special time at the MFA, when crafts will be created in association with different exhibits. Make a new year’s resolution post card or emboss your own coin.
465 Huntinton Ave., Boston, $25 for adults, free for kids 7-17 after 3 p.m., weekends and Boston public school holidays, otherwise $10, always free for under 6. Next
Basketball Hall of Fame
See where it all began, where a game was born and a country was changed. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield is just “a midrange jump shot from where the game was first played on December 21, 1891,” according to the website. The Hall of Fame has interactive exhibits, artifacts, and more than 400 inductees.
1000 Columbus Ave., Springfield, $19 for adults, $15 for seniors 65 and over, $12 for ages 5-15, free for under 5. Next
Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden
Springfield is also the birthplace of one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time, Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The sculpture garden is a tribute to him and his characters. The Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, the Lorax , Horton and others surround a statue of the doctor hard at work. This is a great stop for the avid reader and lover of all things Seussical.
21 Edwards St., Springfield, free. Next
Bright Nights at Forest Park
For an after dark activity in Springfield, Bright Nights at Forest Park is one of the best holiday light displays in the nation. Over 600,000 lights illuminate different themed sections of the park, including Barney Mansion, pictured, Seuss Land and Noah’s Ark.
Off Sumner Ave., Springfield, $18-$21 per vehicle. Next
Franklin Park Zoo
The Franklin Park Zoo is open year round with winter hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Oct. 1 and March 31. So catch a glimpse at the bats, pictured, giraffes and zebras without having to elbow the crowds.
1 Franklin Park Road, Dorchester, $17 for adults, $14 for seniors over 62, $11 for kids 2-12, free for under 2. Next
Skating at Kennedy Plaza
Greater Kennedy Plaza in Providence provides one of the best skating arenas in the northeast. With a 14,000-square-foot rink, there is plenty of room for advanced and beginner skaters. The center also offers lessons.
325 Washington St., Providence, $6 admission for adults, $3 for kids and seniors, $4 for skate rentals. Next
Mystic Aquarium, right off I-95 in Connecticut, is a world-class showcase of marine life with mesmerizing exhibits of beluga whales, penguins, seals and jellies. There are also interactive exhibits including a reimagination of the Titanic and a 4-D theater showing the Polar Express for the season.
55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, Conn., $29 for adults, $30 for seniors over 60, $21 for children age 3-17, there is an addtional cost for the 4-D theater. Next
Maritime museum, Mystic Seaport, re-creates life in a New England fishing village in the 19th century, complete with tall ships to board and explore, such as the pictured Charles W. Morgan, the last surviving American wooden whaling ship. In addition to mingling with the living-history actors, kids can climb on three different playscape boats, try old-fashioned games and attend storytime.
75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, Conn., $24 for adults, $22 for seniors over 65 and college students, $15 for ages 6-17, free for under 6. Next
Camden Snow Bowl
This ski and recreation center located in Camden, Maine, has skiing, snowboarding, tubing and ice skating. But its most unique feature is its 400-foot toboggan chute. Every February Camden hosts the US National Toboggan Championship. Enjoy the most winter has to offer at Camden Snow Bowl.
20 Barnestown Road, Camden, Maine, $35 for adults, $26 for students, free for ages 5 and under and 70 and over. Next
The world’s largest rotating globe
Eartha is a three dimensional model of the earth as it is seen from space. Its movements and geography mimic that of the actual earth’s. The Guiness Book of World Records named it the world’s largest rotating globe in 1999, a title it still holds today, and a size much bigger than the one pictured. Eartha lives in a glass atrium at Delorme headquarters in Yarmouth, Maine. Delorme is a map and GPS product company.
2 DeLorme Drive, Yarmouth, Maine, free Next
South Shore Natural Science Center
The South Shore Natural Science Center aims to educate visitors about the different enviroments and ecosystems that make up the South Shore. Surrounded by 200 acres of meadows, woodlands, and a pond, the learning happens year round.
48 Jacobs Lane, Norwell, $7 for adults, $5 for seniors over 60, $3 for children ages 2-15, under 2 are free. Next
Curious George Store
After reopening in Harvard Square, the Curious George Store is back to please young, old, new and returning fans of the mischievous monkey and the man in the yellow hat. In addition to exclusive Curious George merchandise, the store sells hundreds of children’s books. This is the perfect stop for a family exploring Harvard Square.
1 JFK St., Cambridge. Back to the beginning
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