Massachusetts is considered one of the best locations in the world to see whales, which makes us feel pretty darn lucky. With Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary (whale central in the warmer months) practically in our backyard, we Bostonians have our pick of whale watch cruises. You can take a New England Aquarium Whale Watch right from Long Wharf and be back in time for dinner in Faneuil Hall, or pick from the many cruises heading out from the North Shore and South Shore. Whichever whale watch you choose, it's sure to be an extraordinary excursion.
One of the things I'm truly loving about living in the 'burbs now that the weather's nice is the opportunity to be close to nature. The South Shore is known for its beautiful forests and marshes, and is home to a wide variety of birds, seals, and other forest friends. Mass Audubon's South Shore Sanctuaries—North River, Daniel Webster, and North Hill Marsh—are ideal places to discover the area's natural treasures.
North River serves as the indoor base for the three sanctuaries, with a nature center featuring a discovery room for kids, turtles, fish, an archeological station, bathrooms, and a gift shop. As we drove up the winding road to the North River Sanctuary's main building, we felt transported into a different world. Everything was so vibrant and bright, lush and crisp. Once inside, my son had a blast playing with the toys and exploring, while I learned about the variety of programs and things to do at the three sanctuaries.
Since its inception almost 50 years ago, the Great Hudson River Revival (aka the Clearwater Festival) has grown from a small nomadic folk gathering into the country’s largest annual environmental celebration. Founded in 1966 by Toshi and Pete Seeger, the Clearwater Festival draws thousands of visitors to the shores of the Hudson River for a family-friendly weekend of music, dance, storytelling, theater, hands-on learning, water activities, arts and environmental education in Croton-on-Hudson's Croton Point Park. All proceeds from this groundbreaking festival—which made our June GoList—go directly to protecting, preserving and sustaining the river through the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. nonprofit organization. The 2015 fest is coming up the weekend of June 20-21, and it's a great way to teach kids about protecting our planet while having a lot of fun.
There are not many kids' films that I actively look forward to, but Disneynature's Earth Day releases have become an annual tradition that I savor. Previous years' delights have included Chimpanzee, Bears, and African Cats, all of which have raised money to preserve the habitats of their stars. This year, Monkey Kingdom joins the all-star team of animal documentaries produced by this crew. Read on to find out what we love about the film (and seeing it at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre), and to see whether your little ones are ready to love it, too.
Each year on or around April 22, Boston comes alive with many special events to celebrate Earth Day. Kids learn about protecting the environment and how the entire family can become more green. From community service projects like the DCR’s Park Serve Day, to festivals at the Spellman Museum and EcoTarium, to a celebration at the Franklin Park Zoo, families can get outside, have fun, and make a difference.
One of the sweetest things about living in New England is being able to experience maple sugaring first hand. Bostonians don’t have to go very far to enjoy maple sugar festivals, take tours of farms, watch sap being boiled down in sugar houses, or learn to tap maple trees.
Of course, the best part is tasting the final product – in syrup form poured over pancakes, as candies, and even in hot dogs (!). Celebrate maple sugaring season with special events and visits to these local maple farms.
With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s easy to get lured in by the mega-sales, sparkling lights, and shiny wrapping paper. Even for those of us who try our best to be good to the Earth during the rest of the year, the holiday season can completely derail our efforts as we endeavor to please everyone, outdo our neighbors, and make Christmas magical for our kids. Celebrating Christmas in an Earth-friendly, sustainable way doesn’t mean taking the fun out of the party. Here are tips to help you go green (and maybe even save some green) this Christmas in Boston and beyond.
Apple picking is a favorite Fall activity with kids and Connecticut has dozens of wonderful apple picking orchards and farms that make a great day trip. If you’d like to stay in Fairfield County, you have only a small selection to choose from, which may be why all of the orchards get busy on the weekends. My kids and I like to head out first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. For even more orchards, be sure to check out our post on Pick-Your-Own Apple Orchards in Western CT. No matter where you go, you'll find that apple picking is a great outing for toddlers especially when you combine it with cool activities like corn mazes, hay rides, petting zoos, and farm markets with fresh pressed cider, donuts and pies.
Keep in mind that crop conditions change from day-to-day, so it’s always a good idea to call a location or check the website before you head out. Some orchards are reporting a lighter than normal crop this year due to last year's long winter followed by heavy rains in the spring. You'll have to help your little one pick according to the rules of the farm, but you'll always find helpful, friendly farm workers willing to lend a hand and demonstrate the proper picking technique. Be prepared for a port-o-potty, since most locations don't have bathroom facilities out in the orchards. Make sure to dress in warm layers and wear comfortable shoes. And bring your appetites!
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara