Thinking back to my first fall in Boston as a college student, one of my favorite memories is of a day spent outdoors exploring Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Esplanade for the very first time. It was a perfect day, culminating in a They Might Be Giants concert at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. That day, I fell madly in love. Not with my first college boyfriend (that was a couple of days later), but with the city of Boston in autumn.
Now I have kids in tow, and ironically, we would be just as likely to go to the Hatch Shell to see They Might Be Giants (since it's a kid band now). And like that day a few (ahem) years ago, my idea of a perfect fall day in Boston means basking in the beauty of the city's great parks. Boston boasts other gorgeous green spaces like the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the Arnold Arboretum, but to me, there's nothing like strolling through the Public Garden and playing Frisbee on the Esplanade in the fall. Here are 20 of my favorite things to do on Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Esplanade for a perfect fall day with kids in Beantown.
Each year, two of our favorite local theaters - the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline and the Regent Theatre in Arlington - host special Saturday and Sunday morning shows just for families. The series, geared primarily to kids ages three to 10, run most weekends from October through April.
Many of the offerings are concerts, but there are also films, children's entertainers and dance performances. While there are a lot of well-known, local names on the rosters this season, there’s enough variety to keep families entertained throughout the season. Both theaters recommend purchasing tickets in advance, although you can try your luck at the door. Read on for details.
Mommy Poppins Boston and Nantucket Bucket are pleased to offer the third post in a series about things for families to do on Nantucket. Nantucket Bucket is the premier online resource for all things child-friendly on Nantucket - events, activities, camps, classes and more.Happy travels!
Between transportation and accommodations for the traveling family, a trip to Nantucket has most likely exceeded your budget before you have even set foot on the island. Then there’s dining, souvenirs and activities to fill your time. While we cannot help with the fixed costs associated with getting here, we can assist with helping you save money during your stay. We think you will be pleasantly surprised to see just how much a family can do on Nantucket without opening its wallet! Here’s your ACKtivity guide for a weekend on Nantucket that’s fun, family-centric and free!
Kickstart the family weekend with Friday Stargazing at the Maria Mitchell Associations Loines Observatory on Milk Street for a one-of-a-kind celestial tour of Nantucket’s night sky. Open Nights are offered weekly from 9pm-10:30pm and while donations are appreciated, the event is free to the general public. No reservations required!
Saturday morning head downtown to Cambridge Street for the weekly Sustainable Nantucket Farmers and Artisans Market. It’s a feast for the senses with plenty to see, touch, smell, hear (live music) and taste. (Saturdays from 9:00-1:00pm). Next wander over to Children’s Beach for the 10:30 Nantucket Puppet Players puppet show. Their FREE 20-minute skit features songs, jokes and a whole lot of laughter for children of all ages.
Following the performance, make your way back into town to stop by the Nantucket Atheneum where there are always free events for children. From the Dance(sing) program with Marjory Trott to board games for tweens and crafts for teens, there is something for everyone. (Check our calendar for update-to-date programming information.)
Saturday afternoons are great for wandering the docks and shops on Straight Wharf and Old South Wharf. Window-shop at some of the island’s most eclectic boutiques and galleries and admire the boat traffic.
If your family is up for one more ACKtivity, discover hands-on learning at its best over at the Maria Mitchell Association’s Natural Science Museum on the corner of Milk and Vestal Streets (walkable from town). Free admission to the museum gives you access to the Live Animal Room, where you will see native fish, frogs, turtles and snakes. Other exhibits and crafts cover the island’s botany, beaches birds and more. Their team of Naturalists will give you a wonderful, informative tour of the facility, or feel free to wander about at your own pace. (Open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm).
Next pick your favorite Nantucket beach, grab some sandwiches from Something Natural and enjoy some family time while frolicking in the surf. (Petite Travelers has all of your beach supplies on hand for sale or rent…and they deliver for free!).
End the weekend with a free outdoor concert at Children’s Beach, which is held from 6pm-7:30pm every Sunday evening. Don’t forget the beach blanket!
All the activities listed above are kid-tested and parent approved, free and open to the public. Here are three suggestions for must-do activities that arenot free but are Nantucket Bucket List worthy (check our previous post for the full list):
If you're on the island for more than a weekend, you might also enjoy some great off-the-beaten-path suggestions.
Nantucket Bucket is the Island’s trusted information hub, bringing awareness to families by sharing up-to-date event and activity information. Kid tested, parent approved activities, camps, classes and more are featured throughout the site. Read firsthand reviews to discover what to do and how to do it. Follow craft bloggers for some great DIY project ideas and inspiration. Your inside guide and more. What’s in your Nantucket Bucket?
Have you ever noticed how kids love themes? Themed birthday parties, weekly camp themes, bedroom themes – you get the idea. We have been taking themed trips since my kids were very young, and it seems to make our short getaways more special somehow.
We recently went on a themed getaway, but I didn’t realize it until the second day, when I noticed a definite thread running through our trip: Everything was related to children's books (otherwise known as kid lit). If you love children’s literature (and really, what’s not to love?), Western Massachusetts is the place to find hidden gems related to all things kid lit. Springfield, Northampton and Amherst hold the secrets of favorite writers and illustrators like Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems, Eric Carle, and Emily Dickinson. Here's an itinerary to discover those secrets and hidden gems.
Whether you spell it Foxboro or the official “Foxborough”, it’s an equally fun place to spend the day with kids this summer. There’s something going on for every age and every interest, like celebrating New England football at The Hall at Patriot Place, storytime at the cinema, exploring the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog, live music, hiking, biking, or indoor adventures at 5 Wits. There are lots of interesting things to do, and many of the activities are free!
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 and Audrey