When winter comes to Boston, temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, driving everyone inside. It doesn’t take long to get a little stir crazy spending too much time inside with the munchkins, so here are some ideas that will get you out of the house and out of each others’ hair, at least for a few hours!
Things to do in Boston in Winter with Kids
- Ice Skating at Winter on the Wharf: The Boston Harbor Hotel hosts Winter on the Wharf, featuring ice skating under its famous archway, from late November into February. Visitors can enjoy skating on the 2,500 square foot Rotunda Rink on weekday evenings and weekends. You can also ice skate at the Frog Pond in the Boston Common.
- Boston Children’s Museum: for toddlers through elementary school-age kids, the Boston Children’s Museum is always a favorite. The indoor three-story climbing structure is a great place to burn off some energy but kids will enjoy exploring all the hands on exhibits from the popular Bubbles exhibit to the Construction Zone and more. Don’t miss a walk through the authentic Japanese House. The Boston Children’s Museum is located at 308 Congress Street, an easy walk from the Boston Harbor Hotel, New England Aquarium or Quincy Marketplace.
- New England Aquarium: Even better since its renovation, the New England Aquarium features 27,000 animals in 70 exhibits including harbor seals, penguins, and my favorite, sea turtles. The have a 200,000 gallon Caribbean reef exhibit and a shark and ray touch tank. If you buy timed tickets online, you can avoid standing outside in line and get in to where it is warm.
- Boston Museum of Science: The Boston Museum of Science has always been one of our favorite winter destinations. Unlike the Children’s museum, the Museum of Science is good for younger kids and tweens alike. Even if the standard exhibits start to get routine, we really enjoy the special rotating exhibits.
- Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum: Even though a portion of the experience is outside, it makes sense to combine a visit to the Boston Childrens’ Museum with the Boston Tea Party Museum if you haven’t already visited. Kids under 12 will get a kick out of role playing their part in the Revolution, including throwing “tea” into the Harbor and it is a great way to learn about the events that kickstarted the Revolutionary War.
- LegoLand Discovery Center Boston: LEGO fans, especially those in preschool through elementary school-age will love the Legoland Discovery Center Boston, in the Assembly Row shopping and eating complex in Somerville. You’ll start out with a “tour” of the LEGO factory and design your own virtual minifigures. One of my favorite parts was the Miniland exhibit, featuring Boston landmarks made out of LEGO. Kids will also enjoy the two simple rides, the Kingdom’s Quest laser ride and Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, the Play Zone, LegoFriend’s Olivia’s house, and building and testing race cars.
- Museum of Fine Arts — The Museum of Fine Arts has been one of our daughter’s favorite stops since she was a toddler. You can easily spend a day exploring all the galleries or participating in some of the museum’s family friendly programs. The Art of Asia exhibit, especially the Buddhist Temple, is always a big hit, as are the Art of the Ancient World exhibits. If your kids are really art lovers, or just like a good mystery, walk over to the nearby Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum for a peak at some amazing architecture and the empty spaces on walls due to the art heist that took place there in in 1990.
- JFK Library — The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is located on the waterfront in Columbia Point, just south of the city. Tweens and teens will enjoy learning about one of the country’s most beloved presidents through the interactive displays and exhibits. The self-guided tour kicks off with a 20 minute film, using clips of Kennedy’s voice to tell the his story from growing up as part of a political family to his first presidential campaign. The tour then continues through exhibits that walk through the campaign, the election, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, and other pivotal moments in office, through to his assasination. It is very well done and quite moving so plan to spend two hours exploring.