By: Jessica Aldred
While the rest of New England is still staring at melting snow banks and dodging mud puddles, the planner in me has already set her sights on sweet summertime, and our annual summer bucket list specifically. As I start booking the final weeks of children’s activities I quickly realized that, while it doesn’t seem like it, Spring has sprung and we’re moving forward despite the bleak picture outside.
Many times I’ve found myself sharing different hidden gems to take my children to once school lets out and I thought I’d take a moment to share some of our favorites and some of those that we’re really looking forward to doing again or trying for the first time. I hope you’ll chime in with any additional hot spots you’ve been lucky enough to visit.
1. Museum of Science-Science of Pixar, Boston, MA
The Disney enthusiast in me is eager to visit this one. It’s supposed to tell you all about the behind the scenes stuff that goes into making Pixar’s amazing films! What’s even better? Our Annual Capron Park Zoo membership fee gets us all into the MOS for free! Yep, FREE!
2. Freetown Splash Pad, Fall River State Forest
We discovered this gem a few summers ago. It’s a totally fenced in, zero entry, splashpad/wading pool. All my kids enjoy it and it even has a grassy area to set up a picnic or watch your older children. Bring your beach gear and plan for a day! Did I mention, free?
3. Imagination Island- Plymouth, MA
An indoor playground that keeps all three of my kids entertained. With climbing structures and a bouncy house/slide for the older ones and ride-on toys or themed play spaces for my little guy, this is a great place to visit on a rainy day!
4. Providence Children’s Museum, Providence, RI
This is a great indoor location that also has some outdoor climbing structures and caves to climb through. From a whole room dedicated to water play to themed play rooms and small manipulatives, this is another space all my children enjoy.
5. Capron Park Zoo, Playground & Splashpad, Attleboro, MA
We go here so much we have an annual membership, and the reciprocal benefits are amazing. We’ve visiting other zoo’s across the country for free or at a discounted rate, not to mention the MOS (see #1). There’s a playground just outside this small walking zoo. It’s just the right size for my minions and has a small splashpad area that they can cool off in as well.
Right on the beach, this splashpad allows the kids to play in the sprinklers or park it on the beach for the day. There’s also a small splashpad within walking distance. No cost here either.
7. Davis Farmland, Sterling, MA
Sterling, MA always has a special spot in my heart as this is where we’ve adopted many of our pets. This location is growing by the year. They’ve got the farmland, a huge splashpad area, foam parties, sand pits, slides, baby goats, and so much more!
8. The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village, Montville, CT
It’s a bit of a drive but well worth it for a whole day of Dino fun! There’s a huge walking trail where you can see and learn about dinosaurs and see them in a natural environment, a playground, splashpad (can you tell we like splashpads?) and a volcano that simulates and eruption!
9. World War 1 Memorial Park & Zoo, North Attleboro
This is another hidden gem. This Park has a small zoo and two playgrounds, one geared to the younger and one to the older kids. There’s an enormous tube slide as well! I realize I’m a broken record, but can you say “free”?
10. Launch , Norwood or Watertown, MA
While I was initially concerned about the liability with trampoline parks, these locations have put my mind at ease. They’ve got it set up so all the trampolines are continuous and at the same level as the viewing floor. This means the kids can’t bounce off, like with a single trampoline. Even the walls are trampolines!