*From Curbed Boston
The oldest public park in the United States offers something for everyone, no matter the season. In the summer, the famous Frog Pond becomes a splash fountain where kids can cool off and parents can relax.
Located in Boston’s Public Garden, the famed Swan Boats have been leisurely touring the lagoon from April to September every year since 1877.
Despite the long queues on summer weekends, this beloved Boston attraction will especially appeal to kids familiar with Robert McCloskey’s children’s classic Make Way for Ducklings; each Swan Boat circles the island from the book.
Charles River Esplanade
This 3-mile, 65-acre park along the river is great for leisurely picnics or bike rides, but don’t miss the different playgrounds.
The Esplanade playground is bliss for older children thanks to a spiderweb climbing structure and a zip line. The Stoneman Playground offers more for little tykes, and all ages will love cooling off at the Charlesbank spray deck.
Boston Public Library
Both the Boston Public Library system and the surrounding Minuteman library system for Cambridge, Somerville, et al, offer a ton of story times and activities for families.
But, if you have to pick just one, head to the newly renovated Children’s Library at the central library in Boston’s Copley Square. Whimsical decor and brightly colored walls—including a very cool sensory wall—complement an extensive collection of books for grades 8 and under.
Boston Duck Tours
Don’t be deterred by the touristy nature of the duck boats; they are a great way to see the city. Guests board the World War II-era amphibious landing vehicles and head out on a 90-minute tour that’s part terrestrial and part aquatic via the Charles River.
Bonus: Many captains will even let kids take a turn in the cockpit.
Not all kids will appreciate the Skywalk Observatory’s exhibits on Boston’s rich history, but we guarantee they’ll be impressed with the 360-degree city views. Older school-aged children can also take advantage of the free audio tours, and the panorama from the 50th floor is a great photo opportunity.
The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library
Set inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a three-story, stained-glass globe that offers a three-dimensional perspective of the world. Designed by architect Chester Lindsay Churchill and opened in 1935, the map’s historic nature is supplemented by a modern music and light show. Not as interesting for young kids, but a good choice for young teenagers or budding map lovers.
The Fountains at the Christian Science Plaza
This well-loved 180-jet fountain at the Christian Science Plaza was revamped in 2005 to include a splash pool in the center. It’s an excellent way to cool off on hot summer days, and the fountain is usually open from May to November.