Summer Activity Ideas
Please find below some summer activity ideas for for elementary aged children (sourced from the Lincoln Community). If you have any to add, please contact us here.
AROUND TOWN RECOMMENDATIONS
Bowling: Sign up and your kids bowl free this summer. The local Woburn bowling center participates in this program
Free Fun Fridays: free admission to a ton of local museums, zoos, etc. Check the schedule here: http://highlandstreet.org/freefunfridays.html
Free/reduced price museum tickets: Reserve through Winchester Public Library: http://www.winpublib.org/museum-passes
Audobon Society Wildlife Sanctuaries, all over Eastern MA (includes Drumlin Farm and Habitat listed below)
Boating in Boston (rentals in Stoneham, Wakefield, and more)
Boston Harbor Islands: The library offers passes to Boston harbor boat rides to the different Boston Islands. We went to Spectacle Island last year which offered a treasure hunt, boardwalk, walking path to top of hill views of Boston Harbor and a small snack bar. The beach there was more for exploring vs. swimming. Can check out full schedule and Islands here: http://bostonharborislands.org/visit-island
DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. One of our favorite outings. It’s located in Lincoln – about a 25 minute drive. We bring a picnic lunch and wander around the Sculpture Park. Since it is modern art – and often bizarre – the kids have a really good time with it.
Davis Family Farm - Sterling, MA
Get up close and personal with farm animals. Pet a calf, hold a bunny, milk a goat, ride a pony. Outdoor sprinkler park, corn maze and laser tag. Parent input - younger kids love the farm animals and sprinkler park. It's an hour drive so plan to spend some time here.
Duck Boat Tour
Essex Historical Society & Shipbuilding Museum
Franklin Park Zoo
Habitat, Audobon Society, Belmont. Trails, ponds, kids camps.
*Harold Parker State Forest
Kimball Farm, Ask for the 5 for 5 deal. Can pick 5 different activities. Go early lot fills up fast. Can choose from batting cages, bumper boats, driving range, mini golf, pony rides, etc.
Lobster boat tour http://www.capeannharbortours.com/lobstering.html
Maritime Gloucester http://maritimegloucester.org/
Middlesex Fells Reservation
*Minute Man Trail
Public Garden, Swan Boat Rides
Smolak Farms - http://www.smolakfarms.com
Spot Pond in Stoneham has great kayaking programs, rentals, lessons - http://boatinginboston.com
USS Constitution Museum
Wright-Locke Farm - Dont forget their Summer Family Farm Night Series! http://www.wlfarm.org/family-farm-nights/
*Parks Pack a lunch and travel to these playgrounds outside of Winchester for a while!
*Beaver Brook Reservation Splash Park and Playground
*Robbins Farm Park in Arlington. This is the playground with the two long slides built into the hillside. You can also see the Boston skyline from the top of the hill. There is usually a good breeze there, so kite flying can be a fun option as well. http://www.robbinsfarmpark.org/
*North Point Park in Cambridge (off Education Street), bordering the Charles River. This playground has three different sections plus a sprinkler park. You can also follow the path a short way to stand over the place where the Duck Boats launch into the water. The on-the-street parking is a little difficult, but it’s worth it.
*The Esplanade Playspace in Boston, right on the Charles River near the Hatch Shell. This is great for slightly older kids. It has a zip-line and a very tall spider-web climbing structure with a slide. You can park either on-the-street or under Boston Common and walk over on the Arthur Fiedler Bridge.http://www.bostoncentral.com/activities/play/p2270.php
*Stoneman Playground on the Esplanade, right on the Charles River, but just before Massachusetts Ave. We park on Beacon street (easily) and then take the Fairfield Footbridge over Storrow Drive. This is a perfect playground geared for younger children – there are two sections, one for older & the other for younger children. http://www.bostoncentral.com/activities/playgrounds/p971.php
*Boston Common Frog Pond. This is a wading pool (or skating rink, in the winter). Across the path, there is a big playground. This playground gets very crowded and there are lots of kids running around. It’s also fun to walk around Boston Common from there. If you are lucky, you can find on-the-street parking (particularly on or near Charles Street onBeacon Hill). Otherwise, parking at the Boston Common Garage is pretty reasonable & very handy. http://www.bostoncentral.com/activities/playgrounds/p971.php
Crane Beach, Ipswich. Our favorite beach with kids. An inlet of water forms a little “river” that is perfect for younger kids to build and play in.
Nahant, Beach and Heritage Trail
*Pigeon Cove in Rockport – not a classic beach experience per se, but an awesome romp on the rocks. Huge boulders make up this shoreline, so lots of jumping and bounding. For the 1st/2nd graders who just learned about water/ecosystems, lots of tidal pools with “wildlife” too. Only caution: some of the paths down to the shore have poison ivy lining them, so stay on path, know what it looks like, and/or wear ankle socks. Great to bring a picnic lunch, and of course there’s ice cream and taffy on Bear Skin Neck in Rockport afterwards!
Wingaersheek, Gloucester. Great with kids. It is very shallow so you can walk really far out and still not be over the kids’ heads. There is also a sand bar that you can out on during low tide, and rocks to climb on with tidal pools among them. It’s just beautiful!
*National Parks--they are always free!
Freedom Trail, Boston
Saugus Iron Works, Saugus, right here, can't miss it, how iron was forged back in the day by scottish prisoners who then challenged stodgy social structures
John Adams birthplace, Quincy, fantastic gardens, also has the original bible that freed slaves gave John Quincy Adams as a gift for representing them in court
Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Salem, visitors center, custom house where Nathaniel Hawthorne worked, historical merchant ship that shows how the US was born with globalization
Lowell National Historic Park, Lowell, includes Boat ride with real locks
Boston African American National Historic Site, (walking tour in beacon hill that explores boston's history with slavery, abolitionism, and segregation)
Rainy Day Activities
5 Wits Adventures
Boston Children’s Museum
Clay Dreams, Arlington, pottery painting
CoCo Key Boston Indoor Water Park
Discovery Museums in Acton
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Little Einstein's Workshop - Located in Burlington, this place has a large variety of building toys (from legos to rainbow loom). Good for rainy days - be sure to check hours for open studio: http://www.einsteinsworkshop.com/
MIT Museum, Hart Nautical Collection
Museum of Fine Arts
Mudflat Studio - Somerville
Pottery classes for younger children and teens.
Mucky Kids Studio: Located in Cambridge, this place is worth the drive. They have open studio Thurs, Fri and Saturday. Kids get their choice of 6-7 rotating craft projects: http://www.muckykids.com/
Museum of Science
New England Aquarium
One Stop Fun: Although a bit of a drive (about 40 minutes) this indoor play space in Westford is worth the drive. They have 2 story tunnels and a large space so kids can run off a lot of energy. They also have free Wi-Fi and a snack area
Peabody Essex Museum
Plaster Fun Time, Reading. Painting plaster sculptures
Sky Venture - Nashua, NH - skydive in a wind tunnel, surf indoors, run in a hamster ball. Parent input - my children went skydiving in the wind tunnel and had a blast. There is an instructor inside the wind tunnel helping them fly safely. Check Groupon first to see if there is a discount coupon as it is pricey.
Sky Zone - Everett - Indoor trampoline park. Parent input - great place for kids to get some energy out. Birthday parties are well-run.
Wenham Museum. Great for the younger set--our kids love it! Lots of different set-ups of model trains, as well as a toy/doll museum, a very thoughtful “play room” that always has a new theme, and then temporary exhibits that change every few months in a main gallery. Also great to combine with a trip to Crane Beach or Russell Farms on a nice day!
DAY TRIP/WEEKEND RECOMMENDATIONS
Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich
A great side trip on your way in onto or off of the Cape. Beautiful gardens, vintage car collection on permanent display, and a wonderful family play space complete with tree house called the Hidden Hollow. Check website for summer activities like story times or musical performance (included with admission). If you are a AAA member be sure to ask if they are currently offering a discount (hit or miss in my experience)
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Brewster
This is a really great museum for kids on the mid-cape (I even prefer it over the ZOOquarium). Also has a surrounding network of hiking trails. It’s a great pick for a rainy day, but worth it anytime if you’re nearby. Kids 3-12 only $5, under 3 free.
Cape Cod chip factory tour, Hyannis
Self-guided walk through tours to see how these yummy chips are made. From the man who peels the potatoes to the bagging of the finished product, you can see it all through the giant windows that line the side of the factory. It only takes about 10-15 minutes to walk through, but if you are nearby it’s worth checking out. Plus you get a free bag of chips at the end!
Hull Lifesaving Museum
New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park and Whaling Museum
Myles Standish State Forest (hit up Plimoth Plantation when you're here)
Nantucket Historical Association / Nantucket Whaling Museum
South Shore Natural Science Center http://southshorenaturalsciencecenter.org/
U.S. Lightship Museum, Nantucket
Wood's Hole Aquarium http://aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov/
New Hampshire Destinations
New Hampshire offers a variety of day-weekend escapes. Check out this website for ideas (& be sure to order the Fun Pass discount book which has 2 for 1 Story Land and Canobie Lake Park Discount Tickets) - Order Fun Pass
Children’s Museum of NH in Dove -Great Children’s Museum about 70-80 minutes from Winchester. Aside from being a stand alone fun day trip, it is the perfect half way stop on a drive to North Conway (aka Storyland). Even more, if you are a Museum of Science member, admission is typically free for up to 4 people when you present your MOS card. http://www.childrens-museum.org/cmnh2010/default.aspx
Odiorne State Park (NH) http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/odiorne-point-state-park.aspx
Seacoast Science Center http://www.seacoastsciencecenter.org/ (inside of Odiorne State Park)
York’s Wild Kingdom, an old school amusement park and zoo--near beach, cheap, and unlimited rides! Great for younger kids.
Rhode Island Destinations
Newport, RI – mansion tours for kids are great, and many of the more popular ones have children’s versions of the audio tours. Then there’s the added bonus of the Cliff Walk and Newport itself. (We went last year so kids were 3rdand 4th grade, and I cannot tell you how much they enjoyed it.) Here are links: and http://www.discovernewport.org/
Providence Children’s Museum
About 90 minutes from Winchester, this museum is not worth the day trip alone, but it’s worth checking out if you are already in Providence.
Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI
At about 90 minutes from Winchester (in light traffic) this zoo is worth the trip. It is beautiful, clean and has all of the big animals – including elephants, which you can’t find at Franklin Park. Zoo New England Members get in for half price with valid membership card and photo ID. Museum of Science members may also get a discount. To make a weekend out of it, spend the night in Providence and catch a PawSox game on the way home!