Living in the Boston area allows families to take some great roadtrips for either staycations or getaways. Fill up the gas tank and hit the road for one of these fun spots.
55 Coogan Blvd.
Mystic Aquarium is a well visited attraction on the CT shores. It is an easy 100 miles from Boston. Kids get to feed the birds of the outback,watch a sealion show, see SpongeBob 4D and feed the rays. You can also visit the newest Titanic exhibit curated by Dr. Ballard the man who discovered the wreck itself.
reviewed on: January 07 2010
We have 3 animal lovers in our family and they love to spend the day at the aquarium. We have been members here for a couple of years, and for a family of 5 or greater if you visit 2 or more times it pays for itself. It is a smaller aquarium, but there is much to see both indoors and out. Indoors there is a touching pool which all the kids love. You can pick up crabs, starfish, clams etc...and there is always a docent on hand to answer questions.Additionally indoors is the only show the aquarium has regarding sea lion training. In a semi-outside covered spot is a ray feeding area. For a $2.00 fee you can feed cow nosed rays (stingers removed). Our kids would spend all day doing this if we let them. Outside you can see rescued seals(a pet project of the aquarium), penguins, beluga whales, sea lions and seals. Seasonally for the past 2 years there has been a Birds of the Outback exhibit where you can feed free flying parakeets and related birds. We parents are not too keen on this one as the birds are easily spooked, seem to never be hungry and of course always seem to be looking for a clean head of hair to do there business on. The kids really enjoy it however and it becomes a test of wills to see if we can get them out of there or if they will get a bird to land on their food stick before we shoo them out!!! There is also a fantastic display about underwater exploration and a 3d movie ride. Our kids (ages 5,8,8) ask to go here all the time and expect to go during our annual shore vacation as it is close to where we stay.
"Great day trip for CT residents"
The aquarium has recently added some new, not to be missed attractions including a Sponge Bob 4-D movie with thrills and aromas!!! Kids will get a kick out of this. They have also added Titanic 12,450 under the direction of Dr. Robert Ballard the discoverer of the Titanic wreck. This is an interactive exhibit that really expands on the previous offerings. There are replicas of relics from the deep, a seek and find technology game and hands on exhibitions for the smallest of explorers. The aquarium is never the same place twice!!!!
75 Greenmanville Avenue
Earn your sealegs here at the Seaport as you spend the day learning about life in a historic whaling and fishing village. Period actors play the parts and you can even board ships that were used during these times. Kids use a scavenger hunt type system to earn their sealegs. Adults $24/kids$15.
Route 159, 1623 Main Street
Thrill rides like Batman and Bizarro take center stage at Six Flags New England but there are some family friendly rides like the Blizzard River water ride and a kiddie area called Kidzopolis, not to mention a family friendly water park included in the price of admission. Ask about the parent swap if your kids are under 54''and you want to ride some of the thrill rides.
95 Main St.
LL Bean anchors the Kittery outlet shopping experience for those families looking for some BTS bargains.
257 Atlantic Avenue
Westerly, Rhode Island
Hit Misquamicut before summer ends. Just 100 miles from Boston the family enjoys beach time with on site amusements for little ones and a water slide for the older kids.
Westerly, Rhode Island
The Flying Horses have been watching over Watch Hill for many years. This old fashioned carousel features hanging horses that are stabilized only on top. Kids are strapped in and reach for the brass ring. Rides for kids aged 2 and up are $2. There are also shops, restaurants, a beach and historic fort on site. Spend the day.
P.O. Box 1419
Newport, Rhode Island
You can arrive at this lighthouse only by boat. The Jamestown ferry system can take you from either Jamestwon or Newport. The lighthouse makes a great day trip. Pack a lunch, explore the lighthouse and nearby grounds. Swim at their private beach, take a tour or for the very adventurous spend the night or a week to take over lighthouse keeping chores.Tours $5 adults,$4 children. Overnight rates vary. This makes a great trip from Newport and Newport attractions like the The Tennis Hall of Fame, Cliffwalk and Mansions.
528 Presidential Highway
Jefferson, New Hampshire
Santa's Village is a favorite of our family. We head there every year for the Elfabet Challenge, the rides, the snacks, shows and year round Christmas carols piped through the sound system. Closing in October for the season, except special Christmas hours.
reviewed on: January 03 2010
Sants Village is my favorite family theme park. It is Christmas all year,carols playing, decorations, Santa, Christmas snacks...everything. The kids love this day long diversion with kid rides that adults can go on too!!. Rudy's Rapid Transit is a roller coaster and the Yule log is a flume ride!!! There is also the Elfabet game where the kids search for different elves with witty names from the elfabet and win a prize. I have never been at Christmas but I am sure it is grand. We always go during the Cloumbus day hoiday and it sets the tone for the rest of our holiday season!!!! Its not that far from storyland so if you make the trip to Storyland I devinately suggest Santa Village!!!
850 NH Route 16
Glen, New Hampshire
Story land is another kid favorite from our family. Designed with little kids in mind most all rides are available to those 36'' and more. It is a well-kept park. Although our older kids are over 10 they still enjoy coming here. Tip: Arrive after 3pm and get in again for free the next day. This is a great way to scope out the park and get a few favorites in.Closing for the season in October.
reviewed on: August 21 2009
We visited New hampshire every year prior to having kids and always thought this place was probably an old eyesore. We were wrong. We started going to Storyland annually when the 7 year old twins were 1. We now have a third and she (4) has been going every year as well. They look forward to going every year.The rides are great and the kids feel like big kids when they can go on them. Almost all of the rides are suitable for 3 year old kids. The place is immaculate and really like a fairytale. Although they love the rides my kids really love the play area ruled by Mother Goose when you go right from the entrance. They also love the log flume ride. We get a great picture every year. If you can go in the off season to avoid the lines and really create some magic. Strollers are provided with no fee.
"good time for the little ones"
288 Shaker Rd
Canterbury, New Hampshire
The Canterbury Shaker Village is a living museum that tells the tale of the Shaker people as they lived until the early 1900's. The Village consists of several buildings that have specific purposes such as the laundry room, church and dorms. Open through October. Adults:$17 and kids 6-17$8. Under 5 free.
reviewed on: August 19 2011
"Shaker Culture and Practice"
Canterbury Shaker Village is a non-profit educational organization that is a listed National Historic Landmark. The village is not a recreated museum- it is the actual Shaker Village that was founded in 1792.
We visited on a hot summer day and expected to see examples of Shaker ingenuity. Instead we learned a lesson on Shaker lifestyles, culture and religious practices. All of these were unexpected and very intriguing, especially for my 6 year old daughter who loves to learn about history. Our 9 year old twins enjoyed the tour as well.
We started our visit hungry so we ate a quick lunch at the Farm Stand where we were able to buy homemade soup sandwiches, yogurts and drinks. There is also a more formal Shaker inspired restaurant named Greenwoods which is open from May 14 through October 31st. After lunch we began our children’s family tour with a very informative docent named Becky. We learned that the Shakers did not originally call themselves Shakers but a long name invoking all of their principles. The Shaker name was given to them by non-parishioners because they moved and shook while worshipping. The name took and eventually they began to call themselves the Shakers.
Becky was great at explaining the practice of the Shaker religion with equality of the sexes and races, common ownership, pacifism and celibacy. Some of these were hard concepts for the children to grasp but Becky did a good job explaining it to the kids with participatory activities like singing, dancing, separating boys from girls to walk through doors and showing us all of the places the villagers worked such as the barns and wash rooms. Out of their tenets and practices came the simple beautiful furniture and inventions we are familiar with, yet it is their culture which begat all of those goods.
Learning about their culture was easy as we toured the buildings where the Shaker people worked and lived. They kept adding buildings to their quarters as their ranks grew only by way of conversion. By the mid 1850’s the village was at its peak census and more than 300 people worked and lived there. Throughout the village we visited a schoolhouse, an infirmary, a clothes washing room, a printer and many other buildings. The kids enjoyed seeing the buildings, interacting with the recreation staff and looking at pictures of the people and children that lived at the villages. They were even able to create a scarf with their initials on it as the Shakers did, as clothing was their only true individual possession. The kids were able to see brooms made from corn tassels, bags printed for use in the gift shoppe and oval boxes being made. When asked they said they loved learning about the village but definitely enjoyed the tour that Becky gave them as she made it come alive. If you go I would recommend taking the family tour and then exploring on your own.
The last Shaker practitioner from this village died in the mid-1990’s and the property had already been turned over to the non-profit for the continuation of education. Unfortunately with the advent of industrialization the Shakers had a more difficult time converting people to live on the farms and the Shaker villages went dark. However, this village is a great teaching area for children as it is hands on and very interesting for both children and adults.
The admission rate is $17.00 per adult and $8.00 for children ages 6 to 17. Children under 5 are free and there is also a family rate that includes 2 adults and 2 or more children for $42.00.All tickets are honored for 2 days. Pets are prohibited and smoking, food, and cell phones not allowed. Additionally photography is forbidden in the buildings. The museum shoppe has many Shake- inspired gifts and sundries including quilts, oval boxes and lavender toiletries. There is also a Ken Burns directed orientation video at the visitor’s center.
I would recommend visiting the village on a cool spring day as you spend some time outdoors and walking around. I would also recommend allowing more than 3 hours if your kids have the stamina or are old enough to last.
This review is based on a complimentary visit and tour at the Canterbury Shaker Village. I received no other compensation besides this admission and tour and the Village did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view.
1281 Waterbury Stowe Road
Waterbury Center, Vermont
The Waterbury area has a bunch of kid friendly stops that can culminate in Stowe. Ben and Jerry's makes the cornerstone as it is close to the highway. Take a factory tour and sample a great flavor at the end. Visit the graveyard for a glimpse of your favorite discontinued flavor. Also in this area seek out the Cold Hollow Cider Mill sites around Stowe.$4 adult, 12 and younger free.
reviewed on: August 18 2012
We went on our first Ben and Jerry’s tour over 20 years ago when Ben and Jerry were still around Waterbury. We had a memorable time then.
"Yummy Ice Cream and a tour"
Knowing that Ben and Jerry now have a side role we were not sure what to expect on the tour. What we found was that their story of the American dream is still prominently featured during the tour. The employees take their jobs seriously and the ice cream is terrific and although the tour is decidedly more commercial, it is still well worth the free price for kids under 12.
There were tons of people milling about when we entered the queue. There are now activities on site to keep you busy while you wait. Think carnival options like sand-bottles and caricatures. When your tour time bell is rung you enter the hall with your group to watch a short video about the history of the ice cream guided by an employee. Then you are taken into a tour room where you watch the factory below as the employees create the ice cream magic.( I love chunks) The kids thought the oomp-loompas were going to come out at any moment.
When the tour was complete we were provided samples of a test flavor and there was even enough for seconds. If that is not enough to wet your whistle you can order from the regular shop outside or purchase a large container.
When you are done there are photo ops, a playground and the graveyard where old Ben and Jerry flavors are buried. We looked for my favorite, Fudge Central, but it did not make that cut. It was fun to read all of the tombstones and remember the old flavors though.
1 Old Orchard St
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
On the beach in Old Orchard enjoy the rides at this amusement park. They offer many kiddie and family rides but also thrill rides for the older set. Adult day passes $31, kiddie $23 for kiddie rides only. Spend some time here, then hit the beach! Closing October 8th.