Boston For Kids (On a Budget)?

Jul 31st, 2007, 02:27 PM
  #1  
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Boston For Kids (On a Budget)?

We're traveling to Boston next week to visit family. We're staying in Brookline. We'll have Thu, Fri, Sat, and Sun (8/9 - 12) for sightseeing and touristy stuff. There are two adults and two kiddos (four and two).

We want to do one big thing a day, perhaps more if things are close together. And, we are trying to keep costs quite low.

We already plan to do the Children's Museum on Friday night for $1/person. We will also do the Duck Tour (our splurge) on Friday morning. Since we have a zoo membership in our hometown, we will plan to go to the zoo for free on Thursday morning. And Saturday morning, we'll be treated to the NE Aquarium thanks to our relatives.

So, what other things should we see? What are attractions/restaurants close to the places we've already chosen? We kind of want to have some beach time, as our kids have never seen the ocean. Can you recommend a good beach for Sunday? We're considering the Boston Harbor Islands, or a day in Cape Cod.

Thanks for any advice!
serinat is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 02:44 PM
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Walk along the Boston Freedom Trail. You can download maps at http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/ You can walk the whole trail or only parts of it, depending on your schedule and how tired you are.
GBelle is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 02:59 PM
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If you click on my screen name, you'll see my trip report from our recent trip to Boston with kids.

Your two kids will be free on the train (subway).
missypie is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:20 PM
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George's Island would be fun, but it's not a beach. I'd skip the Cape, as traffic coming back into town on a Sunday is brutal. If you want a beach I'd head up to the North Shore, maybe Good Harbor or Singing Beach in Gloucester.

For another inexpensive Boston actvity, I think the little ones would love the Swan Boats.

http://www.swanboats.com/new/welcome.shtml
wyatt92 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:36 PM
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Make sure you've read "Make Way for Ducklings" to your kids prior to the trip. There are bronze ducklings (and mama duck, too) in Boston Common that kids love to pay on. Nearby is a neat playground and a wading pool. If the weather is not too hot, you could keep the kids amused at Boston Common/Public Gardens for some time.

missypie is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 04:26 PM
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another vote for going north of Boston to the beach rather than trying to deal with Cape Cod on a weeKend. Crane Beach in Ipswich is an good option
http://www.ipswichma.com/directory/castle.asp
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Jul 31st, 2007, 04:48 PM
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I wouldn't recommend the Freedom Trail with toddlers; it won't interest them and the route is not stroller-friendly. Since you have family in the area, save it for a visit a couple of years hence.

For your zoo visit, you can choose between the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, about 10 miles north of Boston; check the web site for Zoo New England and choose which one appeals most. We personally are huge fans of the gorillas at Franklin Park.
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Jul 31st, 2007, 05:17 PM
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Good ideas. I forgot to mention that we definitely plan to hit the Swan Boats and bronze ducklings; we're bringing along a copy of Make Way for Ducklings for just such an occasion.

I'm also bring Paul Revere's Ride for my four-year-old, who loves the poem, but I don't think we'll see Paul Revere's house this visit.

Thanks for the thoughts on the Cape. You're all right, it's crazy to try on a Sunday.

I do hope we can go north, maybe Singing Beach. Sounds like fun! Tips for getting there? Is parking readily available?
serinat is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:24 PM
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check to see if the Children's Museum is open, it might be in repair now.
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Jul 31st, 2007, 05:41 PM
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Here's some info on Singing Beach.

http://www.manchester.ma.us/Pages/Ma...n/singingbeach

To get to the North Shore, take the Tobin Bridge(Rt 1) to Rt 128 North.
wyatt92 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for the heads up. I just checked, and the Children's Museum appears to be open. Their schedule of events contains things just about every day this summer. We would have been awfully said if it was closed!

Anyone have tips on Singing Beach with kids? I googled it, and it seems like we'll need to take public transport (how much?) or pay for parking.
serinat is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:49 PM
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The Children's Museum is closed until October for major renovations.

You are visiting family - ask them to check with their local library or art association -most town libraries offer free museum passes if you sign up ahead of time, perhaps your family can snag you the passes to the MFA.

You can check the web sites of museums you might not think of for children normally - for instance, the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum has family nights that are free in the summer that include music, craft projects, children activities like games and scavenger hunts - perhaps one is planned during your stay....

A good beach day might be Spectacle Island - the boat leaves from Boston harbor waterfront area - Spectacle has a lifeguard on duty on the small beach on the left of the boat docks, it has a great rest room, snack shack, with history of the island and snack stand and bbq, where yuo can get hot dogs, burgers, etc or bring your own lunch and buy your drink there and still use their picnic table area -
sometimes on certain weekends they ahve activities, jazz bands, etc - check out the web site for details - you can also rent for small money fishing poles and bait - there are trails to walk - it makes for a great beach day.

There are other harbor island tours, but Spectacle has the beach/lifeguards/amenities. This would be a cheaper day than driving all the way to the Cape.

There are other public beaches you could drive to, but I think Spectacle gives you Boston Harbor, a tour on the way b/c you can see other islands, boston from the water angle, and a day at the beach -

Ages two and four are small for the freedom trail, unless they stay in strollers.

If yuo go to the Aquarium, maybe walk from tehre to the NOrth End and why not see Paul Revere's House - it's not that far - if he loves the poem



escargot is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:50 PM
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here's the link for the schedule of events at Spectacle Island

http://www.bostonislands.org/isle_spectacle.asp
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Jul 31st, 2007, 05:52 PM
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If you have a car, drive up to Hampton Beach in NH for a real New England beach day. Back a cooler and leave early.

There are public restrooms/changing areas. Best part, a long boardwalk. Make sure to get some fried dough. My favorite topping is butter and sugar
GranthamMommy is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:56 PM
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I remember, they are called "neighborhood nights' at the Isabella Stewart Gardner, I am sure they are under their calendar listings on their web page.
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Jul 31st, 2007, 06:07 PM
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escargot, I dn't know why you think the Children's Museum is closed, since their web site clearly indicates they are open. I suppose the OP should call them up to be sure.
Anonymous is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 06:49 PM
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Yes, the Children's Museum is open, it re-opened in April.

I really wouldn't bother schlepping to the beach if you won't have a car. It's doable but I just think it would be more trouble than it's worth with two little ones. Up to you though. I might stick to George's Island.

Hampton Beach NH is a nice beach but it's a little honky tonk and very crowded so I wouldn't bother with it.
wyatt92 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 06:50 PM
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Well certainly call them to be sure - maybe they are open - my girlfriend is working on the re-opening gala that is after all the renovations and she has told me it is in the end of October, so I assumed it was not open until close to then and I know several months ago when someone went it was closed for renovations - so I assumed that was the case -
my apologies.
escargot is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 12:04 AM
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Get a copy of the Boston Globe on Thursday - the calendar section (tabloid style insert) lists all sorts of events - of which there are many free or low cost in the summer.

If your kids have never seen the ocean, rent/borrow a car and go North. I would suggest Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester (about 45-60 minutes north of Boston), although parking is $25 on weekends. There are no waves, but with kids that age it is perfect. It is a very gently sloping beach and water at mouth of Anisquam River - even little rugrats can walk a great distance out into the ocean without fear of getting knocked over by waves or drowning. There are lifeguards, lots of sand to dig in, bathrooms, parking lot easy walk from beach, concession stand. Bring water, a picnic lunch, snacks - but keep food under cover because there are very smart seagulls there (kids will love them) that will actually move bags and towels to get at food (I have been a victim)

Look at a map - but it is easy to get there. The only confusing part is that it is off a highway listed on some maps as Rte I95 - not to be confused with another road listed as I95 that goes to NH and Maine. Locals call the highway you want Route 128. There is an exit labelled Wingaersheek Beach - in Gloucester and then follow signs - it involves about 5 minutes and 3-4 turns off highway. Get there by late morning as parking is crowded, especially on hot weekends.

I would avoid driving to Cape Cod for a day - too far with toddlers. Boston Harbor Islands are nice, but most people do not venture into the water of Boston Harbor and that might be too tempting for little kids.

gail is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 04:26 AM
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Children's Museum is most definitely open - my father-in-law took my four year old daughter on the 23rd of July.
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