Jodi Grundig

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

via Flickr by Marioanima

Dale Chihuly’s work has completely changed the art of modern blown glass, and his exhibits in such locations as the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden and the Victoria and Albert were highly regarded and well received.  For a limited time, through August 7, 2011, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is presenting the exhibit Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass, featuring a Persian Ceiling, Lime Green Icicle Tower, and Ikebana Boat.

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Boston Museum of Science

Boston Museum of Science

On Sunday, February 13, 2011, the Boston Museum of Science reopened the Charles Hayden Planetarium — after a $9 million, one year renovation — with the original show Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun.

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The Frog Pond in Boston Common becomes the city's most popular ice skating rink in the winter.

The Frog Pond in Boston Common becomes the city's most popular ice skating rink in the winter.

While the winter weather in Boston does limit the amount of outdoor activities you can partake in, there’s one outdoor activity that’s best enjoyed in winter: ice skating. Boston offers a variety of ice skating rinks — all with their own charm and characteristics. Below, take a look at my three favorites.

  • The Frog Pond in Boston Common is the most famous and popular of the Boston ice skating rinks, for good reason.  It’s in the center of the city, and offers ice skating lessons, skate rentals, public skate/freestyle sessions, and a snack bar.  Consider staying in the center of the city, right at the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common or the Nine Zero Hotel Boston.  Get to the rink early, as lines on sunny days can be long. Read More »

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Ice skating on Frog Bond, Boston Common, Boston

Ice skating on Frog Bond, Boston Common, Boston

Boston can be very cold and windy in the heart of the winter, but there are plenty of things that you can still do with your kids.  Here are a few suggestions:

Ice Skate: There are lots of places to ice skate in Boston, but none as popular as the Frog Pond right in the center of the Boston Common.  If you stay at the Ritz-Carlton Boston or the Four Seasons Boston, you’ll be just a few steps away.  Prefer something a little more off the beaten path?  The Charles Hotel in Cambridge also has their own ice skating rink as a wonderful winter guest amenity.

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Penguins at the New England Aquarium in Boston

Penguins at the New England Aquarium in Boston

As you might expect, Boston has one of the nicest aquariums on the East Coast. If you are visiting the city with your family, the New England Aquarium is a great place to take your kids. There’s the aquarium, an Imax theater,  and whale watching (weather permitting), so you could easily spend almost a whole day there.

When I visit with my family (we are members, so we can get in free at any time), we start out at the penguin exhibit, which is my daughter’s favorite. We have to pull her away, because while my son likes the penguins, he’s always ready to move on first.

The giant ocean tank, which takes up four floors and is located in the center of the aquarium, is a huge draw.  My kids can just sit forever in the windows, watching for Myrtle the giant sea turtle (who is older than me!) and the sand tiger sharks, along with the “regular” fish. There are also smaller exhibits on all four floors, including some hands-on sections.

The attached Imax theater generally shows nature-themed shows, although in the evenings, they sometimes show more adult-type blockbuster movies. Combination tickets, which offer a discount, can be purchased.

You can access the aquarium via the MBTA’s Blue line, and there are also several parking garages nearby. Parking can be quite expensive, so public transportation is your best option if possible.  Nearby hotels include the Boston Harbor Hotel and the Intercontinental Boston.

– Jodi Grundig of Family-Friendly Boston and Multitasking Mommy

[Photo Credit: Flickr/pobrecito33]


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Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Adult-type museums can often seem off-limits to those with children, but if you are visiting the Boston area with your little ones, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in the Seaport District has you covered.  Not only do they offer free admission to all children under the age of 17, they also offer a special family “Play Date” on the last Saturday of every month.

The Family Play Date at the ICA offers special activities especially for families, and adults can get in free with a child (who are also free).  Each Play Date is different, but expect to see a range of activities that families can do together, such as movies, special performances, art activities, and tours of the galleries. You don’t have to register in advance for the Family Play Dates.  The ICA also offers baby changing stations, allows the use of strollers throughout the museum, and has children’s food available at its cafe.

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Tamo Bar at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center is the first stop on the Halloween on the Harbor event.

Tamo Bar at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center is the first stop on the Halloween on the Harbor event.

Are you looking for Halloween-themed activities in Boston?  October weekends in Boston are generally crisp, sunny, and cool — perfect for Halloween festivities!  If you’re visiting this October, don’t miss out on these two great events.

For the kids, HalloweenFest, supporting the kids’ fund at Boston Medical Center, is taking place at the Prudential Center on October 23 and 24.  The event includes face painting, pumpkin decorating, coloring contests, a bouncy house, and performances by kid-friendly musicians and magicians.  On Sunday, kids are invited to trick-or-treat through the Prudential Center  from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The event is $4 per child (adults are free) and tickets can be purchased online.

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Salem Custom House

Salem Custom House, where Nathanial Hawthorne once worked, is a stop of the October 24 walking tour.

Salem, Massachusetts, the site of the famous Salem witch trials, is the place to be around the Halloween season. And what better way to learn about the town’s fascinating history than through a walking tour?  The Boston Center for Adult Education is offering a walking tour of Salem and the Peabody Essex Museumon October 24, 2010.

If you’re staying in Boston, Salem is only a half-hour train ride away: Just head to North Station on Causeway Street in Boston and take the commuter rail train to Salem. The tour will depart the Salem train station at 9:45, and will head to the waterfront, where you’ll see Derby Wharf, the Custom House (where Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the Scarlett Letter, worked), and the Salem Common.

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The Boston Children's Museum

If you are visiting the Boston area with your children, the Boston Children’s Museum should be on your must-do list. Located in the South Boston Seaport area of Boston (right on the Boston Harbor), this fun-for-all-ages museum allows your children to have some hands-on education and fun.

The Museum has three floors, so you could really spend the whole day there.  But if you only have a few hours, the Construction Zone, Science Playground, Arthur and Friends, and Kid Power exhibits are our favorites.  For lunch, head to the Au Bon Pain in the museum, or any of the nearby delis and restaurants.  You can also bring lunch and head to Boston Common for a picnic. Read More »

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Aura Restaurant in the Seaport Hotel

Do you enjoy eating delicious food and traveling with your family?  Like many travelers, I enjoy dining out at nice restaurants while on vacation, but since I often travel with my young kids, it’s something I usually have to forgo.  With the Fine Dining “Family-Style” program at the Aura Restaurant in the Seaport Hotel, foodies don’t have to choose between fine dining and family time. 

About once a month (or every other month), Aura Restaurant offers a special fine dining event for families, with a prix-fixe menu for $35 per adult and $20 per child.  The menu, which rotates monthly, includes items that appeal to parents, like lamb ribs and salmon, as well as items that appeal to kids, like macaroni and cheese and all-natural hot dogs. 

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