A Day at the Boston Museum of Science

Stir Crazy at the Holidays

Four year old Theo listening closely to bird calls in The Birds World exhibit at the Boston Science Museum. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

For the first few days of school vacation, everyone just sacks out. The boys head to their own little corners to enjoy the break in routine. We celebrated the Christmas holiday with dear family, and the boys were showered with new Lego kits, Playmobil, books and projects… then cabin fever set in and we were forced take control of the situation.  After the winter storm and winds we decided to whisked them away to the Museum of Science in Boston, MA.

Our three boys not only love math and science, but love talking about how much they love math and science.  While at the Museum of Science we took them to the amazing and loud Electricity Show (you should have seen how my 6yo son Henry handled it despite anxiety and sensory processing disorder).  We played with soapy Moebius bands in the Mathematica exhibit. And we played Laser Foosball in the LaserLab exhibit (a much preferred quieter version to a traditional Foosball table).

All the effort getting into Boston from Western MA paid off… they loved the museum! The current special exhibit featured K’nex and offered hands-on interaction. We loved the working amusement park rides in the exhibit, and the boys were able to contribute their own structures to the expanding K’nex city. If your kids are bananas for K’nex, that exhibit moves on in the middle of January, so hurry!

Here’s what you need to know:

Henry and Theo on the Apollo Command Module Replica. Life in zero gravity! (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

I will give you tips based on what I did and will do next time.  First, we saved some money and hassle by not trying to park at the museum and decised to take the T instead. We drove to the Alewife Station in Cambridge, MA, less than one hour from downtown Boston, and kids ride the T for free — it is possible that taking the red line to the green line was the highlight of the trip for the littlest ones. I’m a New Yorker, so the T is not my native tongue, but it is easy enough to navigate.  Your green line stop is Science Park.

You will need food. Pack snacks; at $5.00 a slice for pizza, you will be happy that you carried an extra bag. If you go in poor weather, use the coat check. Lighten your load so you can have the most fun playing. There is a small section of lockers — you could stash your snack bag in there. We are stroller-less these days. We used to stick heavy bags in the stroller, but no one sits in one any more… the lockers were a great find.

If you have a membership at the Springfield Museums, you can use it at the Museum of Science and the Boston Children’s Museum. If you don’t have a Springfield Museums membership, consider getting one because it is more affordable than admission if you have a family of 4 — and you can use the reciprocating membership at participating science museums nationwide.

To round it out, we spent our whole day playing. If you go, you will too. Let me know what your favorite exhibits are.


Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Beach Day Trips: 16 Recommendations from Western MA


Can anyone recommend a New England BEACH worth taking a day trip to?

  1. Teresa Barents Van Bramer responds: Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island.
  2. Maria Sansalone responds: Rhode Island beaches in general.
  3. Rae Griffiths responds: Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, MA
  4. Marianne Bullock responds: Plum Island, MA
  5. Lynne Priest Fitzpatrick responds: Ditto on Plum Island or Gloucester area.
  6. Lauren Koblara Kostantin responds: Misquamicut Beach and Wingaersheek Beach are both really good ones. Also love Old Orchard Beach, Maine, if you’re looking for old school boardwalk type beaches.
  7. Julianne Thibodeau Krutka responds: Hampton Beach in NH is my favorite! Has something for everyone no matter what age range! Lots of stuff to do!
  8. Karen Bayne responds: Rockport, MA: Adorable town beach with rocks made for climbing in picturesque town, dotted with galleries, fudge shops, ice cream shops & hole in the wall lobster roll spots. Park on the street – public bathrooms right on the street where beach is! – Rocky Neck, CT: Lovely state park beach with small waves from the Long Island Sound. Water stays shallow for a long way from shore, so great for younger beach swimmers. Bathrooms, changing stalls, showers – pay to park.
  9. Alison Platek Webster responds: Agree with Rocky Neck! Went there as a kid and just took my two year old and two month old for the first time last week. Another plus, you actually walk under the Amtrak line onto the beach, so there are lots of train sightings!
  10. Jannelle Codianni responds: Demarest Lloyd State Park Beach (Dartmouth, MA). I live a lot closer to this beach than many of you who would be traveling out from western MA, but I would still go to this beach if I had to travel 3 hours! It’s a state park so it’s inexpensive, and if you have the parks pass, it’s free. It is a small beach, rocky like your typical New England beach, but it’s in an inlet so there are very few waves. This makes it nice and easy for kids. When the tide goes out there are tide pools galore filled with really interesting marine life to explore and temporarily collect. I’ve never seen it very crowded, and there are usually a lot of families with younger kids there. This is my favorite beach.
  11. Riqi Kosovske responds: We just went to Hampton Beach, NH for the day. Very honky-tonk but there was something so comforting and down to earth about being on a crowded beach with kids and tattoos of every variety. Good chai right across from the beach and clear, clear water.
  12. Carmela Smith responds: Nauset Light (Eastham, MA) or Marconi Point on Cape Cod are great beaches to go to. Very peaceful to be at even when its busy it doesn’t seem too bad to be at.
  13. Betsy-Dawn Williams responds: There is also Rock Harbor in Orleans, MA on the Cape… and in Connecticut, there is Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison, CT)… the beach in Ogunquit, Maine is quite nice too. That Hampton Beach in NH is COLD!
  14. Kelly Czupkiewicz Pacunas responds: Old Orchard Beach in Maine! Fun for all ages
  15. Karen O’Connell Leet responds: As a kid we would go to these: Horseneck Beach, Westport, MA (big dunes); Newport Beaches in Newport, RI (surfer vibe); Onset Beach, Wareham, MA (pretty inlet). These are all about 3 hours away from the Hilltowns.
  16. Maribeth Blankenburg Ritchie responds: Misquamicut Beach. Lots to do… amusement park, restaurants, beach.

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