Be a Winter Warrior
The weather outside may be frightful, but Boston’s indoor and outdoor winter-friendly activities are oh, so delightful. The city and its surrounding areas offer a plethora of recreational options to keep families moving throughout the chilliest, and most gluttonous, season of the year.
Kahuna Laguna Indoor Water Park
Water play in the New England winter is crazy talk, you say? Not at Kahuna Laguna, an indoor water park full of splashy year-round fun, located at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway, N.H. Water slides like the Bamboo Blast and Super Tsunami will make adventurous kids giddy while the Little Kahuna Play Area is great for the smaller set. Or take a break from water play by shooting some hoops over on Kahuna Court.
2251 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH, 603-356-5411; www.kahunalaguna.com.
The Boston Common Frog Pond
Channel your inner Michelle Kwan (or simply hang on to a loved one and inch around the rink) at Boston Common Frog Pond where families can ice skate to their heart’s content. Breathe in the crispness of the season while skating around the open air rink. Bring your own skates – you can even have them sharpened for $8 a pair – or rent them at the pond. Visit the Frog Pond Café where you can grab a grilled cheese, hot dog or other kid-favorite foods for $5.50 or less, and those oh-so-necessary warm drinks like coffee and hot cocoa. If a member of your party isn’t in the skating mood, free WiFi is also available at the café.
Boston Common, Boston, 617-635-2120; www.bostonfrogpond.com.
The Butterfly Place
The Butterfly Place is an indoor garden filled with hundreds of freely-flying butterflies from around the world. See caterpillars, chrysalids and cocoons up close as you walk around the winding pathway.
120 Tyngsboro Road, Westford, 978-392-0955; butterflyplace-ma.com.
New England Aquarium
You don't need scuba gear to see, touch and learn about the wonderful creatures who live in our seas. Just step through the doors of Boston's finest aquarium for an underwater adventure the entire family will love!
Central Wharf, Boston, 617-973-5200; neaq.org.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
This world-class art museum makes time for kids. The Family Art Cart here is full of interactive activities created for children ages 4 and up – sending them off among the museum’s masterpieces to piece together puzzles and sketch favorite art works.
Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300; mfa.org.
Amesbury Sports Park
Bundle up for snow tubing at Amesbury Sports Park, which boasts a conveyor belt lift to tote thrill seekers to the top of the big hill (that’s right, no unnecessary hiking here). During peak times, Amesbury breaks out a more vintage handle tow lift to transport riders up to the top to keep wait times at a minimum.
Keep in mind that children ages 4 through 6 have to wear a helmet while tubing at Amesbury. You can either bring one from home or rent one for $3 (a credit card or ID will be held as collateral until the helmet is returned).
12 South Hunt Road, Amesbury; 978-388-5788; www.amesburysportspark.net.
Weston Ski Track
No matter how excellent your golf game, the sport simply doesn’t work during the winter in Massachusetts, so the Leo J. Martin Golf Course turns its course into a cross country ski and snowshoe trail for the colder months. The center is beginner-friendly so kids and adults, no matter their skill level, can have some fun here. Weston Ski Track features one of the largest cross-country ski snowmaking systems in New England in the event Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.
Ski lessons are available at a variety of skill levels for adults, as well as classes for children starting at 4 years old.
190 Park Road, Weston; 781-891-6575; www.skiboston.com.
Do you love solving puzzles and exploring new spaces? Do you daydream about being the star of your own action movie? If this sounds like you, grab your friends and family and set out to explore Espionage and 20,000 Leagues – two life-sized and entertaining adventures at 5 Wits. Train as a spy and take down an evil corporation in Espionage, or go to the depths of the ocean in 20,000 Leagues and discover what happened to Captain Nemo’s ship Nautilus. Each attraction offers hands-on interaction, thrills and challenges that will keep you guessing until the very end.
202 Patriot Place, Foxboro; 508-698-1600; www.5-wits.com.
Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park
What could possibly get the wiggles out better than a high-energy play area like Sky Zone? This indoor trampoline park is filled with walled “play courts” perfect for your little jumping bean. Age-specific sessions are available (like Toddler Time for the little guys) to ensure everyone is jumping as safely as possible. Their SkyRobics is a challenging and effective workout for adults (no post-holiday guilt here!).
91-B Sprague Street, Boston; 857-345-9693; www.skyzone.com/boston.
91-B Sprague Street, Boston; 857-345-9693; www.skyzone.com/boston.
Boston Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum has long been a place where families can learn and explore together, but the New Balance Climb exhibit is particularly great for giving kids the opportunity to climb and challenge themselves to find new paths through the maze.
Over on KidStage, children are invited to channel their inner Broadway star by participating in productions tailored specifically for them. It’s a great way to get kids moving artistically through dance, music and acting.
The Kid Power exhibit proves to the younger set that bodies in motion are very powerful. It teaches new ways to exercise and how the food we eat provides fuel for all of our bodies’ activities each and every day.
308 Congress Street, Boston; 617-426-6500; www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org.
Put on your game face and head to Boston Bowl, where they have 30 Tenpin and 14 Candlepin lanes so you and the family can bowl to your hearts’ content. Open around the clock, each of the lanes have the option of adding bumpers if you’re playing with the smaller set who are just learning the ropes (or you simply want to keep your scores extra high!). Ditch the Wii Bowling and get out there and experience the real thing. Billiards is also an option if bowling isn’t your thing.
820 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston; 617-825-3800; www.bostonbowl.com.
F1 Boston Indoor Kart Racing
If you have a kiddo between the ages of 7 and 17 who feels the need for speed, then head over to F1 Boston for some junior racing on their indoor kart track. Winter junior leagues, open practices and endurance race schedules are available for this age group, teaching sportsmanship, coordination, self-reliance, responsibility and, of course, the spirit of healthy competition. No matter what place they finish, F1 aims to teach kids that trying their best is what really counts.
290 Wood Road, Braintree; 781-848-2300; www.f1boston.com.