There's so much to do in Boston with young kids -- it's one of our favorite destinations. This journal is a compilation of several weekend trips.
Even though we don't live in Boston, we became members at The Children's Museum Boston
because the place is huge, the exhibits keep changing, and the kids love it!
My son's favorite part bar none was the multilevel New Balance Climb playspace. This network of tunnels and ladders actually spans several floors of the museum and has all sorts of features -- the trick is not losing sight of your child inside. Also a big hit was Arthur's World (there's a giant Arthur balloon atop the museum roof that you can see as you approach the museum). Be warned, though, the Arthur Meet and Greet may scare some children if they're not used to large dressed-up characters. Arthur himself is certainly not scary -- it's just the idea of it that some smaller kids don't like.
Within the museum there are water play areas (Boats Afloat), a Construction Zone (much like the Big Dig happening all over Boston), rock-climbing walls, an art studio, a Latin American supermercado where even the littlest ones can "shop" for plastic food complete with baskets and checkout registers, and lots more. For the stroller set, there's an entire Playspace just for very young visitors with exhibits and activities sized just for them. When we went last, an interactive visiting exhibit on pets featured live animals (house pets) to touch and instructions on responsible care for them.
If you get hungry, there's a McDonald's on site and a Hood Milk Bottle-shaped food stand out front, plus a picnic area to "bring your own".
The museum is accessible by car (there's parking in back) or by "T" -- get off the red line at South Station and walk across the bridge towards "Arthur". Plan to spend several hours at least, and if you plan to be back in the Boston area within the year, consider a membership.
This is not a huge, sprawling, too-much-to-do-in-one-day type of zoo (like the Bronx or San Diego zoos), but it makes for a very relaxing family outing where you can easily forget you are just minutes from downtown Boston. We went with two kids in tow- one just a few months old - and found the Franklin Park Zoo
very "do-able" in a few hours, with a break for lunch.
Founded in 1911, Franklin Park is clearly an "older" zoo, but under the Zoo New England umbrella it is clearly being revamped and modernized. Nice for the visitors, much nicer still for the animals who call the zoo their home. All the animal kingdoms are here, plus quite a few playground-type areas.
The children's area is particularly nice with a working farm/barn setting and "contact corral". We took some great family photos perched atop a great big tractor in front of the barn. More great photo ops were a huge wooden crocodile sculpture (perfect for "riding") along the Australian Outback trail and a "crashed" safari truck whose windshield provides a gate into the world of the lions in Kalahari Kingdom.