|| massachusetts | boston
|Cambridge is chock a block with college students, but there’s plenty of fun things for kids to do. Founded in 1630, the center of the old village is Harvard Square today. During the American Revolution, the new American army camped out on Cambridge Common, while British supporters lived down the road on Brattle St.
Museum of Science – This is a very hands-on museum where kids are encouraged to experience science through all their senses – Science in the Park where kids an jump, swing and run, experiment with designs in the Innovative Engineers area, discover the beauty of math in sunflowers and soap bubbles. For little kids there’s a Discovery Center, and the tropical Butterfly Garden is lovely on a gray day. And our favorite piece – the Audiokinetic Sculpture.
Check out the Omni Theater, and planetarium with laser shows. The exhibits, which cover all aspects of science, life science, the natural world, computer techonology and space sciences, are always changing.
Tip: Admission to the museum is included in Go City Boston .
|CambridgeSide Place – Charming canal with fountains, and benches to sit out and have a picnic ( the Galleria next door has casual eateries). This is also the spot to pick up boat rides:
|Charles River Tour – A one hour boat ride on the Charles River (in summer the river will be dotted with sailboats). See Beacon Hill and Back Bay Boston, and Harvard and MIT from the river.
|Boston Harbor and Locks Tour – May to October, a longer tour takes you on the Charles River and by the USS Constitution and landmarks of the Freedom Trail, plus pass through the Charles River Locks.
|Cambridge Common – The Cambridge Common might just look like a big grassy area, with a nice playground in the northeast corner with swings, slides, climbing structures and sand play area, but it’s much more.
|In 1775, as the Revolution was getting under way, rebels and soldiers trained on the Common. On the western side, you’ll see three black cannons. These cannons were abandoned by the British army when they left Boston in March 1776. Also, check out the marker “Under this tree Washington first took command of the American Army July 3, 1775.” (This isn’t the original elm tree, but Washington did indeed take charge of the army in Cambridge.)
|Across the way, on Dawes Island, find the brass horseshoes in the sidewalk. On the night of April 18, 1775, while Paul Revere headed out to Lexington, William Dawes also rode out to warn the militias, only he took the longer route, riding through Cambridge.
|Harvard University – Harvard College was established in 1636, and today the university has a Nobel Prize winning faculty and is the alma mater of a bunch of presidents. The campus has several fun things for kids:
|Old college pump (Harvard Yard) – Check out a replica of the ancient college pump, where undergraduates pumped water from a well for washing, cooking and drinking. Kids can lift the wooden handle up and down, "shake hands with the pump," but no water will come out.
Around the Science Center –
|- Misty rocks – In front of the Science Center are a group of rocks. In in warm weather, mist sprays out above the boulders, perfect for kids to cool off.
|- Farmers market – On Tuesdays there’s a large farmers’ market in front of the Science Center, June - October.
|Harvard Museum of Natural History – Kids love the extinct dodo bird, triceratops, giant mastodon, stuffed birds (California condor, bald eagles, puffins), and a hall of minerals with gems galore – touch that giant amethyst geode. Another specialty at the museum is 3,000 glass flowers – irises, dahlias, cactuses, banana plants, autumn leaves, water lilies, and more, crafted over 100 years ago.
Tip: Admission to both the Museum of Natural History and Peabody Museum is included in the Go City Boston.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology – Step next door to see cultural exhibits, models of Maya pyramids, dugouts from the Solomon Islands, Japanese daggers, Indonesian puppets, Australian boomerangs, arts of the Northwest and Plains Indians, Navajo blankets, and Hopi dioramas.
|Walk along the Charles River – From Harvard Square, go down John F Kennedy St. to Memorial Drive, and take the paths up or down along the river.
|Brattle Street – From Harvard Square, head out west on Mt. Auburn Street, go right on Hawthorn Street, then turn left onto Brattle Street. Visit the yellow Longfellow House (George Washington’s headquarters, as well as the home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote the Midnight Night of Paul Revere). Continue on Brattle Street, walking past old mansions on “Tory Row” (here’s where the British loyalists lived). You can keep walking, all the way to Mt. Auburn Cemetery. If the kids get tired, just pick up the buses on Mt. Auburn St. and return to Harvard Square.
|Next to the Museum of Science, pick up a Duck Tour that goes on land and sea in an amphibious vehicle, dip into the Charles River, then go on a tour of downtown Boston. Lots of duck jokes, and you'll want to make advance reservations:
|Boston Duck Tour