toddler boy is enamored in the natural history room at the Museum of Science

What to Do Over School Vacations in the Greater Boston Area!

Humph. School vacations. The time that kids rejoice and parents grumble. February is a particularly rough one if you aren’t planning to travel out of state for some fun in the sun. So what on earth can you do if you’re hanging back for a little staycation at home in the Boston area, OR if you’re coming to Boston from out-of-state? Fear not! My family just survived February vacation by packing our schedule chock full of activities within an hour of Waltham (about 15 minutes west of the city). Before I share what we did for entertainment though, I just want to make a little disclaimer that many of the pictures below were taken at the Museum of Science in Cambridge, despite what my location headers say (I just don’t have nice pictures of all the places I’m going to share with you today!).

toddler boy is enamored in the natural history room at the Museum of Science

Museum of Science and North Point Park

The Museum of Science in Cambridge is obviously no secret, but what you may not know about is the amazing playground and park across the street! North Point Park has multiple playgrounds next to each other so there’s something for all ages. There are also paved paths for biking and scootering, and a skate park at the back of the property. My recommendation? Hit up the museum first thing in the morning before it gets totally insane, and then head over to North Point when it warms up later in the day. If it’s April vacation and warm enough, you can even have a picnic in the park!

little blond curly haired boy plays on the playground at Cambridge's North Point Park

Museum of Natural History

We only recently took our kids to the Museum of Natural History in Harvard Square and they both LOVED it. I was a bit apprehensive, but they ask to go there pretty often now. Full disclaimer: this is partially because they love the gift shop, with its many gems and crystals and dino eggs. Though we never seem to make it out of there without spending a few bucks, we go to the msuseum on Sundays when it’s free. I woudn’t be surprised if there are more free days over April vacation. *The image below was taken at the Museum of Science, though you will see *lots* of these at the Museum of Natural History, too.

wall of stuffed animal heads at the Museum of Science Boston

Butterfly Place

If you are visiting Boston and staying north or west of the city, then Butterfly Place in Westford might not be terribly out of your way and worth a quick visit! While my own kids were only entertained for about 30 minutes, I do think that *most* families could probably stretch this to an hour. Plant and bird-lovers will also rejoice at this lovely little oasis :).

*The images below were taken in the greenhouse at the Museum of Science, not Butterfly Place. They look pretty similar though!

little blond boy explores the Museum of Science greenhouse


Kids’ Magic Shows at Prince Pizza

I took to Instagram right before February break asking for non-conventional staycation ideas, and this was one of several fun ones! Much like Butterfly Place, this will only be convenient if you are staying north of the city (it’s in Saugus)! In total we stayed an hour, and that included a 45-minute magic show and a cheese pizza lunch for the whole fam (included in the cost of our tickets). Magic shows run every day during school vacations, and both my 3.5 and 6.5 year olds loved it!

collage of two young brothers' BW portraits

Boston Public Garden and Beacon Hill Books

April vacation is a particularly great time to hit up the Boston Public Garden. With tulips blooming and flowering trees in sight, it’s such eye candy after a long winter! Taking a ride on the swan boats is a must for out-of-towners, but what you especially don’t want to miss is a visit to Beacon Hill Books! It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the Public Garden and it is *sure* to be the cutest book store you ever did see! If you want to stretch your time here even further, take a walk down Comm Ave to spy some beautiful magnolias. Or better yet, cross over to the Esplanade by way of the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge. There’s a fantastic playground over there and it’s just a beautiful place to walk, bike, and scooter!

family of four throws their kids in the air in front of the bridge at Boston Public Garden

There are so many other places to take your kids if you’re visiting Boston for a school vacation (New England Aquarium, Quincy Market, duck tours, and the list goes on), but the ones listed here are fan favorites in this household :). We can 10/10 recommend them!


Oh hey! I’m Melissa, a Boston family & newborn photographer, but I like to refer to myself as a toddler-whispering, child-taming, photographic ninja.