Kid-Friendly Places to Visit in Boston, Part 2: Outdoor Spaces

In this second of a two-part series of kid-friendly places to explore, we look at great outdoor spaces to take the kids in Boston.

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Maintained by Harvard University and located at 125 Arborway, the Arnold Arboretum is a 281-acre oasis of parkland boasting trees, flowers and green space. The Discovery Pack located at the visitor center provides a number of hands-on activities for kids to explore while at the arboretum. The visitor center is also the starting point for family walks, a photo scavenger hunt and wildlife bingo.

Boston Common

Located at 139 Tremont, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. In addition to offering ample green space, the park is also home to Frog Pond. This popular attraction becomes a splash fountain during the summer months.

Boston Duck Tours

Offering a great way to see the city, Boston Duck Tours invite guests to board a World War II-era amphibious landing vehicle before heading out on a tour that is part land and part aquatic. Many captains will also allow kids to take a turn in the cockpit where they can “steer” on the Charles River. Boston Duck Tours pick up at 4 Copley Pl #4155.

Castle Island

While Castle Island may be a bit off the beaten path, it is worth visiting the 22-acre waterfront park. In addition to offering ample green space, the park also features Pleasure Bay Beach and free tours of Fort Independence. Kids also enjoy taking in the views of airplanes as they take off from Logan Airport. Food options are limited, so bringing a picnic lunch is a good idea.

Charles River Esplanade

This 65-acre park stretches along 3 miles of river and offers plenty for kids of all ages to enjoy. Among its attractions are a number of playgrounds, which include a spiderweb climbing structure and a zip line. The Stoneman Playground offers attractions geared toward smaller children, while the Charlesbank spray deck offers opportunities to cool down.

Franklin Park

Located at 1 Franklin Park Road, the 485-acre Franklin Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 19th century. The park offers a number of playgrounds, including the Tiffany Moore playground for younger kids and the high-adrenaline park of El Parquecito de Hermandad. Here, visitors can enjoy rock climbing, water play and a zip line.

Rose Kennedy Greenway

The 1.5-mile Rose Kennedy Greenway is a roof garden located atop a highway tunnel. As such, the innovative green space snakes through the heart of Boston, offering great views and opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Opened in 2008, the Rose Kennedy Greenway includes trees, lawns and plants along with water features and a carousel. The greenway can be accessed at the intersection of High Street and Atlantic Avenue.

Swan Boats

Located in Boston’s Public Garden at 4 Charles Street, the Swan Boats have been a part of Boston since 1877. Operating from April through September, the boats circle the island from Robert McCloskey’s children’s classic Make Way for Ducklings.

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