Boston Children’s Museum

I grew up up in Southeastern Massachusetts, just 25 miles south of Boston and I’m always asked the same questions: Do you pahk the cah in havad yahd? Did you know any of the New Kids? Did you go to Boston all the time as a kid?  

I’ve actually never been to Harvard. And I pahk my cah in my driveway, thank you very much. 

I never met a New Kid, but my sister stalked Jordan Knight through the Braintree Mall once. 😆  

And honestly, Boston trips were few and far between. I remember going to the Aquarium, and Fanueil Hall but I really didn’t get out and enjoy the city until my teenage/college years. 

With that said, when I told my mom I wanted to bring my boy to the Boston Children’s Museum because I enjoyed it so much as a child, she looked at me like I was crazy.

“You’ve never been to the Children’s Museum!” 

This is the story of my life people, I swear I remember a different person’s childhood. I have all these beautiful memories and when I reminisce with my mom, she looks at me like I’m insane. Maybe I am. But I swear I had been to the Museum before — and she was most certain I had not. I told her maybe she was getting senile in her old age (which she appreciated) but after arriving at the Museum, I realized something: I had never been here before. 

So let me share with you my boy’s first experience at the very incredible and very awesome Boston Children’s Museum…. and my own.


For starters, driving into Boston can be rough. I grew up during the Big Dig, and it’s supposedly over, but yet city driving is still awful. My mom and I decided we’d drive in with my toddler and his two teenage cousins. They were on school vacation so I thought, let’s all go! I had considered the T but a stroller on the train sounded not so fun, so we braved the roads!

We came in from the south, and we sailed in pretty easily in the carpool lane (since we left before 10 a.m.), but once we reached the outskirts of the city we saw a lot more traffic. And the roads got really confusing. On-ramps and off-ramps, and a GPS that hates me, never go well together. I totally winged it at one point while my mom was yelling at me that I took the wrong exit, yet somehow we did not (because I’m awesome).

Here is a map to give you an idea of where the Museum is. I couldn’t even tell you which way we came from or which street we drove on, but your GPS should be able to get you there! 

Once we were in the city, we had  to find parking, which normally is a nightmare, but the Museum is on top of that. They provide discounted parking in garages nearby. If you do park in one of their recommended garages, make sure you take your parking ticket with you. They will validate it in the museum, so you pay less than the normal garage rate. We ended up parking on Farnsworth Avenue. It cost $24 in this garage (non-discounted price is $30).

There are alot of other (cheaper) options for parking, but we honestly turned down the road with the first sign we saw! And they made it easy to find with this sign. 

Once we parked, and walked a short distance, we reached the Boston Children’s Museum. The museum is right on the waterfront, across from the Boston Tea Party Ships. 

The Boston Children’s Museum is beautiful! And huge! 

The entrance is located just below the sign, and leads right to the admission desk. 

 

The cost of admission for the Children’s Museum is $16 for adults and $16 for children ages 1 to 15. Babies under the age of 1 are free.  Most Connecticut libraries do not offer a discount pass for this museum; but my sister’s hometown library in Massachusetts did. She was able to check it out for us, and we were able to get a 50% discount on admission for four of us (we paid full price for the 5th person). For five people, we spent $48 for admission. There are a number of ways to save at the museum, and they offer some tips on their website

Before we could leave the admission desk, we all had our hands stamped. 

Once you exit the admissions line, you’ll come up to the information desk. Here you can grab a map, ask questions, get your parking validated, and also if needed, locate missing people (we heard the sound of those pages a few times actually  – it’s super easy to lose people in this museum since it’s so big!). 

You’ll also find the museum exhibit entrance here as well. They will check your hand stamp at this spot. They ask that you bring no food or drinks into the museum. And they recommend that you park your strollers either in their coat rooms, or in designated areas located throughout the museum.  We chose to travel in with small, foldable umbrella stroller. It made it easier to travel to and from the car, but then we left it folded up in the coat room since we chose not to use it at all in the museum.  

Also right at the front is a large map of the museum. The museum is THREE FLOORS! Each floor is accessible by stair OR elevator. You’ll find lots of restrooms, including family restrooms with changing tables on every floor. There is a lot to see and do!

We headed right to the coat room to drop off our coats and the stroller. The room was not too full when we arrived, but when we left, we had to dig our stuff out. Since it was winter, we had no choice but to travel with coats. 

Alternatively, they have lockers for use. I carried a backpack around with me, but I’ll be honest, I wish I stored it in a locker! My back hurt! 

To the left of the coat room and lockers, you’ll find the Kidstage where a number of shows are performed throughout the day. We opted to skip this since my two year old is still learning how to sit still for more than 10 seconds. If you do plan to catch a performance, you’ll need to get tickets at the Information Desk ahead of time.

Instead, we headed in the other direction, straight to the bubble room!  

This room can be messy, and for that reason I will tell you to bring a change of clothes for your child! (And if they don’t get soaked in this room, they will in the water play room upstairs!) They provided a smock in the bubble room, but his sleeves got wet.  

He had a blast though! What a great room to start in!

From there, we checked out the Investigate room which had live animals and other discoveries. For my two year old, the highlight of the room was definitely the animals; otherwise, he lost interest quickly. 

As such, we quickly moved on to the Raceways exhibit! This room was fun with tons of interactive and hands on activities, all of which included balls. What little kid doesn’t enjoy seeing a ball rolling down a ramp?!

Mommy made him pose for the obligatory photo, and he was not happy! He had things to do and see! 

After those rooms, we moved on to something very exciting. You will not miss it when you first enter the museum, especially since it stands as tall as the ENTIRE museum! It’s the New Balance Foundation Climb! This is a giant vertical maze with curved platforms that kids can crawl and climb their way through. They welcome anyone to climb, including the parents. I decided to sit this one out and send my boy in with his cousins. 

The entire thing is enclosed, and there is basically one way in and one way out. However, if your child reaches the top and is too scared to come down, there is an escape hatch located on the third floor! 

This kid was having no issue with climbing to the top, and coming back down! 

He spent a while in the maze; but once they finally made their way out, we finished up the last exhibit on the first floor: Kids Power

The exhibit actually went up to the second level, and had different activities that let the kids use their muscles and tested their strength. There was a light up dance floor, bicycles, a climbing wall, and a basketball court. 

Right around the bend from the upper section of KidsPower, on the second floor, we immediately encountered Playspace

Playspace is a special area that is for children ages 0 to 3 and their caregivers. The room is intended to be a safe place built just for the museum’s youngest visitors. There is a check-in person at the front, and they do have a limited capacity. When we first arrived, they were full and they suggested we come back in 15 minutes. After exploring the second floor, we tried again and were able to enter. 

The room has things to climb on and slides to go down, a pretend tree house, books to read, and of course, a train table (there is a lot more going on in the room but of course, we sat at the train table THE WHOLE TIME). 

There are a lot of seats for the parents and caregivers to sit and relax for a bit. They even have an accompanying Family Resource Room where you can have a snack, talk to with other parents and take home parenting information. 

We spent a good amount of time in this room because, well, trains. Dragging him out of there was actually tough and involved a lot of tears. But we moved on. 

Right next to Playspace is Peep’s World, and this is the water room that I mentioned earlier. There are other exhibits in this room, but the water tables are the main focus. They provide smocks in this room too but they really don’t matter when your child practically lays in the water… This resulted in a new shirt. I strongly recommend packing a change of clothes

They have the big blue foam building blocks in this room as well. 

We moved quickly through the Countdown to Kindergarten room, a mock kindergarten room for preschoolers to practice in before heading off to school, and the Common, which had a lot of puzzles and brain building activities. He did check out the school bus though! 

Arthur & Friends was a fun exhibit based around the popular television show. They had an airplane that you could sit in and pilot, a kitchen, a camping area, a classroom and a green screen.

They had an entire room set up with KEVA planks, for building and creating your own skyscrapers and bridges! My nephew enjoyed this exhibit, and he and I had fun playing a little Jenga with the planks! My boy just dumped out the buckets and made a mess. But he had fun! 

At the end of the second floor, you’ll find The Gallery, the art studio, and Johnny’s Workbench. The studio had special events going on at the time we came through so we skipped that area, but he had a great time building and playing in Johnny’s Workbench! 

We headed up to the third floor and found even more to do! 

He loved the Construction Zone! There was so much to do including tunnels to climb through, ramps and bridges to climb up, beams to balance on and lots of constructions toys and blocks to play with. The older kids liked the climbing structures, and my little one enjoyed playing with the trucks!

They even had a bobcat that you could sit in and pretend to drive! 

Next door is the exhibit called Boston Black.  This was full of interactive experiences, including a barber shop, a Dominican market and so much more! He loved banging on the steel drums! 

The Japanese House is a special exhibit that was gifted to the museum from the City of Kyoto. It features an authentic two-story silk merchant’s home from Kyoto, Japan. The House is open during specific hours for tours, and unfortunately, on the day we went the tours were full until mid-afternoon. It was probably better not to let my destructive toddler get inside there anyway… 

The last exhibit on the third floor was Explore-a-Saurus! The room included a dinosaur facts, a fossil footprints and this enormous  animatronic Dilophosaurus! We didn’t stay in this room long at all because Nana thought it would be a good idea to tell my 2 year old she was going to feed him to the dinosaur, and an enormous meltdown ensued. Nice job, mom! 

He calmed down once we hit the bottom floor, but by then we went to un-bury the stroller and our coats from the coat room. We did make one final stop at the gift shop so I could buy a Boston board book and a magnet. 

If you decide to eat lunch at the museum they have a lunch room and an Au Bon Pain on site.  During the warmer months, you can also have a bite to eat at the Hood Milk Bottle located right in front of the museum.  

Since it was almost 1 p.m. at that point, we were all tired after three hours there and ready for lunch, so we headed home. Of course, I managed to make a wrong turn and got stuck driving through the city just to reach the highway, but once we got on the highway, it was an easy ride back. 

We all had a fun time at the Museum, and since it was the first time for all five of us, we really enjoyed everything! My teenage niece and nephew had as good a time as teenagers can have (at least that they’ll admit too). My boy had a great time checking out every exhibit, and he really loved the water room and the big climbing structure. And my mom… well she apparently had a great time scaring the bejesus out of my boy. I would love to go back again in a couple years, when my son is a little older and can have a whole different experience! 

If you have never ventured to the Boston Children’s Museum, think about making a trip. You could combine it with a trip to the Boston Aquarium and really make a great day out of it! 

This about sums it up…

 308 Congress Street – Boston, MA 02210

Website

Hours:

Saturday-Thursday 10am-5pm
Fridays 10am-9pm

Costs: 

Adults: $16
Children (1-15): $16
Children (Under 12 months): FREE
Members: FREE
Target Fridays: $1 from 5pm to 9pm

Check their website for additional ways to save! 

Features:

  • Parking is available offsite for an additional cost, but the museum does offer validation for several affiliated garages. Consider also taking the train (T). 
  • Not stroller accessible! You can bring one in the museum but they ask that you park it in the coat room or on the 2nd and 3rd floor bridge.
  • Many stairs- but there is an elevator available
  • No food or drink is allowed in the museum, except water
  • Food is available for sale at Au Bon Pain. You can also bring in lunch and eat it in the lunch room on the first floor, or outside in the plaza. During warmer months, the Hood Milk Bottle sells food. 
  • Baby changing tables are available in the Family Restrooms on each floor. Nursing is allowed anywhere in the Museum. There is a private nursing area in the PlaySpace exhibit on the 2nd floor.
  • Coat room and lockers are available on the first floor
  • No swearing or offensive language will be tolerated
  • Bring a change of clothes for your children, and consider carrying everything in a backpack or storing them in a locker. There are some messy (and wet) exhibits!
  • Wear comfortable shoes, there is a lot of walking! 
  • The museum accepts cash, American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Travelers Checks. Most garages also take credit card, but it may be worth having cash on hand. There is an ATM in the museum.

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