1. Drumlin Farm - Lincoln, MA
We took Conor and Caden to Drumlin Farm on Memorial Day. You can read about that here. They charge $8 for adults, and children under 2 are free. They also offer hayrides for $2 for adults and $1 for kids (under 2 is free). We bought a year family membership for $32, because if we go again - it'll pay for itself! There are also sister locations throughout the state, three in Barnstable. SO we can check it out in the Cape.
Cost: $8 for adults, and children under 2 are free. Annual memberships are also available.
2. Stone Zoo - Stoneham, MA
While Jim was studying for the MA Bar Exam, I brought the boys to the Stone Zoo. You can revisit that blog post here. It was much cooler than our visit to the farm, but it was still fun. They had bears and fox and flamingos, and tons of different types of birds.
Cost: $16.95 for adults, $11.95 for children 2+ and kids under 2 years old are free. There are often special offers listed on their website. For example, Dads are free on Father's Day.
3. Boston Common / Boston Public Garden - Boston, MA
The Children's Playground at the Boston Common is always packed. It looks so fun - the kids there love it. It is located right on Tremont Street, near the Park Street T stop. Super convenient. There are vendors and food trucks, so you don't need to pack much. There is also the swan boats and other attractions across the street at the Public Garden.
4. Canobie Lake - Salem, NH
My work was selling some discounted passes to Canobie Lake, regularly priced $38 and discounted to $31. There are also children's tickets which I believe are $29 - for those 48 inches and taller. I looked up some rides to see if it would be worth taking the boys since they are so young. First of all, children under 3 are free...so that's amazing. AND there is a whole page dedicated to younger kids and kiddie rides. I suggest taking your toddler/kids. It looks like it would be a good time! NH sounds far away, but Salem isn't a far drive at all.
Cost: Adults $38 and children $29. Buy tickets in advance online.
5. Beaches - Gloucester, MA / Nahant, MA / Cape Cod, MA
OF COURSE we are huge advocates for the beaches in Cape Cod. I mean, duh. The boys have spent more time there in their 2 years of living than some adults in their entire lifetime. We are very fortunate to have a Cape cottage and we try and visit as much as possible. Our favorite Hyannis Beaches are Keyes, Craigville, and Veteran's Beach. Some of our favorite Dennis beaches are West Dennis Beach and a private family beach in Sesuit Harbor (although Mayflower and Corporation Beaches are great too). However - there are other great beach options other than Cape Cod. There is Crane Beach in Ipswich, Good Harbor in Gloucester, and Nahant Beach which has the most affordable parking rates.
Cost: Parking is usually $20-$30 per day, so make sure you make a whole day of it! Weekends are of course higher.
6. Horn Pond - Woburn, MA
Horn Pond in Woburn is THE place to walk around on summer nights. My Dad used to take Chrissy and I fishing there when we were younger and we spent many summer nights walking around the pond. People in Woburn have such severe Boston accents, so we make fun of it and call it "hon pon". Anyway, it's free and it's a nice walk - so I suggest taking kids there.
7. Salem Willow - Salem, MA
What's great about Salem Willows is that it's great for all ages. I went to Salem this past Friday after work/after the boys got out of daycare. There were families, couples, teenagers, and elderly people walking around. It can be free if you would like - although, there are concessions and rides/arcades for children. There is no admission charge, but it does have metered parking so bring change or be prepared to spend a dollar or two.
Cost: Free, metered parking
8. Franklin Park Zoo - Boston, MA
This has been the current rave. A ton of my coworkers recently went to the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester over Memorial Day, when it was the Star Wars event. There were tons of characters walking around to have photo opportunities with them. I hear it's pretty large and great for kids of all ages. Looking forward to planning a visit here soon.
Cost: $16.95 for adults, $13.95 for children 2+ and kids under 2 years old are free. They have similar deals as the Stone Zoo since they are sister companies.
9. Edaville USA - Carver, MA
We have yet to visit Edaville USA and it makes me sad. We donated our coats last winter and received free tickets to Edaville (the promotion was through Kiss 108, Jamn 94.5, and 101.7 The Bull at Jordan's Furniture). However, due to the kids naps schedules and them being only 1, we didn't get a chance to visit. It's a shame because it's pretty expensive. See prices below. We would love to get down there sometime this summer because they are really into Thomas the Train right now. Edaville is home to "Thomas Land" and I think they boys would get a kick out of it.
Cost: $34 for adults (save $3 if book online, reg $37) and $29 for children 2, 3, and 60+ seniors. I am not sure if they have a promotion for children under 2 years old.
10. Splash Parks - Watertown, MA / Boston, MA
There are so many splash parks around. If you aren't familiar, try and google to see what's in your area. So far, my two favorite are the Arsenal Park in Watertown and fountains near the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. Check out the websites for details. Here is an old pic of C and C at the splash park in Watertown last year, just after they turned 1.