Best Boston Museums for Kids

There are plenty of world-renowned Boston museums, but these are our editors’ favorite kid-friendly picks around the city.

By Heather Tourgee

Nov 17 2017


The Museum of Science is one of the best Boston museums for kids.

Photo Credit : Courtesy of Museum of Science/Nicolaus Czarnecki
Boston is known for its world-class museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. And if you’re looking for something appropriate for youngsters, there are even museums specifically designed for children or that offer great family-friendly programming. No matter the season, no matter your age, these are the best Boston museums for kids (and kids at heart).


Best Boston Museums for Kids
Boston Children’s Museum | Best Boston Museums for Kids
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Boston Children's Museum/Karin Hansen


Founded in 1913, the Boston Children’s Museum is the second-oldest children’s museum in the country and one of the largest in operation today. Check out attractions such as the Explor-a-Saurus, Art Studio, and Japanese House, and immerse yourself in the many hands-on exhibits and programs. The museum’s goal is to foster creativity in all visitors through programs focused on the arts, science, world cultures, and more. Stop by on Friday evenings from 5 to 9 and pay just $1 for admission.
Best Boston Museums for Kids
Museum of Science | Best Boston Museums for Kids
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Museum of Science/Nicolaus Czarnecki


There’s a lot more at the Boston Museum of Science than the full-size Tyrannosaurus rex model that greets visitors, but it’s a good place to start. From the biggest dinosaurs to the most delicate butterflies, the Museum of Science is home to all kinds of critters, experiments, and even spaceships. And if you have the time, be sure to check out a movie at the Imax Mugar Omni Theater. Named a 2015 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Place to Geek Out.”
Best Boston Museums for Kids
New England Aquarium | Best Boston Museums for Kids
Photo Credit : Courtesy of the New England Aquarium/W. Chappell and S. Cheng


Take a trip under the sea without getting wet (well, mostly). Home to plants and animals from all over the world, the New England Aquarium is where you can find a penguin greeting committee, Myrtle the green sea turtle, and showstopping harbor seals. Check out the four-story ocean tank for a look at the more than 200 species that live there — and don’t miss the shark and ray touch tank on your way out! SEE MORE:Guide to New England Aquariums


Climb aboard “Old Ironsides” and step back in time. The nation’s oldest commissioned naval ship is still operated by the U.S. Navy and is open to visitors daily; it’s also a stop on the Boston Freedom Trail. Don’t miss the museum located across the pier for more history and information about the legendary vessel, which has served the country since 1797. Visitors of all ages will enjoy looking out at the shipyard from the deck and diving into history at the museum.
Best Boston Museums for Kids
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum | Best Boston Museums for Kids
Photo Credit : Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum/James B. Hill


Explore the life and legacy of our 35th president at this museum, where exhibits on the 1960 presidential election, JFK’s inauguration, and more are sure to delight your civic-minded youngsters. The museum also celebrates the high points of Kennedy’s administration, including his famous speeches in Berlin and at American University, and his national address on civil rights. Named a 2015 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Historical Landmark.” Pictured above: President Kennedy’s sailboat, the Victura, a 26-foot Wianno Senior sloop, is displayed on the grounds of the museum.
Best Boston Museums for Kids
Harvard Museum of Natural History | Best Boston Museums for Kids
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker


Curious about flowers, evolution, or even passenger pigeons? The Harvard Museum of Natural History provides its visitors with a unique glimpse into the natural world as it showcases species native to Boston alongside others from around the world. From the most ancient mineral samples to its famous “glass flowers” and recent modeling technology, this museum is sure to thrill any budding naturalist. SEE MORE:Harvard Museum of Natural History | Indoor Fun in Harvard Square Which family-friendly Boston museums are your favorite? This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.

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