With school vacation week upon us, most parents of school-aged children are mentally drumming up creative ways to spend the days. Museums are usually at the top of my list and with Boston so close, I would be foolish to rule out one of the coolest museums around: the Boston Museum of Science! Lucky for you, I just visited with my three kids, so let me give you the lowdown on what to expect from this fairly easy day trip.
Nestled upon the doorstep of East Cambridge and along the Charles River, The Boston Museum of Science can be accessed most conveniently by car or T. With three kids ages 4 and under, I opted to drive in. There is a parking garage on the premises, but should that fill up, the next closest parking garage is the CambridgeSide Galleria. Unless you plan to be there for less than 3 hours, expect to pay anywhere between $17-$23 as a nonmember. Also, plan on getting there on the earlier side. We arrived at 10:30am and the museum garage was almost completely full.
If the MBTA is more your style, the Museum is an easy walk from the Green Line’s Science Park station. Taking the Green Line’s Lechmere-bound “E” train will spill you out diagonally from the museum. You will need to just cross the street and walk to the front entrance. If you plan on traveling with youngsters in strollers or anyone with limited mobility, you may find this route to be slightly more challenging than parking, as the sidewalks and crosswalks may not be fully cleared from snow or ice during the winter months.
Mom Tip: if driving from the Seacoast, I would plan your arrival time thoughtfully. If your kids do better in the morning, I suggest braving the lingering commuter traffic and getting into the city when the museum opens at 9am. Stay through lunch and leave around 1-2pm. Alternatively, take advantage of the noontime exodus and arrive around 1pm. You’ll miss the morning congestion completely, get a great parking spot in the garage, and be able to enjoy a fun dinner in Boston before returning home.
Cost & Discounts
General admission for adults is $28 and $23 for children, ages 3-11. Add-on tickets can be purchased for certain exhibits, like the Omni Theater shows, Butterfly Garden, and Planetarium wing. You don’t have to purchase them, but it’s important to know that those exhibit areas are not included in the general admission price tag. Becoming a museum member, traveling in a large group or families, or purchasing tickets in advance can save you. I recommend reviewing the Admissions section of the Museum’s website when planning your trip to explore these discounts further.
Mom Tip: if your participating library has one, try booking passes for this museum as an additional way to save. These passes either grant full admission or a steep discount for library card holders. Call or visit your library’s website for more information on the museum passes that they keep.
Exploring the Exhibits & Special Attractions
The Museum of Science has some fantastic exhibits going on right now. Some of our personal favorites included the newly-opened “Wild Kratts Ocean Adventures” and “Nature’s Superheroes”. Our kids dig dinosaurs so the permanent exhibit, “Triceratops Cliff Dinosaurs” was a favorite too.
One of the best spontaneous activities we did while at the museum was the 4-D Theater. Each show was about 15 minutes (PERFECT for squirmy littles) and prompts viewers to enjoy the experience with provided 4-D glasses, comfy seats, and sensory surprises. We saw the “Splash and Bubbles Undersea Adventure” show. Even our youngest was dancing to the music! A caution to families with children who have sensory sensitivities: this experience may be triggering for some, as there are unexpected vibrations, squirting water, and visual distortions that may be difficult for some kids to handle.
Mom Tip: if you have a span of ages in your group, split the younger kids up with one parent/adult and the older ones with another parent/adult. While there is plenty for kids ages 4+ to do, anyone under 4 may need to explore the museum at a slower pace and enjoy the simpler exhibits (Wild Kratts, The Discovery Center, Science in the Park) with more time. Strollers are welcome with “parking” spots located throughout the museum, and if all else fails, a trip up and down the escalator is always exciting for toddlers!
Eat at the Museum, Eat Out or Pack a Lunch?
I must say, I was incredibly impressed by the museum’s cafe. Aptly named, the Riverview Café overlooks the sparkling Charles River and provides visitors with a myriad of meal options. From a luscious salad bar, to a full grill, and plenty of prepackaged food, there is lots to choose from. That being said, we packed our lunch and were not the ones. It really comes down to personal preference, your budget and your child’s taste buds.
Mom Tip: due to its location, there aren’t too many restaurants within walking distance from the museum. Unless you plan on driving elsewhere or taking the T, your closest non-museum option for food is the Galleria on the Cambridge side. With stalwarts like P.F. Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory, and Taco Bell, the Galleria may be your family’s perfect school vacation treat.
Bottom Line: It’s Worth the Trip.
Even doing this day trip as a solo parent, it was totally worth it. The staff at the Museum of Science in Boston was incredibly friendly and accommodating, the museum itself was easy to navigate, and the exhibits appealed to our whole group. Hey, we love the Seacoast, but we also love abandoning the routine. After all, isn’t that what school vacation is all about?
Ready to make the trip?
Visit The Museum of Science website for more information by clicking HERE.
Are you a Boston Museum pro? Share your tips in the comments below!
*This post is not sponsored but the author was lucky enough to get free passes from the Museum.