full moon shining in the dark night sky

Ahhh, the night sky. One of the wonders of the world that’s totally free to experience but easily forgotten amidst the hustle and bustle of parenting. Luckily, due to the recent solar eclipse excitement, our interest in all things celestial has been rekindled! Are you ready to learn more about outer space with your kids? Here are some great Boston-area astronomy possibilities for budding astrophysicists — from planetariums to observatories to stargazing events!


Observatories are outdoor locations housing professional telescopes where you can bring your family to view the night sky. Please note, for all the observatories listed below, be sure to pre-register for free tickets on their website and call ahead to confirm, as public viewings are completely weather dependent and, therefore, subject to cancellation.

Judson B. Coit Observatory at Boston University

Public viewings take place on most Wednesday nights throughout the year.

Christina Mcaulife Center in Framingham

Community stargazing events are held on Friday nights. 

Harvard Smithsonian Center Observatory in Cambridge 

Public observatory nights are typically on the last Thursday of select months. 

Mendel Observatory in Andover

This observatory is open to the public for viewing most Wednesday nights.


Visiting a planetarium is a safer bet weatherwise, since these are indoor dome theaters built to mimic the night sky. Planetariums showcase educational information about astronomy and aim to be a fully immersive experience.

Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston

The Museum of Science planetarium is right in Boston and offers a number of different astronomy “shows.” One features moons, one gives an overview of the universe, and one explores the ties between science and religion. You can also experience music by your favorite artists — like Beyonce, Pink Floyd, Prince, and Rihanna — set to inventive visuals! For the preschool crowd, try “Big Bird’s Adventure: One World, One Sky.”

Ecotarium Planetarium in Worcester

This is the only public planetarium in central Mass, and it’s been recently renovated! There are a handful of shows here, including Passport to the Universe, narrated by Tom Hanks, and Cosmic Adventure, which includes a tour from the moon, through the solar system, and out into the rest of the galaxy. 

Russell Blake Planetarium in Plymouth

This planetarium is run by the local school district — a real treat for kids in Plymouth Public Schools! But the public is welcome, too — there are regular evening showings about space exploration, the night sky, and visits to the moon.

FSU Planetarium in Framingham

The new Framingham State University planetarium features ultra-high contrast laser phosphor projectors for both night sky scenes and fulldome films! Though most programs here are geared to school groups, you can catch public programming with the family on occasion!

Seymour Planetarium in Springfield

The Springfield Museums planetarium boasts the oldest operating American-made projector in the world! Programs include “Living Worlds,” “From Earth to the Universe,” “The Sun: Our Living Star”, and… “1989 Under the Stars” featuring Taylor Swift highlights!

Brockton Public Library Planetarium

This mobile planetarium is a unique immersive learning experience for the whole family! Check the library calendar for special dates and times.

Take a full moon walk, hike, or kayak trip

The Trustees often hosts family full moon walks and hikes. You love Crane Beach by day, now try it under the full moon!

Or, try a moonrise kayak trip or a full moon hike with Mass Audubon. Whether you find yourself on Cape Cod, in Newburyport, or near Wachusett, there are plenty of options for hikes, walks, and boat rides while gazing at the stars and the moon. 

Search for local stargazing events, star parties, and astronomy nights

These often pop up at nature centers (such as the Boston Nature Center and The Blue Hills Trailside Museum) and at libraries. 

The Dedham Public Library Endicott Branch often hosts drop in stargazing on clear Thursday nights. Check their website for the next scheduled event.

Arlington astronomy nights at Robbins Farm Park are a great summer hangout for all ages.

The North Shore Astronomy Club is another organization that hosts public gatherings. See if your town offers astronomy nights. If not, maybe you could organize one!

Be on the lookout for pop-up stargazing events in the city with Popscope.

Consider a Boston Harbor Night Cruise for some guided stargazing or an overnight camping trip to the Boston Harbor Islands to take in the night sky.

Or, simply go outside on your own! Choose a clear night with no clouds. If you are spending the night outside of Boston and away from bright lights, this is an ideal time for a little astronomy lesson! Good quality binoculars or a basic telescope can help you see the stars, moon, and planets clearer. (Did you know you can borrow a telescope from your local library? Boston Public Library has nine Orion Starblast telescopes to loan. Check the “library of things” at your local library!)

While you’re skygazing, see if you can help your kids identify some constellations

Pro tip: If you are looking to observe a meteor shower, you should be able to spot it with the naked eye!

Add upcoming celestial events to your calendar!

Refer to the NASA daily skywatching guide to see what’s coming up.

The New York Times has a nifty space event calendar you can subscribe to. For example, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks this week, and on May 9 you’ll be able to see Mercury!

Look up when you can best spot the International Space Station from your location.

Celebrate National Space Day and Massachusetts Space Week

NASA is offering 4th and 5th graders a look inside the space industry. This year Emily Calandrelli (from “Emily’s Wonder Lab” fame) will be hosting a broadcast where astronauts will have a Q&A with classrooms and discuss what they have been doing up in space!

Look for kid-friendly astronomy events taking place across Boston and other towns during Massachusetts Space Week every April.

the night sky and some hills in the background

Maria Zolotarev
Originally from Moscow, Maria has lived in the Boston area since grade school. She attended Boston Latin, where she met her husband, and then graduated from Northeastern University. Maria now lives in the vibrant neighborhood of Roslindale with her husband and two kids (born in 2015 and 2020). She works as clinical pharmacist by day and runs the Roslindale Littles Facebook group in her free time. Prompted by the pandemic, she dove headfirst into finding her “Unicorn Space” outside of working and momming. She rediscovered her love of writing and one day she hopes to publish a children’s book that showcases her family's culture. Most days you can find her chasing her super active kids around the garden while she listens to a never ending TBR list of audiobooks. Likes: tea, cats, yoga, hiking, her Peloton, exploring, reading, gardening and meeting new people. :)


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