Kids Play Free :: 8 Places to Check Out in Boston

It’s summer time! Time to pack up the kiddos and explore all Boston has to offer. I’ve rounded up my top eight fun and free-for-kids activities to do in the area while the warm weather lasts.

Take them out to a ball game

Photo courtesy Boston Red Sox

Kids 2 and under don’t require a ticket to watch the Sox. The only catch? They have to sit on your lap. Watch a couple of innings, grab a hot dog and take them to Wally’s Clubhouse for face painting and balloons. Register your older children for Red Sox Kid Nation and score a free ticket for them as well.

Check out the giant octopus

Photo courtesy New England Aquarium

The Aquarium has a brand new exhibit, Tentacles Take Hold, featuring a giant red octopus, cuttlefish, and more. Children under the age of 3 are free — and you can watch the boats on the harbor on your way out. Or, reserve an aquarium pass through your local library (if you’re part of the Boston Public Library network), and the whole family can visit for free!

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Photo courtesy Zoo New England

Both the Stone Zoo and the Franklin Park Zoo are free for kids under 2. You can also bring your own lunch and have a picnic.

Walk amongst the trees

Photo courtesy Arnold Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum, near Jamaica Plain, is free for all. Take in all the colorful leaves and fragranced flowers — like lilacs — go for a mini hike, spot some birds, or just kick back and relax (easier said than done with little ones).

Go museum hopping

© Anchor Imagery
© Anchor Imagery

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln is free for children 12 and under. And on the first Wednesday of each month, it’s free for all! Grab one of their family activity kits at the front desk, and get exploring. And, while not totally free, the Children’s Museum in Boston is only $1 on Friday nights, thanks to Target.

Set sail on the high seas


Well, you won’t actually hit the open water, but close enough. Head on over to the Charlestown Navy Yard. Check out the boats and walk around the docks. You can even climb aboard the USS Constitution — just give a small donation to do so.

Discover the Discovery Museum

This one’s not technically in Boston, but close enough. Pack up the car and head on out to Acton, just a 35-minute drive west of town. Every Friday night from late June to August, your kiddo gets in for free to both the Children’s and Science Discovery Museum (located together).

Catch a flick

Watch a kids movie for free at the Hatch Shell. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and snacks, and cozy up for a fun flick. Get there early to claim a good spot.

In addition to this list, make sure you check out the many festivals, farmers markets, and parks in the area. Also, don’t forget to contact your local library for free or super discounted tickets to many local activities.

Got anything else to add? We’re always looking for fresh (and free) ideas! Add them in the comments below.