April showers have given way to May flowers! There are many events in and around Boston this May, guaranteeing that you and your family will have tons of ways to enjoy springtime in our fantastic city! Check out our monthly events guide, brought to you by Goldfish Swim School, to get some great ideas for family fun!
In addition to this guide, our calendar has daily events listed to keep you active and entertained this month!
We’ve also included links to area libraries and recurring events. We know this is not a comprehensive list, so if you think of any fun family activities we missed, please share them with us in the comments.
If you are looking to connect with other moms near you, make sure to join our Community & Conversation Group!
May 4 :: Family Printmaking with Coco Berkman :: Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester
Families are invited to join together and create a small self-portrait print. Participants will be provided with paper, fabric, and flat textures to glue onto a piece of cardboard to create their image, which is then rolled with ink and hand rubbed until their masterpiece is completed!
May 4 :: Bird Carving Demonstration with Paul Phillips :: Harwich Cultural Center, Harwich
As a part of Boston Art Week demonstrations, decoy maker Paul Phillips will demonstrate the art of decoy carving. Paul is an experienced woodworker and carver who volunteers at the Elmer Crowell Barn (part of the Brooks Academy Museum). He will share his knowledge about the folk art of decoy birds and decorative bird art, and create a demonstration for all to enjoy.
May 5 :: SSC Youth Orchestra Concert :: Duxbury High School Performing Arts Center, Duxbury
SSC Youth Orchestra provides an opportunity for dedicated young musicians from all over the South Shore to perform symphonic music at a high level. The orchestra invites the community to join them for their final concert of the year. The performance is preceded with an “instrument petting zoo,” where youngsters can get up close and personal with the instruments featured later in the program.
May 5 and May 12 :: Exploring With the New England Aquarium :: East Boston, Jamaica Plain
Get your hands wet while you meet some interesting local ocean animals! Educators from the New England Aquarium will be on hand to facilitate family-friendly STEM activities and answer your questions about tidepools!
These free events will take place from 1–3 p.m. at BCYF Paris Street Community Center (112 Paris Street, East Boston) on Sunday, May, 5, and from 1–3 p.m. at Curtis Hall (20 South Street, Jamaica Plain) on Sunday, May 12.
May 10–June 8 :: Boston Ballet Presents Cinderella :: Citizens Bank Opera House, Boston
You are invited to the Royal Ball! Boston Ballet presents Cinderella, an enchanting full-length classic fairytale ballet. For a limited time, youth ages 17 and under receive 50% off ticket prices with the purchase of one full-priced ticket. For more information, visit bostonballet.org or call 617.695.6955.
May 11 :: Zootopia :: Franklin Park Zoo, Boston
At Zootopia, Zoo New England’s annual fundraising gala, guests will enjoy a cocktail reception, auction, dinner, dancing, and the opportunity to meet some of the zoo’s animal ambassadors.
May 12 :: Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum :: Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain
A tradition since 1908, Lilac Sunday is a beautiful way to spend Mother’s Day! The beautiful plants are mainly located on the edge of Bussey Hill Road. Tours of the lilacs and family activities are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Picnicking is permitted in the Arboretum on this day only. Please bring your own food, as there will be no food vendors. The landscape is open from dawn until dusk.
May 12 :: Mother’s Day Brunch and Stroll :: Norman Smith Environmental Education Center, Milton (Mass Audubon, Blue Hills Reservation)
Celebrate Mother’s Day with a delicious pancake brunch followed by a guided hike in the woods, led by one of the naturalists. Search for birds and enjoy the beautiful wildflowers and views from atop Chickatabut Hill. In the event of rain, there will be a live animal presentation in place of the hike.
May 12 :: Mother’s Day at Stone Zoo and Franklin Park Zoo :: Stoneham and Boston
Celebrate Mom at Franklin Park and Stone Zoos this Mother’s Day with free admission for all mothers throughout the day.
May 16 :: Take Aparts :: Discovery Museum, Acton
Are your little ones constantly taking things apart to see what is inside? Have you always wondered what the inside of your computer or television looked like? Come to the Discovery Museum, grab a screwdriver, and check it out at this interactive event, sponsored by Analog Devices Inc.
May 16–19 :: The Perils of Mr. Punch :: Puppet Showcase Theater, Brookline
Audience members will jump in on the journey detailing the ongoing troubles of Mr. Punch, puppetry’s favorite loudmouth. Join Mr. Punch as he and the Bozo Brothers sing their way through trouble, adventure, and triumph in this hilarious new production by Modern Times Theater. In addition to this hilarious puppet show, the program also features a concert, where the audience will enjoy music ranging from early jazz to American folk, played on everything from a ukulele to a bike pump!
May 18 :: Franklin Park Coalition’s Kite and Bike Festival :: Pierpont Road, Boston
Pack a picnic, grab your kites and bikes, and join others at this joyous annual festival! Guests will be entertained by kite-making activities, games, and activities led by Playworks, Appalachian Club’s OutdoorsRX, and Biking in Boston. There will also be food vendors, face painting, and live music performances!
May 18 :: Free Ferry Day :: Boston Harbor Cruises, Long Wharf North
Thanks to generous funders, Boston Harbor Cruises is able to once again offer free tickets on selected days throughout the warm-weather months! Free tickets for the Boston Harbor Cruises ferry will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis at the Ferry Center on Long Wharf North beginning at 8:30 a.m. Each adult in line may pick up a maximum of four tickets. No tickets will be given out at the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center on the Greenway or Long Wharf South ticket booth.
May 18 :: Family Design Day – Treehouses :: BSA Space, Boston
In this fun workshop, families learn how architects create strong structures that give more to the earth than they take from it. Families will be guided through creating their own trees from cardboard and wood and then designing and building a treehouse to rest in its branches. This program is best for children between 5 and 13 years old, and there is a ratio of one adult to three children.
May 23 :: Garden of Flags Name-Reading Ceremony :: Boston Common
Each year, more than 37,000 flags are placed on Boston Common in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to commemorate the Massachusetts service members who have given their lives to defend the United States since the Revolutionary War. Flags will be placed on Wednesday, May 22, beginning at noon. A name reading ceremony will be held in front of the flag display on Thursday, May 23, to commemorate the Massachusetts service members killed since September 11, 2001.
May 25 :: Annual Memorial Day Services :: Veteran’s Memorial Park, Boston
The 73rd annual Memorial Day Services will be held at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boston beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 25. This beautiful park hosts monuments commemorating those who fought in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and can be found near the Kelleher Rose Gardens.
May 25 :: Descendants Character Meet and Greet :: Waterford’s Restaurant and Pub, Dedham
Get geared up for the premiere of the third Descendants movie with this exciting event. Meet your favorite characters ahead of the summer release of Descendants 3! Tickets include a hot buffet brunch, printed photos with all the characters, and themed arts and crafts!
May 25 and May 26 :: Blue Butterfly Peace Lanterns :: ArtBeat, Arlington
This annual Memorial Day event reminds us that peace is something we make together. Participants will add paper designs to white lanterns to create glowing reminders of our role in a peaceful planet. This event is best suited for children ages 8 and over, but children as young as 4 are invited to participate with their families.
May 26 :: Wareham Oyster Festival :: Wareham
Celebrate all things shellfish at this free street festival! Guests will enjoy local seafood (and some non-seafood treats for the landlubbers!), wine and beer, live music, a 5K walk, and craft vendors.
May 26 :: Institute of Contemporary Art Free Admission Day :: ICA, Boston
Visit the Institute of Contemporary Art on Memorial Day and receive free admission. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors are invited to use stencils and special artist markers to create their own art on acetate paper.
May 29 :: World Otter Day at Stone Zoo :: Stone Zoo, Stoneham
Learn more about these adorable and fascinating creatures at the Stone Zoo while celebrating World Otter Day! Find out fun facts, such as how fast an otter can swim and how long they can hold their breath underwater, and learn how we humans can help to protect and preserve the species!
May 31 :: PJ Library Community Shabbat Picnic and Drum Circle :: Whittemore-Robins House Lawn, Arlington
Join PJ Library for the annual Community Shabbat picnic at the Whittemore-Robins House Lawn from 6–7:30 p.m. Tony Fonseca from All Hands Drumming will guide families in a kid-friendly drum circle! Guests are asked to bring their own picnics, and grape juice, challah, and cookies will be provided.
May 31 :: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz :: Bethel A.M.E. Church, Jamaica Plain
An amazing array of talented musicians will present excerpts from Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz works at this moving event. Singers from People’s Baptist Church, teens from Boston City Singers, Paul White jazz trio, a narrator, and a tap dancer at Bethel will perform these works at the A.M.E. Church in Jamaica Plain.
Storytime at Showcase Cinema de Lux :: Patriot Place, Foxborough :: Tuesdays, 11 a.m.
This free weekly storytime takes place every Tuesday at Showcase Cinema de Lux. After a story reading, a special character makes a weekly appearance followed by a short movie.
Public Telescope Nights at New England Sci-Tech :: 16 Tech Circle, Natick :: Tuesdays and Fridays, 8–9 pm
The public is invited to join New England Sci-Tech for an evening of astronomy during the spring, summer, and fall months. Depending on staff availability, inside activities such as planetarium shows and visiting the astronomy classrooms may be available. Visitors are also invited to borrow smaller “starblast” telescopes to use on their own.
Recreation Sundays on Memorial Drive :: Memorial Drive, Cambridge :: Sundays, May–November
Every Sunday, from the last Sunday of April to the second Sunday of November, Memorial Drive is closed to traffic between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street — and open to recreation! Ride a bike or scooter, take a jog, or bring your baby on a leisurely stroll down this usually busy road while you enjoy the beautiful views of the Charles River!
Urban Air Sensory Friendly Jump/Play Time :: Bellingham :: Sundays, 9 a.m.
This event is specifically designed for children with autism and special needs to enjoy time at the park and have a lot of fun without loud music and flashing lights! The lights will be white and music/video games turned off for those with sensory challenges during this time.
Baby-Friendly Monday Matinees at the Capitol Theatre :: Arlington :: Mondays, 12–2 p.m.
The Capitol Theatre features a baby-friendly movie every Monday afternoon. Please check the theater’s Monday schedule to see what feature has been selected for parents and their infants.
Kids’ Art Club :: Dorchester :: Tuesdays, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
This club has a new art project at the library every Tuesday. Projects include collage self-portraits and artist’s books. Art Club projects are showcased in rotating displays in the library children’s room.
Nature Time at Blue Hills Trailside Museum :: Milton :: Thursdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m.
Introduce your preschool-aged child to nature with this fun program. Programs may feature a story, nature games, crafts, short walks outside, or meeting one of the museum’s animal residents. Meet, play, and learn with other area families. Each program runs for 45 minutes and meets most Thursdays. Museum admission is included with this program. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
JFN Free Friday Playgroup :: Natick :: Fridays, 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Bring the little ones and come join other parents and caregivers in the Metrowest area for a fun-filled morning of play and socializing. There are plenty of songs, activities, toys, snacks, and laughter, as both the children and their grown-ups build connections and lasting friendships.
Backyard and Beyond: Forest Fridays :: Acton :: Fridays, 10–11 a.m.
A great way for the whole family to enjoy time outdoors, the Forest Friday program is held outside, no matter the weather. Every Friday morning there is a nature-based activity based on the weather and season, either in Discovery Woods or out on the adjacent conservation land. All ages are welcome but activities are designed for 2- to 6-year-olds. Please note that the conservation land trails are not ADA or stroller accessible; please wear appropriate footwear and clothing.
Storytime at the Curious George Store :: Cambridge :: Fridays, 10:30–11 a.m.
Small children and their caregivers are welcome at these weekly storytimes, running throughout the year.
SaturPLAY :: Rose Kennedy Greenway – Chinatown :: Boston :: Select Saturdays, 1–3 p.m.
The Asian Community Development Corporation’s youth program, A-VOYCE, hosts a placemaking event monthly to activate and bring children to The Greenway’s Mary Soo Hoo Park. Each month features a different theme with games, activities, crafts, and more. Youth volunteers are on hand to engage children. SaturPlay is subject to weather conditions.
ImprovBoston Family Show :: Cambridge :: Saturdays, 4–5 p.m.
Improv Boston’s improv and music extravaganza is completely made up on the spot every week based on your suggestion. No two shows are alike! Best of all, children who want to participate have opportunities to be on stage and take part in the fun! The show is ideal for family outings, birthday parties, and school field trips. It’s fun for the whole family and best for children ages 4-12.