CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS
Sun, sports, and lots of sand keep kids entertained on the Cape.
1. Eight swimmable kettle ponds and miles of hiking and biking trails beckon children to NICKERSON STATE PARK.
3. Budding David Ortizes get tips on how to swing and throw like a pro—from MLB pros themselves—at the CAPE COD BASEBALL CLINIC.
4. Home to the world’s largest naval ship exhibit, BATTLESHIP COVE has enough activities to keep even the youngest military enthusiast occupied. Kids can explore the galley of the World War II battleship USS Massachusetts and the spartan crew quarters of the Soviet-built missile corvette Hiddensee. 5 Water St., Fall River, 508-678-1100, battleshipcove.com.
5. With its musty rooms and storied history, it’s no surprise the Civil War era FORT WARREN boasts one of the best ghost stories around. According to legend, a woman was hanged here during the Civil War, and has haunted the halls of Fort Warren as the "Lady in Black" ever since. Even Mom and Dad will get a chill walking through the fort’s dark and eerie passageways. Georges Island, 617-223-8666, bostonharborislands.com.
6. A swashbuckling adventure aboard the PLYMOUTH PIRATE CRUISES—complete with stolen treasure, enemy cannons, and the requisite pirate-themed face-paint—is sure to keep the little ones happy during a hot summer day. Town Wharf, Plymouth, 508-746-5342, piratefun.com.
7. NANTASKET BEACH and its accompanying boardwalk once served as one of New England’s premier resort destinations. Spend the day eating soft-serve ice cream, twirling on the merry-go-round, and taking turns at the penny arcade. Nantasket Avenue, Hull, 781-925-0472, paragoncarousel.com.
8. At PLYMOUTH PLANTATION, a re-creation of the 1627 Plymouth colony, children can watch costumed handymen ply their trade and learn about the state’s true natives at the Wampanoag Homesite. The Nye Barn breeds species that were common in Colonial times; while tots fawn over the newborns, adults can find humor in the Dickensian-named Dorking fowl. 137 Warren Ave., Plymouth, 508-746-1622, plimoth.org.
For kids activities in Maine, go on to the next page…
MOUNT DESERT ISLAND, MAINE
It’s easy to pack summer days with pint-size adventures on this 108-square-mile island.
1. For a peek at the lives of the ocean’s most majestic inhabitants, book a BAR HARBOR WHALE WATCH COMPANY catamaran.
2. The endless family hiking options in ACADIA NATIONAL PARK come with sea views, forest trails, and rocky coasts.
3. Captain John Nicolai of the LULU LOBSTER BOAT RIDE offers educational encounters with harbor seals and lobsters.
4. For one week at summer’s end, every living, breathing person in the region heads to the BLUE HILL FAIR—as they have since 1891. It’s everything you’d want, including 4H club events, country music, tractor pulls, draft horses, fried dough, rickety carnival rides, and a cast-iron skillet throwing contest (no joke). 9/3–9/9; Rte. 172, Blue Hill, 207-374-3701, bluehillfair.com.
5. Searching out the world’s biggest sea mammals requires patience and knowledge of their watery world. Aboard the 100-foot-long Harbor Princess for the BOOTHBAY WHALE WATCH, kids will be able to see seals, sharks, petrels, and possibly even a humpback whale during the three- to four-hour journey. Pier 6, Boothbay Harbor, 207-633-3500, whaleme.com.
6. With 30 miles of trails and bald summits with ocean views, CAMDEN HILLS STATE PARK is perfectly suited for day hiking. The highest peak, Mount Megunticook, rises 1,300 feet above sea level along a vigorous mountain brook. The lower peak, Mount Battie, is accessible by car if the kids are too tired to walk. Either way, pack a lunch for al fresco dining with unbeatable vistas. 280 Belfast Rd., Camden, 207-236-3109, stateparks.com/camden_hills.html.
7. In the 19th century, British troops tried to seize control of the Penobscot River for access to up-country lumber. The U.S. responded by erecting the pentagon-shaped FORT KNOX in 1844. Children can explore the dungeonlike soldiers’ quarters, climb over historic Rodman cannons, and peek out at "enemies" from the narrow gun windows. 711 Fort Knox Rd., Prospect, 207-469-6553, fortknox.maineguide.com.
8. Winding its way along 57 miles of track, the MAINE EASTERN RAILROAD introduces visitors to the midcoast’s small towns minus noisy traffic and parking woes. An abundance of packages includes rail-and-sail trips, overnights at inns, and museum-hopping. Stations in Rockland, Wiscasset, Bath, and Brunswick, 866-637-2457, maineeasternrailroad.com.
9. The little-known OWLS HEAD TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM has one of the finest collections of early aircraft and automobiles in the world. Kids will love the more than 100 historic cars, bicycles, carriages, and motorcycles on display in the airplane hangar–size space. Among the exhibits is the extraordinarily rare 1935 Stout Scarab, the so-called first minivan. 117 Museum St., Owls Head, 207-594-4418, ohtm.org.
10. What was it like when shipbuilding and seafaring were based here? Find out at the PENOBSCOT MARINE MUSEUM featuring Seacoast Village, a collection of eight early 19th-century buildings including a sea captain’s home. Also on hand are historic boats and, for the kids, live demonstrations of period tools. 5 Church St., Searsport, 207-548-2529, penobscotmarinemuseum.org.
For kids activities in Vermont, go on to the next page…
SOUTH CENTRAL VERMONT
Little ones discover old-timey fun in the Green Mountain State’s hills and valleys.
1. Meet Jersey cows, horses, sheep, and chickens at BILLINGS FARM, just outside Woodstock.
2. The 60-plus exhibits at MONTSHIRE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE include live views of the universe from the Hubble space telescope.
3. It’s a real-life Toy Story at the VERMONT TOY & TRAIN MUSEUM, where kids (and grownups) can check out playthings from the ’50s to the present day.
4. For five generations, ADAMS FAMILY FARM has produced all manner of products, including timber, maple syrup, wool, and milk. Today it also has sleigh rides and hayrides around the property, a menagerie of livestock from goats to alpacas, and evening sing-alongs around the bonfire. 15 Higley
Hill Rd., Wilmington, 802-464-3762, adamsfamilyfarm.com.
5. Forget the Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, or any other toy du jour. MARY MEYER’S MUSEUM OF STUFFED TOYS has been turning out lovable stuffed bears with the same artful craftsmanship for 75-plus years. One look at their darling snouts and you’ll understand why they’ve endured.
One Teddy Bear Ln. (Rte. 30), Townshend, 802-365-4160, bigblackbear.com.
6. The NATURE MUSEUM AT GRAFTON is one of the only places to see a catamount, the New England mountain lion that went extinct a century ago. (This one is stuffed and mounted.) It and dozens of other diorama displays provide a fun and informative view of Vermont wildlife. 186 Townshend Rd., Grafton, 802-843-2111, nature-museum.org.
7. THE RETREAT FARM is especially hands-on. In addition to plenty of feed for the animals, kids are given brushes to groom horses and scratch pigs’ backs, and they are invited into cages to pet rabbits and pick up newly hatched chicks. More-exotic animals include emus and a Scottish Highland cow. 350 Linden St., Brattleboro, 802-257-4050, theretreatfarm.com.
8. Who knew that when Santa wasn’t making toys, he vacationed in southern Vermont? The North Pole–themed park SANTA’S LAND USA is holiday-spirited for the kids, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a petting zoo with reindeer and miniature ponies, and low-key rides including an "alpine train" and merry-go-round. 635 Bellows Falls Rd., Putney, 802-387-5550, santasland.com.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2009/05/kids-game-days/