If you are not from Massachusetts, you probably think of Boston and Cape Cod as the places to go. Well, I’m writing to tell you that there are tons of fun things to do with kids in central Massachusetts as well. Many are not far from Boston so they are worth a visit too! I had the pleasure of a joining a hosted blogger tour from the Massachussets Office of Travel and Tourism. We had a blast exploring 5 different stops on the tour.
Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm – Lincoln, MA
Our first stop was the Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm. Here, you can experience life on a working farm and explore a wildlife sanctuary at too. We got to see sheep, goats, chickens, horses, cows and more. They have great nature trail to observe many animals in their natural habitat. We saw owls, vultures, a grey fox and a brown rabbit. Going in spring is a special time of year as you’ll often see some of the new baby animals. We saw the lambs and the sheep. Apparently the piglets were still not due for a few weeks. Darn! We’ll have to go back.
The property is 206 acres with about 4 miles of trails (weather dependent). A fun hayride will take you for a quick loop around the farm and nature area. The little kids LOVE this! Drumlin farm host special events like Woolapolooza in March and Tales of the Night in October. Kids can even attend summer camp at Drumlin Farm. Visit their website and keep up with their Facebook page for up to date info.
Our family favorites:
- Hay Ride
- Solar powered sculpture
- Grey Fox
- Great Horned Owl
- Lambs and Kids
Ecotarium – Worcester, MA
Our next stop was the Ecotarium in Worcester, MA. The Ecotarium combines indoor and outdoor activities focused on self-exploration of science and nature. There is a variety of things to see and do including live animals (we loved the red foxes), science exhibits, and a planetarium ( the first National Geographic partnership in New England). The Ecotarium recently completed a large outdoor play area where kids can experience nature in new and different ways. This exhibit received National Certification as a “Nature Explore Classroom” by the Nature Explore organization. There are three nature trails for further exploration as well.
During the warm weather, families can explore a Tree Canopy Walkway as well. We’ll be back for this one! The museum is also are working to restore 40-year old Explorer Express train ride that goes around the property. Kids really LOVE this one!
Our Family Favorites
- The rescued Red Foxes (Socks and Roxy)
- Playing with air flow
- Exploring the sea life area
- Playing a life size game of Mancala
- Walking the logs in the Nature Explore area
Great Wolf Lodge New Englad – Fitchburg, MA
We spent an overnight visit at the Great Wolf Lodge New England. We absolutely LOVED it! The main attraction at Great Wolf Lodge is the HUGE water park. Apparently, they are the largest indoor water parks in North America. According to the website, there are 13 Great Wolf Lodges nationwide. This location is one of the newest in the collection. The water is kept at a comfortable 84 degrees and there are tons of activities to choose from like heart stopping slides a wave pool and zero entry splash parks for the little ones.
In addition to the watermark, there is a wide selection of other activities. You’ll certainly never get bored there. There is a huge game room, mini-spa for girls, a sweets shop, indoor ropes course, mini-golf and more. There is also an adventure game called “MagicQuest” where kids use wands to find magical clues around the hotel. The main lobby hosts magic shows and bed-time stories for the little ones too.
Our room was very nice and comfortable. We lucked out with a quiet room at the end of the hall. Some rooms are very close to the water park and other indoor activities so you might want to keep this in mind when you book. The food was good. They also offered nut-free desserts, which was perfect for my nut allergy son. We especially enjoyed the breakfast buffet.
Our family Favorites:
- Howlin’ Tornado
- Wolf Tail
- River Canyon Run
- Indoor Ropes Course
- Breakfast Buffet
Butterfly Place – Westford, MA
Next, we visited The Butterfly Place. Apparently this little gem has been around for 25 years, but I did not even know it existed. It’s a bit out of the way, but if you make a loop with some of the other activities in the area, it’s well worth a visit. I am not a huge fan of bugs. I think butterflies are lovely, but I don’t like them actually landing on me. That said, I braved the live butterfly atrium and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It is small, but really beautiful. There was classical music playing and many of the butterflies truly seemed like they were dancing. There are little pathways to walk and benches to just sit and observe. I felt like I had entered a secret world where a fairy might fly by and say hello.
In addition to the butterflies, there is a koi pond, tiny quails walking about and a few other small bird species living there. There was even a baby quail, which was just about the cutest thing I have ever seen. A butterfly expert sits in the atrium to answer any questions you might have. I had one butterfly land on my head and my son had one on his hand. I did not even flinch. I’ll gladly go back and sit amongst these little “fairies” again.
Our Family Favorites:
- Finding hidden butterflies
- Following the baby quail
- Spotting other birds
- Having a butterfly land on my son’s hand
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum – Lincoln, MA
Last, but not least, we visited the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. This is another absolute gem in the area. I grew up near New York City, so I had plenty of exposure to art, but nothing like this. Sitting on 30 acres, the sculpture park provides a constantly changing landscape of large-scale, outdoor, modern and contemporary sculpture. There are more than 60 works throughout the property. Inside, the Museum features a variety of rotating exhibitions and innovative interpretive programming.
During our tour, the museum directory took us to study a few of the sculptures a bit more closely. He did a wonderful job of asking the children about their perspective on each piece. DeCordova offers exciting opportunities to explore Museum exhibitions and the Sculpture Park through specialty tours, and other workshops. Each season offers up close encounters with exhibiting artists and the curators, as well as special guests. Check out this season’s public programs for more information.
Our Family Favorites:
- Enjoying the beautiful grounds
- Exploring the interactive sculptures
- The musical scupture – most around look, but don’t touch – not this one!
- Our interpretive tour