Winter Family Day Trips Just an Hour or Two Away

By Barbara Evangelista, Former Publisher October 25, 2023

Planning a family day trip during winter is a bit more challenging.  Beaches, gardens and parks may be closed or difficult to access and many seasonal activities, like water parks, amusement parks, etc., are closed.  Here's a list of ideas for day trips within 1-2 hours from the Merrimack Valley that will be fun and interesting for families with kids of all ages.

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For Littles

Providence Children’s Museum, Providence RI  

Play, create and learn at the Providence Children's Museum.

Boston Children's Museum, Boston MA

Explore science, art and fun at this enormous Children's Museum.

Wenham Museum, Wenham MA 

Discover the treasures of childhood, including trains, toys and dolls from the 17th century to today.

Children’s Museum of NH, Dover NH

Learn and create at all kinds of exhibits focused on music, flight, dinosaurs, animals, patterns and so much more.

Discovery Museum, Acton MA

Explore science exhibits and enjoy hands-on activities.

For Elementary Aged Kids

Battleship Cove, Fall River MA

Visit this maritime museum in Fall River to explore the USS Massachusetts battleship as well as other marine vessels. Learn what it was like for the soldiers stationed on these ships, both daily life and during battle.

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord NH 

Learn about astronomy, aviation, Earth and space sciences at the Discovery Center and see a planetarium show.

SEE Science Center, Manchester NH 

The Science Center has hands-on activities for visitors of all ages, including exhibits on light, electricity, momentum, biology, biotechnology and more.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, Deerfield MA 

Enjoy indoor gardens (bliss on cold winter days!) and see beautiful butterflies as well as reptiles, birds, fish and insects.

Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence RI 

Lots to see at the zoo, even in winter, and admission rates are discounted.

New England Aquarium, Boston MA 

Enjoy the giant sealife tank, the penguin exhibit, and many other aquatic animal displays.

Museum of Science, Boston

So many fascinating exhibits to explore, from a full-size Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton to a two-story Rube Goldberg machine.

Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell MA 

Learn how the Industrial Revolution impacted Lowell, explore the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, and try out a full-size loom.

Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge MA 

The Village is generally opened Fridays to Sundays only during the winter, Explore this living history museum to learn about life in the 1800s.

Water Park of New England, Danvers MA

Spend the day at an indoor water park enjoying the lazy river, hot tubs, slides and the giant water structure.

For Tweens and Teens

Salem Witch Museum, Salem MA 

Learn about and see the drama of the Salem witch trials of 1692.

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA

The PEM has fascinating exhibits on local maritime history as well as Asian and American art.

Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline MA

The automotive exhibits at the museum explore the history of the automobile and changes automobiles brought to society as well as showcasing a large variety of unique vehicles.

New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks CT 

Learn about aviation history and aviation technology and see a wide variety of aircraft.

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