Museums they'll beg to visit Exploring: Boston museums have perfected the art of child-friendly exhibits.

Taking the Kids

March 09, 1997|By Eileen Ogintz | Eileen Ogintz,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

Calling all kids (and parents) who groan at the mere mention of a museum. Boston's for you.

I can't think of a better place to convert museum-haters (including the one who lives in my house) to enthusiastic museum-goers. That's because almost every museum in Boston has designed child-friendly exhibits guaranteed to engage even the most reluctant (read: "When can we go back to the hotel and swim?") youngster. He won't have time to think about being bored because he'll be busy unraveling the Mystery of the Mummy at the Museum of Fine Arts, writing backward like Leonardo da Vinci at the Museum of Science, or trying out the experts' picks of the best children's software at the Computer Museum, the only one of its kind.

There's plenty else to choose from in Boston's museums.

Family hotel packages and discounts are offered everywhere -- from the ultra luxe Four Seasons Hotel, where pet accommodations can be arranged, to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, where the second child is admitted free.

Call the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau at [800] 888-5515 or visit Boston's Web site at

My museum rules: Follow the kids' lead, even if you don't get to spend the time you'd like where you'd like. Make sure the children are well-rested and well-fed. Leave before you have to; don't wait until they're exhausted.

Here are my don't-miss picks for families visiting Boston in the coming months.

At the Museum of Science, the new (opened March 3) exhibit is devoted to Leonardo da Vinci. This is the only U.S. stop for the largest and most comprehensive look at the Renaissance scientist and artist, complete with 13 interactive areas to explore different facets of his life and genius.

Families can experiment as Leonardo did, altering the flow of water, for example, building a bridge or considering the impact of light and shadow on drawings. The da Vinci exhibit will be at the Museum of Science for six months. Advance reservations are recommended.

Save time for the museum's 450-plus other exhibits on everything from lasers to mirrors to solar energy.

Call the museum at (617) 723-2500 or visit its Web site at The museum is open daily.

Head to the Computer Museum's Best Software for Kids Gallery to search for titles based on your child's age and interest. Even better, try some of them out for free. (Look for "The Computer Museum Guide to the Best Software for Kids" at the Museum Store for $16.)

Located on Boston's waterfront, this is the first museum devoted solely to computers. Here's the place for the techies in the family: They can walk through a PC the size of a two-story house, answer e-mail or move text on a 12-foot-high monitor.

Before you go, visit the museum's Web site at The museum is open daily in the summer and Tuesday-Sunday in the winter.

Adjacent to the Computer Museum is the Children's Museum of Boston, where everyone can dance the "Snackarena" while learning about healthy snacks during the "Blue Plate Special" musical revue designed to teach kids how to improve their eating habits. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get picked to wear the gold carrot costume or pasta bowl hat during the finale! Take your budding chefs to Friday Night Kitchen, when admission costs $1.

Call the museum at (617) 426-8855. From September until June, the museum is closed Mondays, except school vacations and holidays.

Leave lots of time in your schedule for the New England Aquarium. Starting in mid-April, children can watch staff veterinarians and biologists take care of sick fish, seals, baby penguins, turtles and other creatures. No one in the family will resist getting wet at the hands-on tide pool.

If there are young scientists in your house, consider the Science at Sea Harbor Tour, which enables them to take part in different experiments.

The aquarium is open every day. Call (617) 973-5200 or visit the Web site at Say "hi" to the penguins for me.

Pub Date: 3/9/97

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