Having the kids home from school for a week without hearing a single “I’m bored” may be an impossible feat. But here are some free activities to do in and around Boston that will keep them entertained without lightening your wallet.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
Spring Egg Hunt
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is holding an egg hunt at Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester. Meet by the Gallivan Blvd. entrance by 11 a.m. to take part.
Street performers will be auditioning at Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17. They will be flipping, balancing and juggling their way into a spot performing at the marketplace all year long.
Free Kids Concert
Local children’s artist Rick Goldin is putting on a free concert at Union Congregational Church in East Walpole at 11 a.m. Goldin’s music includes catchy toddler tunes like “I Like To Read” and “Never Gonna Change My Socks.”
From 3 to 5 p.m. you can meet the Patriots cheerleaders at Charming Charlie at Patriot Place in Foxboro. The fashion accessories store is having its grand opening at which you can get samples and giveaways.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
Free Orchestra Concert
The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra is putting on a free show at Jordan Hall (New England Conservatory) at 8 p.m. The program includes performances of works written by winners of Berklee’s Concerto Competition.
Tour the USS Constitution
Free guided tours of Old Ironsides begin at 10 a.m. and continue every half hour until 5:30 p.m. Your 30-minute tour will be guided by active-duty Navy sailors. You’ll see the top deck, gun deck, and berth deck and learn about the history of this Boston landmark. Tours are offered Tuesdays through Sundays.
Walking Tour of the Arnold Arboretum
Tour season is underway at the Arnold Arboretum. The free tours are held every Sunday at 1 p.m. and last between 60 and 90 minutes. Meet at the Hunnewell Visitor Center. Additional tour hours are listed on the Arboretum’s website.
MONDAY, APRIL 18
Pack up the family, a picnic lunch and head to a spot along the Boston Marathon course. Your kids can watch a world-class athletic event and watch inspiring everyday athletes cap off months of training with the 26.2 mile journey. Check out these recommendations for the Best Spectator Spots.
Celebrate Patriots Day at dawn, with the reenactment of the Battle on the Lexington Green. British Red Coats march on the Green at 5 a.m. to engage in battle with the Lexington militia.
Patriots Day Parade
After the battle reenactment, you can stick around to watch the Lexington Sunrise Youth Parade. It begins at 7:30 outside 1265 Mass. Ave and marches through Lexington Center and onto the Battle Green. The Town Parade begins at 2 p.m. along the same route.
Free Crane Beach Day
Hopefully the weather is nice for this spring special. No access fees for one day only at Crane Breach in Ipswich. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with family activities including a scavenger hunt to buried treasure and guided hikes through the dunes. Find the golden clam and win a free beach sticker!
TUESDAY, APRIL 19
Patriot Place Events
There are several events at Patriot Place throughout the day including story time with the Easter Bunny at Showcase Cinema de Lux at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m. there’s Pretzel Kids Yoga just outside The Hall for six to nine year olds. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. you can create your own puzzle at North Marketplace outside Life Is Good. And at 6 p.m. there’s a free Zumba class on the lower plaza of Patriot Place just outside The Hall.
Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library in Copley Square is much more than just an impressive collection of books. The central library also houses fine art, rare prints, and now interactive multimedia exhibits. You can get a free tour Mondays at 2:30pm, Tuesday & Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays at 11:00 a.m.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20
Free Fishing Lessons
Learn to fish during April vacation at Hopkinton State Park. Instructions on how to bait, cast and fish will be given by staff of the DCR. Equipment is provided and fishing licenses are not required. Show up at the reservoir, near the boat rental, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Parking is free this day.
Out Of Sight
The Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole will host “Out Of Sight!” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Middle School students can look at life under a microscope and try a variety of hands-on experiments. To register, or for more information, contact the MBL Associates Office at 508-289-7281.
Taste of Quincy Market
Looking for some free food? Every Wednesday Quincy Market has an International Food Festival in which you can get samples of food at stalls that feature the Taste of Quincy Market sign. A loop around and you may have enough to fill you until dinner.
Wednesday nights beginning around 8:30 p.m. Boston University’s Coit Observatory opens to the public for about an hour. It’s weather dependent, so call 617-353-2630 no earlier than 6:30 p.m. for an update. Visitors will be able to use telescopes and binoculars to look into space.
The Museum of Fine Arts has free admission hours every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
THURSDAY, APRIL 21
Free Museum Passes
Most public libraries have free or discount passes to area museums. Participating museums include Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts and the New England Aquarium. But reserve early; the passes tend to be snatched up quickly for vacation weeks.
A spring nature trail walk and scavenger hunt will be held at the Nature Trail and Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place at 11 a.m. Afterward kids will be able to make their own trail mix.
The Institute of Contemporary Art has free admission hours every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
FRIDAY, APRIL 22
Earth Day Concert
This free outdoor concert on the Greenway takes place from Noon to 3 p.m. This year’s concert features performances by BoDeans and Entrain. Bring your blanket and picnic and enjoy the music.
Arnold Arboretum Family Adventure
Enjoy signs of the beginning of spring on this adventure hike through the Arboretum’s less-traveled pathways. The 90 minute hike is recommended for kids age 8 through 12. Preregister for this 1 p.m. hike on the Arboretum’s website.
Free Story Hour
It’s a free Friday night story hour at Barnes & Noble in Burlington (across from the Burlington Mall). Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat will be making a special appearance for the 6:30 p.m. story time.
The Gilliland Observatory at the Museum of Science has free open hours on Friday evenings, between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. It’s tucked away on the roof of the museum’s parking lot. Call the hotline (617-589-0267) before heading out, to make sure viewing conditions are prime.
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
Meet at the Botume House at the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham to take advantage of this free outdoor adventure. The three-hour guided hike begins at 11 a.m. This hike covers several miles and may not be suitable for children under 10. No dogs allowed.
Earth Day Celebration
From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. the New England Wild Flower Society will be hosting a Garden in the Woods Earth Day Celebration. There will be guided walking tours, special storytelling by well-known area storytellers, and a visit by a costumed tree character. The society also will be giving saplings to families in celebration of Arbor Day. All of this happens at the Society’s Garden in the Woods at 180 Hemenway Road in Framingham.