Best Boston Day Trips: Summer daze

Shop Talk by Kitty Kaufman

Just because it's August doesn't mean summer's over yet. We've found old and new favorites just right for lazy afternoons. These websites are helpful: with FAQ and listings: hours, admission, special exhibits and programs and directions by car or MBTA. Please call first! This article was written five years ago. Nearly all venues are available for parties, weddings and corporate events. So whether you're a city explorer or longing for a suburban setting, there's something for every taste.

The Discovery Museums
177 Main Street (Rt. 27)
978. 264. 4200
Both the Children's Discovery Museum and the Science Discovery Museum with interactive exhibits for kids of all ages are open seven days 9:00-4:30 all summer. See Water in Motion with water wheels, pumps and a demo of the Archimedes Screw. Call ahead, bring your lunch, no strollers. Admission: adults and kids -, seniors -.

The Butterfly Place
120 Tyngsboro Rd
978. 392. 0955
Forty miles north of Boston there's indoor living at its best: 80° year round. The 3,000-square foot atrium sports eclectic vegetation for its 500 winged inhabitants from everywhere. Get up close inside the atrium, watch from the observation room, see the 15-minute video and stop by the "Show and Tell Bench" where staff members share info. Open seven days 10:00-5:00 all summer. Bring your lunch, strollers okay. Admission: adults .50, seniors .50, kids (3-12) .00, under 2 free.

Boston to Provincetown Fast Ferry
Long Wharf (near the Marriott at 296 State Street)
877. 474. 3127
What could be cooler than a 90-minute catamaran ride to the tip of the Cape with 599 of your closest friends? Get to P-town with loads of time to eat, shop and beach. Ride the high-speed cat complete with outdoor deck, snacks, bar and satellite television. Their onboard concierge helps with hotel and restaurants. Book online at least a day in advance: adult round trip , seniors , kids 4-12 . This website links to other harbor cruises and city helicopter, trolley, bike and walking tours.

John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
Columbia Point
866. JFK. 1960
Overlooking Boston Harbor, I. M. Pei's structure evokes a poignant reminder of the 60's. Inside you'll find the life and legacy of our 35th President in period settings and multi-media exhibits. The experience begins with JFK's own description of his political career. The exhibits embrace powerful reminders of the Peace Corps, the early space program, the civil rights movement and Mrs. Kennedy's 1962 White House tour. There's free parking or the MBTA Red Line to JFK/UMass station (with a free shuttle every 20 minutes). The Library is open every day: 9:00-5:00. Bring your lunch or dine in the café, strollers okay. Admission: adults , senior and students , kids 13-17 , free for kids 12 and under.

New England Aquarium
Central Wharf (near Marriott Hotel)
617. 973. 5200
You already know about the eels, giant sea turtles, sea jellies and penguins. There's more: sunset cruises, harbor discovery cruises and whale watches. If you're game, venture out 30 miles to whale and dolphin feeding grounds. Or spend a rainy day in the IMAX theatre (9:30-10:30 pm) with its 65-foot high screen and escape to deep sea 3D adventures. Aqua Kids Family Day is geared to young children with stories, art projects, music and live animals! Visit the Aquarium 9:00-5:00 weekdays, weekends 'til 6:00. Admission: adults .95, kids 3-11 .95. MBTA Blue Line to Aquarium.

Museum of Science
Science Park (near O'Brien Highway)
617. 723. 2500
One day may not be enough to take in all the exhibits and shows. The Museum is open every day 9:00-7:00, Fridays 'til 9:00. Admission starts at adults and kids. (Extra for Omni shows, planetarium, laser and butterfly garden.) MBTA Green Line Lechmere train to Science Park.

Museum of Afro-American History
46 Joy St (at Smith Court)
Boston's Beacon Hill
617. 725. 0022
Dedicated to collecting, educating and celebrating the vitality of African American culture, the Joy Street Meeting House (1806) was a cultural center from 1800-1900. Their Nantucket branch operates July-August (508.228.9833). Take a Boston Black Heritage Trail walking tour by the National Park Service (617.742.5415). Boston Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00-4:00. MBTA Red and Green Lines to Park Street. Donation: .

Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave
617. 267. 9300
The Museum operates seven days starting at 10:00. Admission: adults , seniors and students , kids 7-17 .50.

Blue Hills Trailside Museum
1904 Canton Ave (Route 138)
617. 333. 0690
The state's 7,000-acre reservation, managed by Mass Audubon, has 150 miles of hiking trails along with natural history exhibits. The nature center is open Wednesday-Sunday and Monday holidays 10:00-5:00. The trails are available every day from dawn to dusk. Weekend programs include nature stories, guided tours, pond walks and live animals! Admission: adults , seniors , kids 3-12 .50.
© July 2007 for Our Town Brookline
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