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Explore wonderful nature & science centers with your kids in Boston & Cambridge

You and your family can stay close to Boston’s magnificent natural habitats on a family vacation to see Boston’s fine nature museums. There’s wildlife from around the world in two fabulous zoos, and wildlife refuges with self-guided nature walks, a trailside museum, programs and more. A forest lies hidden in a rich ecosystem with rare species of flora, while a renowned arboretum serves as the center of New England’s plant science. Browse a native plant botanical museum , and enjoy a park that offers fishing, public swimming, and picnic areas.

One Franklin Park Road Boston, MA, 02121 Phone: 617-541-5466

Discover wildlife from around the world

Take off on a wonderful science and nature adventure at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. You’ll find programs and classes for adults, families, youth and teens, school groups and camps, behind the scene tours and teacher resources for use in the classroom. Discover wildlife from around the world including African lion, Masai giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, plus lowland gorillas, lemurs, sloth and more. Explore the Tropical Forest, the Kalahari Kingdom and the Giraffe Savannah. The Aussie Aviary, open seasonally, is home to hundreds of brightly colored budgies and offers an amazing free-flight, interactive bird adventure. Before leaving don't forget to stop by the Things Wild Gift Shoppe for some great souvenir items or clothing.

26 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 Phone: 617-495-3045

A breathtaking look at the vivid colors of nature & history

Don’t leave Boston without exploring the 16 galleries in this family-friendly museum displaying some 500 taxidermy animals -- elephant, rhino, hippo, tigers, bison, even a 15-foot tall giraffe-- not to mention huge whale skeletons. Dinosaurs include the skull of one of the first Triceratops ever discovered, Plateosaurus and more. Don’t miss the Pteranodon and the world’s only mounted skeleton of the 42 ft.-long Kronosaurus. Explore a timeline of Earth’s history, and admire 3,000 rare minerals, meteorites, and gemstones. New and changing multi-media exhibitions-- Microbial Life, Marine Life, New England Forests-- showcase cutting-edge research. Harvard’s most-visited museum is an easy 8-minute walk across the historic campus from Harvard Square T. See website for directions and info on pre-reserving paid parking in advance. The museum is connected to Harvard’s Peabody Museum, and one admission fee covers both museums.

Stony Brook Reservation

Turtle Pond Parkway Hyde Park, MA Phone: 617-698-1802

A 475-acre park and wildlife refuge, featuring fishing areas, biking and hiking trails, public swimming, and picnic areas. Programs are scheduled there throughout the year.

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

293 Moose Hill Street Sharon, MA Phone: 617-784-5691

The Massachusetts Audubon Society operates this nature center, the oldest in the state founded in 1916. There is an admission charge.

Blue Hills Trailside Museum

1904 Canton Avenue Milton, MA Phone: 617-333-0690

Museum offers hiking trails, live animals and regularly scheduled programs. There is an admission charge.

Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130 Phone: 617-524-1718

Research plant biology in the arboretum's library or listen to scientists talk about Asian flora; if you're looking for New England's center of plant science, you've found it. See full description of Arnold Arboretum

Garden in the Woods

180 Hemenway Road Framingham, MA, 01701 Phone: 508-877-7630

This enchanting "hidden" forest is full of a rich ecosystem, including many rare species of flora. You can even purchase some of the plants to root your own magic garden at home. See full description of Garden in the Woods

180 Hemenway Road Framingham, MA, 01701 Phone: 508-877-7630

The magnificent native plant botanical museum, Garden in the Woods, displays over 1,000 native plant species including over 150 rare and endangered species on 45 acres. Hours: April 15- October 31, Tuesday through Sunday plus Holiday Mondays 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. April 15-July 3, extended hours Thursday and Friday evenings until 7 p.m. After October, trails close for the season. Fee charged.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

280 Eliot Street Natick, MA Phone: 508-655-2296

At this sanctuary, visitors can enjoy nine miles of hiking trails, in addition to lectures and other programs in a renovated horse barn.

Stony Brook Nature Center

North Street Norfolk, MA Phone: 508-528-3140

This nature center includes a self-guided hiking trail. An extensive boardwalk system lets you walk along the edge of Teal Marsh.