Kidoinfo’s Bucket List, filled with things to do with your children before they grow up!
Welcome to our 100+ Things To Do With Kids in Rhode Island! (Plus Massachusetts, and Connecticut!) Fun, food, culture, and history–all unique to our area: these are things we believe every young Rhode Islander should see and do. Plus bonus ideas in nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut! For easy planning, our list is divided into categories by type of event/place. Many free or discount passes are available at the library.
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Play and learn at Kidoinfo Play in the Park and Kidoinfo Storytime + Art in the Park programs (Free)
July & August. On Tuesday afternoons, Kidoinfo Play in the Park offers art and music activities along with giant blocks and games. You never know what you’ll find! On Thursday mornings, Kidoinfo Storytime + Art in the Park, offers a professional storyteller and then an art activity. Burnside Park, Downtown Providence.
Skate away at the Alex & Ani City Center Rink
Have birthday parties and play bubble soccer, foot darts, and human bowling depending on the time of year. Downtown Providence. Go ice skating, learn-to-skate, and ride bumper cars outdoors in winter.
Go ice skating indoors at the Cranston Veterans Memorial Ice Rink
Public skating times change regularly at this Cranston rink so check the website for details.
Take the Underdog Tour (Free)
Visit all the Providence locations used in the film. Self-guided and free.
Find adventure at Adventureland
Mini-golf, bumper boats, go-karts, batting cages, Bankshot™ Basketball, extreme air jumper, birthday parties, Carousel Pavilion with Burdick’s ice cream, and a carousel. Open June-October in Narragansett.
Go shopping and eating at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory (Free admission)
Visit shops and feed the animals at this Charlestown 19th Century international bazaar and farmyard. Free admission. Check the website for what’s open during different times a year.
Knock down pins using our Duckpin Bowling KidoGuide.
No actual ducks involved! Our list offers duckpin bowling alleys located in Rhode Island.
Roll to the tunes at United Skates of America
Roller skating, learn-to-skate, laser tag, rock climbing, game room, birthday parties, group events, summer and winter camps. 75 New Road, Rumford.
Visit every carousel in Rhode Island
Crescent Park Looff Carousel (East Providence); Flying Horse Carousel (Watch Hill); Slater Memorial Park Carousel (Pawtucket); Carousel Village, Roger Williams Park (Providence); and Easton’s Beach Carousel (Newport).
Book a group tour of the Johnston Landfill (Free)
90-minute Full Facility Tour – bring your own bus or register to take one at the site. 45-minute Materials Recycling Facility Tour. Spanish tour available upon request.
Watch the drawbridge raise and lower for boats in downtown Mystic, CT. (Free)
Bonus: a toy store, ice cream, and playground are all nearby.
Scramble across glacial rock formations at Purgatory Chasm (Free)
Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA, is a unique natural landmark offering exciting adventure. Follow trails to rock formations such as The Corn Crib, The Coffin, and Lovers’ Leap.
Zoom at the Seekonk Grand Prix
Go-kart racing for all ages, game room, ropes course, mini-golf, bumper boats and cars, character nights, and birthday parties in Seekonk, MA.
Get loud and fast at the Seekonk Speedway
Noisy, fast fun with a race or demolition derby in Seekonk, MA. You might get dirty.
See actual dinosaur tracks at Nash Dinosaur Track Site and Rock Shop.
Walk where the dinosaurs walked. Touted as the “the best place in the world to find dinosaur footprints.” Purchase dino tracks in South Hadley, MA. Seasonal.
Go for a ride on a Rhode Island bike path (Free)
On the East Bay bike path from Providence to Bristol, make ice cream stops in Riverside, Warren, and Bristol.
Find hikes with Rhode Island Families in Nature (Free)
Choose from almost four dozen trails throughout Rhode Island.
Stroll the Newort Cliff Walk (Free)
While you walk this 3.5-mile rocky trail in Newport, imagine living in the opulent mansions. Memorial Boulevard and Eustis Avenue.
Take a hike up the old ski lift at Diamond Hill Park (Free)
Once a former ski slope in Cumberland, Diamond Hill offers spectacular views and a fairly gradual climb. It’s also a great place to picnic and little ones will love checking out the small pond near the old band shell.
Go bouldering in Lincoln Woods (Free)
Enjoy swimming at the fresh water beach, trout fishing, playing ball, hiking, jogging, horseback riding, or just relaxing under a shade tree. Permits required for fields and picnic areas.
Walk along spectacular ocean views at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
Stop at the visitor center first. Walking the nearly 3 miles of trails, experience several habitats where animals and plants can be observed and photographed. The refuge is home to the second largest wintering population of harlequin ducks on the Atlantic coast (Nov-March).
Swim at Middletown’s Beaches
Sachuest Beach, locally known as Second Beach, is a South facing, mile long, family friendly beach with good surf and great sand. Third Beach is a family friendly East facing beach. Third Beach has fewer waves and overlooks Third Beach Harbor located near the mouth of the Sakonnet River.
Tour downcity Providence from a new perspective with Providence River Boat Company
Daytime, sunset, and Waterfire cruises available.
Experience the mystery of Waterfire
In downtown Providence, get there just before sunset to see the iconic bonfires as they are being lit.
Take a gondola ride
In downtown Providence, for couples, families, weddings, group outings. March to November.
Play at Roger Williams Park
This Providence park’s 435 acres feature over 100 acres of ponds that weave their way through the rolling landscape. Here are things to see in the park. Rent a swan paddle boat, canoe, kayak. Visit the Botanical Center, Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Roger Williams Park Zoo, and Village Carousel.
Spend the day or night at the Rose Island Lighthouse
This Newport lighthouse is scheduled to reopen in April 2019 after repairs and renovations. Day visits and overnight stays available. Guides provide historical information. Tour the lighthouse museum where each room is fully restored just as if keepers of old still lived there. Not recommended for children under age 5.
Cruise the boardwalk at Easton’s Beach in Newport
Enjoy the carousel, water slide, skateboard park, and playground. Located on Memorial Boulevard at the start of the Cliff Walk, a ¾-mile-long surf beach that also offers musical shows and Beach Idol.
Have a picnic at Roger W. Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett at sunset. (Free after 5pm)
Swim, fish, play, or go boating at Ninigret Park in Charlestown.
Swim at the Spring Lake Beach Facility and play in the arcade in Burrillville.
Journey with Blackstone River Cruises to learn about the river’s Industrial Revolution past and recovery to vibrant ecosystem. Stay overnight on a canal boat.
Cool off at the Waterpark at Yawgoo Valley in Exeter.
Brandon’s Beach at Burnside Park is a nautical-themed playground. The playground is appropriate for toddlers and young children of all abilities, and offers a wide variety of sensory-rich equipment, including pagoda bells, drums, and music pipes. It also features classic swings, slides and spinners. This playground was built in memory of Brandon Goldner and made possible by the generosity of his family and friends.
Attend a PawSox youth clinic before the Red Sox minor league baseball team’s game in Pawtucket. (The clinic is free. Tickets required for game.)
Cheer on the P-Bruins at a hockey game in Providence.
Art, Music, Theater
Get artistic with The Artist’s Exchange
Art classes, camps, art studios, gallery, art boutique and café – on Rolfe Square in Cranston. Non-profit run by Gateways to Change, Inc. Also offers a secondary venue just down the street, Theatre 82 & Café, which is a multi-use performance, meeting, and instructional space. See kid-friendly theater there! Features Character’s Cafe with a full breakfast and lunch menu, beer and wine, and live music on Sundays.
Visit the window displays of Big Nazo Lab (Free)
Located in downtown Providence at the corner of Eddy and Fulton Streets. If you’re lucky, you may get a sneak peak inside.
Visit the original Shepard Fairey mural (Free)
Commissioned by AS220 in 2010 and painted on the side of the Pell Chafee Theatre on Aborn Street.
Make art and enjoy live music at AS220’s annual FooFest
In August on Empire Street in downtown Providence. Music, food, all-ages activities. An annual summer block party fundraiser for AS220.
Listen to Concerts Under the Elm
Pack a picnic supper and dine on the lawn of the John Brown House in Providence while listening to concerts Thursday evenings in the summer. Late June-August.
Experience the Newport Folk Festival
Worldwide known festival at Fort Adams State Park in Newport in July.
See Shakespeare in the Park (Free)
Colonial Theater of Rhode Island brings Shakespeare to Wilcox Park in Westerly during the summer.
See a Broadway musical at Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC)
In Providence, PPAC presents a full roster of touring Broadway theatricals and contemporary engagements. With 3100 seats, it is the second largest theatre of its kind in the country and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Enjoy fairy tales with the Kaleidoscope Children’s Summer Theater
A professional touring theatre company based in Cranston, which offers educational performances in schools and fairy tale musicals in theaters throughout southern New England. On Tuesdays in July and August at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Cranston. Also shows at Theatre by the Sea in Wakefield.
See a music or theater show at Stadium Theater Performing Arts Centers
Built in Woonsocket in 1926, the Stadium Theater and is one of the few remaining examples of the majestic Vaudeville Theatre era in operation today. Since being restored in 2001, it has developed into a community center where touring theater and music shows share the stage with community theatre, dance, and local music.
Do a Craft Bash at the Artists’ Exchange (Free)
On the last Saturday of each month in Cranston. Different theme each month – fun art activities with enriching learning opportunities. They also offer classes and camps.
Catch the mystery at WaterFire (Free)
Food, music, eclectic shows, and fire on the water as up to 80 braziers are filled with wood and lit up. Donations accepted.
Animals and Aquariums
Get wild at Roger Williams Park Zoo
Located amid 40 acres of beautiful woodlands, the Zoo provides visitors the opportunity to see animals from all over the globe – more than 160 species. A focus on environmental conservation. Offers special events, music concerts, the Faces of the Rainforest exhibit, animal feedings, birthday parties, child and adult programs, and vacation and summer camps. Explore and Soar area with a zip ride over the Zoo and a train excursion through woodlands. Just a short distance away is Carousel Village, with a classic carousel. Food Truck Fridays at Carousel Village April-September.
Explore Narragansett Bay at the Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium
An interactive marine science center in Newport that is home to more than 40 species from Narragansett Bay, as well as three touch tanks and dozens of exhibits to get up close and personal with dogfish sharks, seahorses, turtles, and more. A new theme each month, with scavenger hunts, story hour, crafts, and science experiments that introduce something new or unexpected about the Bay. With an ocean-facing beach just outside, continue the beachcombing experience after your visit.
Tailgate at the Newport International Polo Series
Pack a picnic and head to Glen Farms in Portsmouth. During time-outs, kids run on to the field to stomp down divots. Saturday evenings in summer.
Go birding at the Norman Bird Sanctuary
A wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center with more than 325 acres of diverse habitats and seven miles of hiking trails in Middletown. Offers educational programs, including multiple types of bird walks from Owls to Woodcocks, story times, fireside trivia nights, summer camps, and an 8th century Paradise Farmhouse where you can stay.
Visit a blue lobster at the Audubon Environmental Education Center
Located in Bristol, offers a nature center and aquarium with a variety of educational programming, conservation activities, birthday parties, and summer camps. Walk the trails through meadows and marshes to Narragansett Bay and say hello to Finn and Atlanta, the resident Red-tailed Hawks.
Learn at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center
In Charlestown, learn about wildlife refuges in RI and the animals that inhabit them. Offers exhibits, a large classroom, migratory bird map, and more.
Encounter aquatic animals at Mystic Aquarium
In Mystic, CT, see and learn about water inhabitants from beluga whales to sea lions and see movies in a 4-D theater. Offers shows, animal feedings, penguin colony, birthdays, and weddings. Family memberships available.
Visit Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary
Experience life on a working farm in Lincoln, MA, and explore a wildlife sanctuary at the same time. Watch the pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and cows in the farmyard; see how crops are sustainably grown; walk the trails explore field, forest, and wetland habitat; and observe resident owls, hawks, a fisher, and a fox in the native wildlife exhibit.
Books, Reading, and Writing
Food and Farms
Shop from a local farmer. Many outdoor farmer markets open May through November with a handful open indoors the remainder of the year. (Visit www.FarmFreshri.org for a complete list of markets.)
Pick your own berries, and make your own jam.
Take a cooking class or birthday party with Made by Me Cooking School.
Venda in DePasquale Plaza in Providence. (In summer, eat near the fountain.)
Have vegan ice cream at Like No Udder in Providence.
Buy a house made hotdog from The Wurst Window at Chez Pascal — take it to go to enjoy by the fountain in Lippitt Park in Providence.
Eat crepes or cupcakes at the Duck & Bunny. Eat out in the back garden, weather permitting.
Have supper at Champlins.
Enjoy live music and a fun meal at Buster Krab’s Burger Shack and Beach Bar in Narragansett.
Order a coffee cabinet at Delekta Pharmacy in Warren.
Have breakfast or lunch at Crazy Burger in Narragansett.
Buy lobster off the boat in Point Judith in Narragansett.
Have clam cakes at Aunt Carrie’s in Point Judith in Narragansett.
Have a lobster roll at Blount Clam Shack on the waterfront in Warren, or at Crescent Park by the carousel in Riverside, RI.
Devour homemade ice cream and visit the cows at the original Gray’s in Tiverton.
Have lunch at Stanley’s in Central Falls, open since 1932.
Have a doughboy and walk the beach at Iggy’s in Warwick (open year round) or in Narragansett (seasonal).
Have breakfast at the classic Modern Diner in Pawtucket.
Sample RI’s favorite donuts at Allie’s Donuts.
Pick-your-own seasonal flowers, berries, pumpkins, and more at Four Town Farm in Seekonk, MA.
Learn how ice cream is made at Bliss Dairy in Attleboro, MA.
Play the Rhode Island Farm Scavenger Hunt. Take a road trip and explore 28 of RI’s 1,200 working farms. Visit www.RIFruitGrowers.org to download the map and clues or pick up a pamphlet at a participating farm.
Visit a real working dairy farm: Wrights Dairy Farm and Bakery in North Smithfield (Blackstone Valley).
Visit Casey Farm in Saunderstown. (Free for Historic New England members and Saunderstown residents.)
Visit a working family farm: Watson Farm in Jamestown (Free for Historic New England members and Jamestown residents.)
Visit a real working farm: Dame Farm and Orchards in Johnston.
Visit Kenyon’s Grist Mill in Usquepaug. (Free with a food or clothing donation for the Jonny Cake Center.)
Head to Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown to wander the grounds and pick various berries and apples. The beautiful market includes a café of prepared foods and baked goods.
History and Museums
Travel back in time by visiting a 1790s New England farm: Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol.
Visit Touro Synagogue, America’s oldest synagogue, in Newport.
Visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.
Visit a former military fort with a history dating back over two centuries at Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown. (Free)
Welcome spring by attending Daffodil Days at Blithewold Mansion in Bristol. Bring your camera!
Step back into history and explore Smith’s Castle in Wickford.
Visit the Jamestown Fire Department Memorial Museum in Jamestown.
Visit the Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown.
Visit the Frosty Drew Observatory on Friday evenings to get closer to the night sky.
Visit RISD Museum of Art and think like an explorer. Find the mummy or hunt for food motifs. (Free on Sundays and third Thursday of the month.)
Visit the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab, just around the corner from the RISD museum. See an amazing variety of specimens on display, including birds, bears and bones. (Free.)
Visit the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology in Providence.
Visit the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium in Providence.
Visit the children’s room in one of America’s oldest libraries: Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street in Providence. (Free.)
Learn why we honor Gilbert Stuart by visiting the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum in Saunderstown. Open May through October.
Play at the Providence Children’s Museum. Explore the Discovery Studio (inside) and climb the Climber (outside). (Free admission after 5 on select Fridays during the year.)
Visit the Johnson and Wales Culinary Museum on the Providence-Cranston line.
Children provide the power and operate miniature machinery in the Apprentice Alcove at Slater Historic Mill the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Pawtucket.
Visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Mashantucket, CT.
Visit Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA.
Visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA.
Visit Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA.
Visit Plimouth Plantation in Plymoth, MA.
Visit the Discovery Museums in Acton, MA.
Visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.
Visit the Ecotarium: Museum of Science and Nature in Worcester, MA.
Visit deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA
Explore the Adventure Park and Hidden Hollow at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA.
Visit the Museum of Science in Boston, MA. (Free with your Roger Williams Park Zoo membership.)
Visit the Boston Children’s Museum in Boston, MA. (Free with Providence Children’s Museum Family PLUS membership!)
Visit PaperHouse, a house made ONLY of paper, in Rockport, MA.
Visit Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT
Visit the Navy Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT. (Free)
Watch Movies on the Block outside on Thursday evenings (June-September) in downtown Providence. (Free)
Watch children’s films at Cinemaworld in Lincoln every morning at 10AM, all summer long. (Children are FREE.)
Parks & Playgrounds
Visit Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence (Free)
Learn why the founder of Rhode Island was also a champion of the ideal of religious freedom. Bonus: Lovely spot for an outdoor picnic in Providence.
Stroll through Swan Point Cemetery in Providence (Free)
Find the resting place of famous souls like horror, fantasy, science-fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft.
Jump aboard the sunken ship The Hannah in Burnside Park
Open all year long in downtown Providence. Bonus: Attend Kidoinfo Storytime and Art in the Park during July and August.
Watch the sunset over downtown Providence from Prospect Terrace. Park or hike to the top of Neutaconkanut Hill for another great view of the city. (Free)
Run in the breeze at India Point Park in Providence. Find the pirate ship in the 49-foot ceramic mural located near the playground. (Free)
Play at Dexter Park located next to the Cranston Armory in Providence. (Free)
Fly a kite at Breton State Park along Ocean Drive in Newport.
Check out the tide pools at Beavertail State park in Jamestown. (Free)
Explore Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States.
Visit the Chapel-By-The-Sea in Colt State Park in Bristol. (Free)
Go camping in Hope Valley’s Arcadia Management Area.
Have a picnic at Goddard State Park in Warwick. (Free)
Visit the imPossible Dream Playground in Warwick. (Free)
Enjoy a garden oasis all year long at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park in Providence.