Plus bonus ideas in nearby MA and CT. (This guide has been revised and updated: May 27, 2014)
Consider 100+ Things To Do with Kids in Rhode Island Kidoinfo’s Bucket List, filled with things to do with your children before they grow up! Fun, food, culture, and history–all unique to our area: these are things we believe every young Rhode Islander should see and do.
For easy planning in any weather and any mood, our list is divided into four categories: Outdoor, Indoor, Food, and Close-to-RI-Favorites. We’ve included a note to let you know if the activity is FREE. (Always a bonus in our book!)
100+ Things To Do with Kids in Rhode Island has been updated again in June of 2014 to incorporate fresh ideas from Kidoinfo readers, and to remove items that have closed or changed since the list made its debut in 2009.
The guide is easy to use–print it out, check things off as you go, add date of visit, make notes, and add your own favorite spots!
On instagram: I just created a hashtag #kido100things to keep track of all the adventures we try. Feel free to tag your instagram photos so they become part of the collective #kido100things photo collection!
1. Visit Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence. 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 season. (Free)
2. Stroll through Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, and find the resting place of famous souls like horror, fantasy, science-fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. (Free)
3. Jump aboard the sunken ship The Hannah in Burnside Park (downtown Providence). Open all year long. (Free) Bonus: Attend Kidoinfo Storytime and Art in the Park during July and August. (Free)
4. Take a trolley tour of Providence.
5. 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)
6. Music! Enjoy concerts at Waterplace Park in downtown Providence. (Free)
7. Experience Waterfire in downtown Providence. Get there just before sunset to see the iconic bonfires as they are being lit. (Free)
8. Take a gondola ride during Waterfire in downtown Providence.
9. Visit the window displays of Big Nazo Lab, located in downtown Providence at the corner of Eddy and Fulton Streets. If you’re lucky, you may get a sneak peak inside. (Free)
10. Visit the original Shepard Fairey mural (commissioned by AS220 in 2010) painted on the side of the Pell Chafee Theatre on Aborn Street. (Free)
11. Make art and enjoy live music at AS220’s annual FooFest in downtown Providence. Takes place over the course of one weekend each August.
12. Pack a picnic supper and dine on the lawn of the John Brown House in Providence while listening to Concerts Under the Elms, Thursday evenings in the summer.
13. Visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence: meet the animals and play in the Big Backyard space.
14. Rent a swan paddle boat, canoe, kayak at Roger Williams Park in Providence.
15. 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)
16. Play at Dexter Park located next to the Cranston Armory in Providence. (Free)
17. Take a hike! Visit Rhode Island Families in Nature to choose from almost four dozen trails throughout Rhode Island. (Free)
18. 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).
- Travel back in time by visiting a 1790s New England farm: Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol.
- 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.)
19. 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.)
20. Go for a ride on the East Bay bike path from Providence to Bristol. (Free) Ice cream stops in Riverside, Warren, and Bristol. Visit http://www.dot.ri.gov/community/bikeri/index.php for a list of bike paths around the state. (Free)
21. Watch Movies on the Block outside on Thursday evenings (June-September) in downtown Providence. (Free)
22. Fly a kite at Breton State Park along Ocean Drive in Newport. Annual Newport Kite Festival in mid-July. (Free)
23. Visit Touro Synagogue, America’s oldest synagogue, in Newport.
24. Experience the Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park, first weekend in August.
25. Visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.
26. Stroll the Cliff Walk in Newport and imagine living in the opulent mansions. (Free)
27. Spend the night at the Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport.
28. Spend the day at Easton’s Beach in Newport. Enjoy the carousel, water slide, skateboard park, and playground.
29. Visit Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium in in Newport.
30. Pack a tailgate picnic and head to Glen Farms in Portsmouth for the Newport International Polo Series. During time-outs, kids run on to the field to stomp down divots. Every Saturday evening in summer.
31. Check out the tide pools at Beavertail State park in Jamestown. (Free)
32. Visit a former military fort with a history dating back over two centuries at Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown. (Free)
33. Join URI Marine Scientists at Fort Getty in Jamestown on a summer day at low tide for a two-hour beach walk.
34. Visit the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown.
35. Have a picnic at Roger W. Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett at sunset. (Free after 5pm)
36. Visit every carousel in the Rhode Island area: Crescent Park Looff Carousel (East Providence), Flying Horse Carousel (Watch Hill), Slater Memorial Park Carousel (Pawtucket), Carousel Village, Roger Williams Park (Providence), Easton’s Beach Carousel (Newport).
37. Explore Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States.
38. See Shakespeare in the Park during the summer in Wilcox Park in Westerly. (Free)
39. Visit a blue lobster at the Audubon Environmental Education Center in Bristol.
40. Welcome spring by attending Daffodil Days at Blithewold Mansion in Bristol. Bring your camera!
41. Take a hike up the old ski lift at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland. (Free)
42. Book a group tour of the Johnston Landfill.
43. 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.)
44. Go bouldering in Lincoln Woods. (Free)
45. Watch a film at the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In, Rte 146, North Smithfield. Open May through September.
46. Pick your own berries, and make your own jam.
47. Visit the Chapel-By-The-Sea in Colt State Park in Bristol. (Free)
48. Visit the Kettle Pond Visitor Center in Charlestown.
49. Visit the shops, feed the animals, and picnic at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory in Charlestown. (Admission is free.)
50. Swim, fish, play, or go boating at Ninigret Park in Charlestown. Visit the Frosty Drew Observatory on Friday evenings to get closer to the night sky.
51. Go camping in Hope Valley’s Arcadia Management Area.
52. Step back into history and explore Smith’s Castle in Wickford.
53. Swim at the Spring Lake Beach Facility and play in the arcade in Burrillville.
54. Go fishing at Sabin Point Park in East Providence. (Free)
55. Take the ferry round trip to Block Island for the day.
56. Visit the Jamestown Fire Department Memorial Museum in Jamestown.
57. Have a picnic at Goddard State Park in Warwick. (Free)
58. Ride the Prudence Island Ferry round trip from Bristol for a delightful daytrip.
59. Go on a seal watch. See Harbor seals in Narragansett Bay. View seals from Rome Point from October through April at low tide. (Free)
60. Visit the Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown.
61. Visit the tiny pirate playground in Warren. (Free) Followed by ice cream at Imagine.
62. Visit the imPossible Dream Playground in Warwick. (Free)
63. Rent kayaks. East Bay Paddle will drop kayaks off at one of 3 locations in Barrington: Brickyard Pond Veteran’s Memorial Park (Do you know why it’s called Brickyard Pond?), Hundred Acre Cove at Walker’s Farm or Bullocks Cove Haines Park.
64. Cool off at the Waterpark at Yawgoo Valley in Exeter.
65. Visit the Washington County Fair in Richmond during one long weekend in mid-August.
66. Go ice skating outdoors during the winter or indoors during the summer.
67. Play at the Providence Children’s Museum. Explore the Discovery Center (inside) and climb the Climber (outside). (Free admission after 5 on select Fridays during the year.)
68. 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.)
69. 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.)
70. Visit the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology in Providence.
71. Visit the Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium in Providence.
72. Enjoy films from around world, and learn about filmmaking at the annual Providence Children’s Film Festival. Takes place during the month of February. (Each year, some screenings are free.)
73. Visit the children’s room in one of America’s oldest libraries: Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street in Providence. (Free.)
74. See a show at Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in Providence. Check the schedule to attend the brown bag lunch organ concert series. (Free.)
75. Cheer on the P-Bruins at a hockey game in Providence.
76. Watch an IMAX movie at Providence Place Mall.
77. Watch children’s films at Cinemaworld in Lincoln every morning at 10AM, all summer long. (Children are FREE.)
78. Enjoy a garden oasis all year long at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park in Providence.
80. Take the Underdog Tour.. Visit all the Providence locations used in the film. (Free)
81. Visit the Johnson and Wales Culinary Museum on the Providence-Cranston line. (Scheduled to reopen September, 2014.)
82. See Kaleidoscope Children’s Summer Theater at Scottish Rite Auditorium in Cranston. Tuesdays during July and August.
83. Go duckpin bowling (no ducks involved). Find a list of Rhode Island Duckpin bowling alleys at The Rhode Less Traveled.
84. Attend story time any time of year at Barrington Books, Books on the Square, or your favorite library. (Free)
85. Children provide the power and operate miniature machinery in the Apprentice Alcove at Slater Historic Mill the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Pawtucket.
87. Learn why we honor Gilbert Stuart by visiting the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum in Saunderstown. Open May through October.
88. Visit the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket.
89. See a show at Stadium Theater Performing Arts Centers in Woonsocket.
90. Eat gelato from Venda in DePasquale Plaza in Providence. (In summer, eat near the fountain.)
91. Have wood-grilled pizza at the legendary Bob and Timmy’s in Providence. Eat more yummy pizza at the recent pizza additions to the city: Flatbread Pizza Company or Coal Fired Pizza.
92. Have ice cream at Gray’s or Daily Scoop on Thames Street in Bristol.
93. 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.
94. Eat crepes or cupcakes at the Duck & Bunny. Eat out in the back garden, weather permitting.
95. Have a food truck lunch or dinner. Use this link to find a list of trucks and their routes.
96. Have supper at Champlins.
97. Enjoy live music and a fun meal at Buster Krab’s Burger Shack and Beach Bar in Narragansett.
98. Order a coffee cabinet at Delekta Pharmacy in Warren.
99. Have a Del’s lemonade.Find the Del’s nearest you with the tool on this page.
100. Have breakfast or lunch at Crazy Burger in Narragansett.
101. Buy lobster off the boat in Point Judith in Narragansett.
102. Have clam cakes at Aunt Carrie’s in Point Judith in Narragansett.
103. Buy pie at Schartner Farms in Exeter.
104. Have a lobster roll at Blount Clam Shack on the waterfront in Warren, or downtown Providence.
105. Devour homemade ice cream at the original Gray’s in Tiverton.
106. Have lunch at Stanley’s in Central Falls, open since 1932.
107. Have a doughboy at Iggy’s in Warwick (open year round) or in Narragansett (seasonal).
108. Have breakfast at the classic Modern Diner in Pawtucket.
Many free or discount passes are available at the library.
- Visit the Navy Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT. (Free)
- Watch the drawbridge raise and lower for boats in downtown Mystic, CT. (Free)
Bonus: Toy store, ice cream, playground all nearby!
- Visit Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT.
- Visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Mashantucket, CT.
- Visit Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT.
- Cut flowers at Four Town Farm (priced per pound) in Seekonk, MA.
- 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.
- Zoom! Car racing and bumper boats at the Grand Prix in Seekonk.
- For even noisier, faster fun, watch a race or demolition derby at Seekonk Speedway. You might get dirty.
- Visit PaperHouse, a house made ONLY of paper, in Rockport, MA.
- Visit Nash Dino Land in South Hadley, 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 membership!)
- Learn how ice cream is made at Bliss Dairy in Attleboro, MA.