100+ Things To Do with Kids in Rhode Island

100+ Things To Do with Kids in Rhode Island

Plus bonus ideas in nearby MA and CT. (This guide has been revised and updated: May 19, 2016)

Kidoinfo-100-things-wideConsider 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!

Follow Kidoinfo on instagram @kidoinfo: I 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!

IMG_39031. 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)

graveyard32. 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)

TheHannah3.  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. Tour downcity Providence sights from a new perspective with Providence River Boat Company. Daytime, sunset, and Waterfire cruises available.
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. Take a gondola ride or boat ride.
8. Explore Slater Park in Pawtucket to see the animals at Daggett Farm, ride the swan boats on the pond, enjoy the playground, and visit the home of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society.

BigNazoPuppetWorkshop-Kidoinfo9. 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)

shepard fairey mural providence10. 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.

flamingo-zoo13. Visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence: meet the animals and play in the Big Backyard space. The zoo also hosts the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in the fall.
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.)
  • 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.

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)

IMG_243121. 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.

PeterSeeger2011FolkFestival24. Experience the Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park.
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.

Beavertail31. 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.

familybeachfeet-feature35. Have a picnic at Roger W. Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett at sunset. (Free after 5pm)

IMG_319436. 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.

strawberry-picking46. 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. Search for seaglass and play on the playground. (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. 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.
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 Adventureland in Narragansett, including mini-golf, bumper boats, go-karts, batting cages and a carousel.
68. Walk along spectacular ocean views on a natural “cliff walk” at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and check out the visitor center, just up the road from Second Beach in Middletown.

NEW BONUS ADDITION (Added August 17, 2017)! Brandon’s Beach at Burnside Park is a nautical-themed playground inspired by the Ocean State and Providence’s historic harbor, where large ships would dock in the Providence River. 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.



69.  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.)


IMG_721670. 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.)
71. 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.)
72. Visit the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology in Providence.
73. Visit the Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium in Providence.
74. 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.)

athenaeum.jpg75. Visit the children’s room in one of America’s oldest libraries: Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street in Providence. (Free.)
76. See a show at Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in Providence. Check the schedule to attend the brown bag lunch organ concert series. (Free.)
77. Cheer on the P-Bruins at a hockey game in Providence.
78. Watch an IMAX movie at Providence Place Mall.
79. Watch children’s films at Cinemaworld in Lincoln every morning at 10AM, all summer long. (Children are FREE.)
80. Enjoy a garden oasis all year long at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park in Providence.
81. Take the Underdog Tour. Visit all the Providence locations used in the film. (Free)
82. Visit the Johnson and Wales Culinary Museum on the Providence-Cranston line. (Scheduled to reopen September, 2014.)
83. See Kaleidoscope Children’s Summer Theater at Scottish Rite Auditorium in Cranston. Tuesdays during July and August.
84. Go duckpin bowling (no ducks involved). Find a list of Rhode Island Duckpin bowling alleys at The Rhode Less Traveled.
85. Attend story time any time of year at Barrington Books, Books on the Square, or your favorite library. (Free)
86. 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. Enjoy local food, community, and often music from November through May at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village.
91. Jump for joy at an indoor trampoline park: Skyzone in East Providence and Launch in Warwick.
92. Strap on skates and roll to the tunes at United Skates of America in Rumford.
93. Take in a dynamic show with Providence’s young talent at Everett’s Friday Night Live (all ages improv comedy Fridays at 7 PM – break during summer) and Manton Avenue Project, where local actors perform plays written by young playwrights.

fountaingelato94.Eat gelato from Venda in DePasquale Plaza in Providence. (In summer, eat near the fountain.)
95. 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 Providence Coal Fired Pizza.
96. Have ice cream at Gray’s or The Daily Scoop on Thames Street in Bristol.

IMG_816297. 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.
98. Eat crepes or cupcakes at the Duck & Bunny. Eat out in the back garden, weather permitting.
99. Have a food truck lunch or dinner. Use this link to find a list of trucks and their routes.
100. Have supper at Champlins.
101. Enjoy live music and a fun meal at Buster Krab’s Burger Shack and Beach Bar in Narragansett.
102. Order a coffee cabinet at Delekta Pharmacy in Warren.
103. Have a Del’s lemonade. Find the Del’s nearest you with the tool on this page.
104. Have breakfast or lunch at Crazy Burger in Narragansett.
105. Buy lobster off the boat in Point Judith in Narragansett.
106. Have clam cakes at Aunt Carrie’s in Point Judith in Narragansett.
107. Buy pie at Schartner Farms in Exeter.
108. Have a lobster roll at Blount Clam Shack on the waterfront in Warren, or at Crescent Park by the carousel in Riverside, RI.
109. Devour homemade ice cream and visit the cows at the original Gray’s in Tiverton.
110. Have lunch at Stanley’s in Central Falls, open since 1932.
111. Have a doughboy and walk the beach at Iggy’s in Warwick (open year round) or in Narragansett (seasonal).
112. Have breakfast at the classic Modern Diner in Pawtucket.
113. Sample RI’s favorite donuts at Allie’s Donuts.

closetoriMany free or discount passes are available at the library.




  • 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 Family PLUS membership!)
  • Learn how ice cream is made at Bliss Dairy in Attleboro, MA.
RIMOSA: A New Providence Museum, of Curiosity!

RIMOSA: A New Providence Museum, of Curiosity!

By Bonnie Epstein (RIMOSA Executive Director) & Kimberly Arcand (Popular science author & RIMOSA Board member)

The Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art (RIMOSA) was founded seven years ago – by local scientists, artists, parents, and educators – as a museum without walls to create exhibits and programs at the intersections of science and art for older children and adults.  At RIMOSA, we encourage the ability to observe, the courage to experiment, the need to communicate and, above all, the path to curiosity.

Now, RIMOSA has walls! We have just launched our brand-new, conveniently located, physical site at 763 Westminster St. in Providence, where our mission remains to, above all, kindle curiosity and encourage experimentation.

Our exhibits and activities are not meant to just provide static facts and answers, but to be physically engaging and open-ended, to allow and encourage curiosity to take place, and to provide a place for you to “make.”  In short, we encourage play, whether you’re an explorer aged 10, or aged 8 times 10.   We use many inexpensive, household items in our programs – and deliberately do not try to hide how our exhibits were constructed – so that they may serve as catalysts to self-directed learning.  We consider our work a success when we get comments such as “Last summer we went to the marble coaster workshop and for two months after our house was covered in “track”. All because RIMOSA introduced it!” – J. Brown, Newport Library Patron

We will also be featuring special exhibits and events at RIMOSA.  Currently, we are hosting a NASA-funded exhibit on “Light: Beyond the Bulb,” a project that has toured the world, landing in hundreds of locations from an airport in New Zealand to town square in Bolivia.

This summer, exercise your curiosity! Wonder at the sky, be perplexed by sand, and come by our new museum (now with walls) to visit RIMOSA!

RIMOSA summer hours:
Thursdays/Fridays 1-5
Saturdays/Sundays 12-5
Mondays – Wednesdays Open only by Appointment

Location: 763 Westminster St, Providence RI 02903
Website: www.rimosa.org
Contact information: Info@rimosa.org
Admission: Adults (ages 13 and up): $5 / Children (ages 2-12): $7

Fostering Empathy Through Pretend Play

Fostering Empathy Through Pretend Play

By Suzy Letourneau and Robin Meisner, Providence Children’s Museum


Providence Children’s Museum’s recently reinvented Coming to Rhode Island exhibit explores history through four story galleries ­– an English colonist’s farmhouse (1640), the new Fort Adams worksite (1835), a Cape Verdean packet ship (1892) and a Dominican bodega (1961). The exhibit uses these stories to build empathy and foster respect for the diversity of individuals who make up the world. Empathy is the ability to sense, understand and share other people’s emotions, and it allows individuals to take others’ perspectives, communicate and collaborate.

Children develop social and emotional skills like empathy as they begin to understand their own identities and appreciate differences between themselves and others, and research shows that pretending is a natural avenue for this development. In Coming to Rhode Island, children engage with each story through pretend play, allowing them to practice social and emotional skills in developmentally meaningful ways.

Toddlers (and even infants) start to notice and react to others’ emotions, a foundation of empathy. They also start pretending in simple ways and playing in parallel with other children, setting the stage for social skills and later forms of pretending. In the exhibit, a toddler might offer fake food to someone who says they are hungry or share with another child while playing side by side.

Children ages 3 to 5 begin to engage in more complex forms of pretend play, from wearing a costume or using props to creating stories with different roles. Children in Coming to Rhode Island might pretend to cook in a kitchen, build a fort or sail a ship. When pretending together, they talk about their ideas and decide how a story should unfold. In the process, kids learn that other people might not think and feel the same things they do, and they practice seeing other’s points of view and learn to work through conflicts.

Children ages 5 to 7 start to understand similarities and differences between themselves and others, and can take many different perspectives. When playing together, they create elaborate stories and practice empathy by imagining what others might feel in different situations. In the exhibit, kids might take on roles that are very different from their own lives. They might think about what life was like for the people whose stories appear in the galleries, and they recognize differences between their own lives and those who lived in the past.

Children ages 7 to 11 begin to recognize that different people might have different interpretations of the same situation, and that multiple perspectives can be equally valid. They also start to understand that people’s feelings are influenced by what others think and how others act towards them, helping them develop deeper empathy for others. In Coming to Rhode Island, older kids might reflect on how other’s previous experiences shaped the decisions they made and their perceptions of the world.

While children begin developing empathy and perspective-taking very early on, these skills continue to grow throughout their entire lives. In Coming to Rhode Island, older children and adults might question stereotypes and challenge assumptions, and appreciate the diversity represented in our community.

Learn more about Coming to Rhode Island and get a peek at the process of creating the exhibit on the Museum’s blog.

Explore Empathy and Stories In New “Coming to Rhode Island” Exhibit

Explore Empathy and Stories In New “Coming to Rhode Island” Exhibit

By Megan Fischer, Associate Director, Providence Children’s Museum


 Step back in time at Providence Children’s Museum to explore a playfully reinvented version of its popular Coming to Rhode Island exhibit. The dynamic environment invites visitors to embark on a time-traveling exploration of the state’s history, immigration and culture through stories and engaging hands-on activities that encourage empathy and respect for diversity.

 For hundreds of years and continuing today, people have come from all over the world to what is now Rhode Island – whether voluntarily, coerced or forced – and everyone has stories about where their families are from and how and why they came. Coming to Rhode Island shares real stories of real people who have immigrated to the state – how they lived, what they left behind, the challenges they met, the solutions they found.

 While Coming to Rhode Island explores history and culture, above all the exhibit is designed to build empathy and foster respect for the diversity of individuals who make up our world. It’s about understanding that diversity makes our communities richer and stronger, and about cultivating compassion for others by making personal connections to their stories. Research also shows that pretend play is one of the best ways to develop empathy and other socio-emotional skills, including taking different perspectives and relating to and communicating with others. At a time of divisiveness and discord in our country and world, empathy is more important than ever.


 Discover these exciting exhibit updates:

  • Discover an imaginative new gallery highlighting the story of John Quigley, a pre-famine Irish immigrant who helped build Fort Adams in Newport from 1831 to 1841. Enter an immersive kid-sized replica of the Fort with brick and stone corridors and tunnels, join the construction crew to build walls and arches, don period appropriate costumes, explore what home life was like at the Fort, and investigate tools and documents of the trade from the 1800s and about the Quigley family’s history.
  • Step into the “Story Center” to experiment with an array of intriguing hands-on activities and resources that investigate culture and diversity and encourage empathy, building on the learning that happens through pretend play in the story galleries. Play games and hear music from around the world, build with “face blocks” to create unique faces and expressions, create and share self-portraits, and more.
  • Explore a wealth of different stories – stories of Rhode Islanders past and present, stories of people of different cultures and backgrounds, stories that encourage families to think about and appreciate what’s unique about themselves and others.

In celebration of Coming to Rhode Island, discover a series of special programs exploring construction and Irish culture in November and December. Build with bricks, engineer tunnels, enjoy lively performances of energetic Irish tunes, and more. Learn more.

Coming to Rhode Island and related activities are free with $9.00 Museum admission.  For more information, visit www.ChildrenMuseum.org.

Get a peek at the process of creating Coming to Rhode Island on the Museum’s blog!

Coming to Rhode Island is supported by The Champlin Foundations; The Children’s Workshop Foundation; CollegeBound Saver; June Rockwell Levy Foundation; Murray Family Charitable Foundation; The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund; Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; The Ryan Family Foundation; and Nancy Smith Worthen, in memory of Margaret L. Worthen. The Irish gallery was developed in collaboration with the Fort Adams Trust and The Museum of Newport Irish History.

West Side Play Space Reopens in November!

West Side Play Space Reopens in November!

There is a silver lining to the post-Halloween slump of chilly days and early nights: West Side Play Space (WSPS) is reopening its doors for a 4th year of play this November!


West Side Play Space was founded by a group of parents on Providence’s West Side, transforming four classroom spaces in the former Asa Messer Elementary School Annex into a gathering space for play and community-building for kids 0-5 and their caregivers. The space includes a tumbling area, make believe/dress up area, reading nooks, and art supplies and projects. There also is a dedicated snack space, occasional special events, and opportunities for members to rent the space for birthday parties.


So how does it work? Parents and registered caregivers can drop in anytime during weekday and weekend open play hours with their children. In keeping with the vision to foster community among families, West Side Play Space operates as a co-op. Families contribute $10/month plus one volunteer shift per month. There is also an option to try out the space by paying a $10 daily drop-in. WSPS is open to all, not just Providence residents.


West Side Play Space is kicking off the 2016 November-April with a *free* Open House on Saturday, November 5 from 1:00 – 5:00pm for existing and prospective members as an opportunity to check out the space, enjoy some snacks and get to know the community.

This winter, look out for 3-week design mini-sessions offered to 6-9 year olds in collaboration with DownCity Design.


The Details:


  • Address: West Side Play Space, 245 Althea Street, Providence
  • Email: info@westsideplayspace.com
  • For more information visit westsideplayspace.com. Learn more about membership and visiting WSPS, check hours, and sign up for mailing list.
  • Cost: $60 for November-April season (or $10/month) plus 1 volunteer shift/month


COMING SOON: A New Coming to Rhode Island

COMING SOON: A New Coming to Rhode Island

By Megan Fischer, Providence Children’s Museum


Providence Children’s Museum introduces a playfully reimagined Coming to Rhode Island exhibit this fall, with an opening weekend celebration November 18 – 20!

For hundreds of years and continuing today, people have come from all over the world to what is now Rhode Island, and everyone has stories about where their families are from and how and why they came. Coming to Rhode Island is designed to promote tolerance, diversity and inclusion by sharing actual stories of the history of immigration to RI – how people lived, what they left behind, the challenges they met, the solutions they found. The exhibit’s goals are for children and adults to develop tolerance and respect for the diversity of individuals that make up their world, understand that diversity makes our communities stronger, and build empathy for others by making personal connections to their stories.

Discover these exciting exhibit updates:

  • Embark on a time-traveling adventure through a transformed “time tunnel” to journey through the exhibit’s story galleries and learn about Rhode Island’s immigration history.
  • Explore an imaginative new gallery highlighting the story of a pre-famine Irish immigrant who helped build Fort Adams. Work on the Fort’s construction crew to build walls and arches, and explore what home life was like at the Fort.
  • Investigate an array of intriguing hands-on activities and resources that explore culture and diversity and encourage empathy, building on the learning that happens through pretend play in the story galleries. Play games and discover music from around the world, and explore stories of other Rhode Islanders as well as your own stories.
  • Examine new labels that help caregivers understand the value of pretend play for developing empathy and other social-emotional skills.
  • And, in celebration of the exhibit, also join a series of special programs exploring construction and Irish culture in November and December. Create Celtic knots, build with bricks, engineer tunnels, and more. Learn more.

While there are a lot of changes in store, the new Irish gallery will replace only the French Canadian mill gallery – so no worries, the beloved English farmhouse, Cape Verdean packet ship and Dominican bodega will return!

Curious how the Museum makes new exhibits?  Visit the Museum’s blog for a behind-the-scenes peek at the process of reinventing Coming to Rhode Island!


Coming to Rhode Island is supported by The Children’s Workshop Foundation; CollegeBound Saver; June Rockwell Levy Foundation; Murray Family Charitable Foundation; The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund; Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities; The Ryan Family Foundation; and Nancy Smith Worthen, in memory of Margaret L. Worthen (as of October 11). The Irish gallery was developed in collaboration with The Museum of Newport Irish History and the Fort Adams Trust.