Back in the 1970s this waterfront museum (308 Congress St., 617/426-6500, www.bostonkids.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri., $12 adults, $9 seniors and children 1–15, free children under 1) pioneered the kind of messy, hands-on learning that is now de rigueur in children’s museums. In 2007, it underwent a renovation to update the exhibits to the 21st century.
Budding construction workers can build skyscrapers and jackhammer them down in the Construction Zone; little monkeys can tackle a brightly colored maze of tunnels, towers, and walkways called the Climb; and the nautically inclined can float their boats in a 28-foot-long model of the Fort Point Channel (visible outside the museum’s walls) called Boats Afloat.
Word to the wise: get there early or come late on weekends to avoid playing referee to dozens of kiddie skirmishes that break out when the exhibits reach capacity. Better yet, come mid-week when you and the kids will have the best exhibits to yourself!