Traveling with kids isn’t always as easy as the guidebooks make it sound, but Rhode Island is, in fact, as ideal a place to do it as any, thanks to its balance of education and fun. A plethora of aquariums, zoos, carousels, arcades, beaches, and baseball games guarantee that any time of year is a good time to pack up the minivan: Spring is wonderful for outside strolls in the parks; summer begs for cooling dips at the beach; fall is foliage and festival time; and winter is when you can head for the indoor museums.
Here’s my list of top things to do with kids in Rhode Island:
- Ryan Family Amusements in Newport is a blinking, beeping extravaganza of an arcade that keeps the family happy for hours, rain or shine.
- Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth is a seven-acre estate overlooking Narragansett Bay, where 21 of the 80 trees have been sculpted into giant animals.
- The Providence Children’s Museum offers first-rate opportunities for education through play, with interactive exhibits focusing on science, nature, technology, and art.
- Gray’s Ice Cream in Tiverton is a famed fixture of Rhode Island as much for its history (it has been around for 80-plus years) as for its rum-raisin flavor.
- Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium in Newport is where wee ones can check out rare calico lobsters, among other sea creatures.
- PawSox are the Pawtucket-based minor-league affiliates of the Boston Red Sox, and they’re every bit as much fun to watch as the big-time version, minus the crowds and expensive tickets.
- Roger Williams Park Zoo is world class, housing more than 957 species, a children’s farmyard exhibit, a carousel, a natural history museum and planetarium, and a playground right in Providence.
- Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill brings smiles (and dizziness) to thousands of just-from-the-beach kids every summer.