We’ve done write-ups of playground and parks and museums and festivals of all sizes here in the Greater Boston area. Nothing is too large or too small.
I grew up in Western Massachusetts, and we do have a decent amount of readers out that way, too. Occasionally I feel compelled to feature things from that region, too, and not just for that crew (hey, they already know about many of them!) We know many of our Boston area readers are adventurers looking for day trips. Those of you who went to one of the Five Colleges know what I’m talking about. It’s also nice to share places close to my heart.
Look Park was my local park growing up, and it’s a really nice one. It’s private (non-profit) and runs on a trust, admission fees, donations, fundraisers, and grants. That said, the $5-7 general admission is technically a parking fee, and it is per car rather than per person, and if you walk or bike in for the day, you’re exempt. A seasonal pass is worth it for locals. Some, but not all, of the activities have a small fee, not more than a few dollars each.
And there are a lot of them: pedel boats, bumper boats, mini golf, a small zoo, tennis courts, an outdoor theatre, walking trails, snack bars, a pretty good sledding hill for the winter, and more. The highlight for many is the kiddie train. This isn’t a toddler choo-choo of the sort you’ll occasionally see in mall food courts and what not. It’s a small scale C.P. Huntington steam train, and it goes all around the park, through the zoo and a tunnel. When I was a kid the tradition was to yell and bang the ceiling when going through!
There are pavilions and a Garden House to rent for larger events, but no one blinks an eye if you lay a blanket down under a tree for a family picnic.
Of course I’ve got to mention the playgrounds! There are three, two smaller toddler ones, and then one area with yet another toddler one and a big kid one. They’re fine; the main one in particular is quite large, and will keep the kids entertained, active, and happy, but with no write-home-about unique features.
The seasonal splash park stands out more. It’s colorful, with fun flower and umbrella sculptures, and a nice awning for parents (or tired kids) to rest under.
As much as I enjoy this place, would I recommend it as worth the two hour drive as the primary destination? I don’t know. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about it being the only stop because it is in Northampton, a vibrant and kid-friendly college town with lots of restaurants, galleries, theaters, and attractions.
Playground Hunt followers will especially enjoy the A2Z Science and Learning Store as well as the fact that Pulaski Park, a smaller downtown public park, is currently being rebuilt, in large part to make it more nature and child friendly.
Many of you loved our Eric Carle Museum write-up and the places are close enough to do them all in one day. Go for it!