When Malcolm and Mandy Sim welcomed two children into the world, the veterans of both the animation and theme-park industries visited numerous indoor play centers in Los Angeles, hoping to find the one that best suited their kids. Nothing quite clicked, however, which inspired the parents to call upon their entertainment backgrounds and develop their own indoor facility. Since relocating to the Boston area, the Sims have opened Jam Time, where youngsters ages 3 months to 6 years can surmount climbing structures, leap about in a bounce house, or shop in a pretend grocery market before whipping up faux soufflés in the playhouse kitchen. Classroom sessions further engage tykes with art projects, science classes, and princess-etiquette lessons, where young ladies learn to detect whether evil witches have booby-trapped their science projects. Soft play toys engage visiting toddlers and infants, while adults surf free WiFi, sip gourmet coffee, or enjoy a treat from the organic snack bar.
Housed inside Boston's monumental textile mill, the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation invites guests on a trek through American history with a collection of artifacts dating as far back as 1812. Throughout the building's hallowed halls, interactive displays cleverly disguise education as amusement, coaxing visitors both young and old to steer a 19th-century fire engine, play a foot-powered piano, and teach an antique telephone switchboard how to send text messages. Enduring exhibits also showcase Waltham's industrious past with displays dedicated solely to textiles, watches and clocks, and transportation, including bicycles and penny-farthings powered by shredded pieces of yellow journalism. Members can take advantage of such perks as complimentary museum admission, invitations to special events, and unlimited use of the museum library.
Jump Around Parties & Playdates boasts a sprawling indoor gymnasium of inflatable bounce houses, obstacle courses, and interactive games designed to give kids' energetic limbs and imaginative minds a place to explore. During open-jump sessions, staff members supervise children while they take on winding obstacle courses, break free from gravity in the moon bounce, and sharpen their jump shot during bounce-enhanced basketball games. The facility's two private party rooms host birthday celebrations that dazzle kids with pizzas, Cold Stone Creamery cake, and balloons in between their romps inside the climate-controlled gym. The center's invitation-creation center makes up quality invites so parents can use their time party planning instead of mastering calligraphy.
Stationed a safe distance away from the crowded city center, Easteleigh Farm has kept bygone eras alive since the early 1900s in Framingham. Current ownership converted Eastleigh back to a dairy operation in the early 2000s, and visitors have reaped the benefits ever since. During stops at the on-site store, visitors find fresh-from-the-farm products, including raw milk, cheeses, eggs, and honey. Even the farm's land exudes a high level of verdure: instead of crop-dusting the property with protein powder, Eastleigh uses all-natural nutrients such as fish oil to keep the land healthy. Visitors can see just how healthy the bounty is, too, during tours and hayrides around the farm.
Garden in the Woods is a 45-acre botanical garden, devoted to the conservation and promotion of native New England plants. Kid-friendly with scavenger hunts. Adult-friendly with guided walking tours Tues-Fri at 10am, Sat-Sun at 2pm.
A treasury of American art from the 18th century to the present day, with a particular emphasis on the school of Boston expressionism, the Danforth Museum of Art treats patrons to an array of ever-changing exhibits. Running June 12–August 7, the museum's juried exhibitions highlight pieces selected by discriminating art experts, rather than by fickle magic 8 balls. Along with the annual flagship presentation Off the Wall, which features new and exciting work from contemporary artists living and working in New England, this year's new Picture This! exhibit fills the Danforth Children's Gallery with work from regional children's-book illustrators working without the aid of talking-caterpillar apprentices. A third exhibition, A Community of Artists, displays hand-picked artwork chosen after the selection process for the other two showcases.