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Things To Do With Kids in Providence

The bustling capital city of Providence abounds with lots of family activities. Among the things to do with kids in Providence are sports games, zoos, and of course artistic endeavors. If you’re visiting Providence with kids, check out this list for inspiration—just like the city itself, you never know what you might find.

Create Something Beautiful at Muse Paintbar

At Muse Paintbar, LUMIFY lightbox technology projects an image through the canvas, so aspiring artists can easily trace their subject before painting. The studio hosts regular kids and family events, with kid-friendly subjects such as emojis and unicorns, or have the kids join you at one of the other art sessions, as kids are welcome to any studio event.

Get on the Ice at Alex and Ani City Center

At 14,000 square feet, the Alex and Ani City Center dwarfs the famed ice rink at New York City's Rockefeller Center and provides visitors with plenty of room to ice skate for hours. Located in Kennedy Plaza, skaters can enjoy a day of gliding against a backdrop of Providence landmarks during open skate sessions. But even when it’s warm outside, families can hit the rink in joystick-operated bumper cars.

Learn about the Master Works at RISD Museum

The Rhode Island School of Design opened its first galleries in 1893, and since then, its collection of fine decorative art has grown to more than 84,000 objects. Parents can pre-register their kids for the 45-minute "Tours for Tots"—a guided excursion through the exhibits paired with gallery activities. Other family activities include an open studio for little ones and a study and sketch of particular works for kids 6 and up.

Explore Colonial Life at John Brown House Museum

A National Historic Landmark built in 1788, the home of John Brown—from one of the wealthiest colonial families—has been transformed into a museum of sorts. Visitors learn what it was like to live in privilege during colonial America and learn about the slave trade and the revolution, amongst other events of the day.

Get Closer to the Animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo

More than 100 species of animals call this 40-acre woodland zoo home. And visitors aren’t relegated to peering through plexiglass at the resident fauna. In a few of the exhibits, they can get hands on.

  • Feeding time: Deliver noms to friendly giraffes, harbor seals, and a variety of farm animals.
  • Go for a ride: Hop aboard the humped back of a camel.
  • Make like a monkey: In Our Big Backyard, the zoo’s nature play area, kids and grown-ups can climb, build forts, and explore.

Also on the grounds, a short distance away from the zoo, is Carousel Village, where little ones are charmed by rides on a historical carousel or real ponies.

Admire Outdoor Art at WaterFire

More than 80 bonfires waft their toasty scent along Memoral Pakr where this expansive and permanent public art exhibit by sculptor Barnaby Evans is displayed along the rivers of downtown Providence—quite a spectacle to behold.

In 2009, a luminous display of 100 blue-star lamps was suspended from the trees to illuminate the exhibit. Visitors are invited to add their own blue lamps and candle lanterns with written wishes and dedications attached.

Learn through Play at Providence Children’s Museum

Since 1977, the museum has engaged parents and kids in learning about art, culture, history, and science, through hands-on exhibits. On the museum’s two sprawling floors, here are some of the must-see exhibits:

  • Water Ways: Visitors take on the fundamentals of water flow and pressure as they build water mazes and fountains.
  • The Climber: This outdoor exhibit encourages kids to scale a 24-foot structure that’s open all year round.
  • Underland: In this subterranean adventure, kids navigate underground animal burrows and root systems.

Get on a Boat at La Gondola

With a dock right where Providence’s two major waterways meet, Marcello and his boatmen at La Gondola commandeer Italian-style flat-bottomed boats, built in the city of Venice itself. The gondoliers play music and tell stories as they glide down the river, with the best tours taking riders past the brilliant glow of WaterFire, a public art display that features more than 80 bonfires.

Take a Day Trip

Less than 20 minutes away: Pawtucket Red Sox minor league baseball | Pawtucket

The Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox plays at McCoy Stadium during the regular season.

Less than 30 minutes away: Wright’s Dairy Farm | North Smithfield

Take a self-guided tour of the farm and see cows being milked in the comfortable milking parlor—and make sure you stop for some farmstead ice cream before you go.

Pro tip: There’s also a bakery on site—with pastries that pair well with milk and ice cream.

Less than 45 minutes away: Biomes Marine Biology Center | North Kingstown

This hands-on aquarium, where kids can watch the feeding of pufferfish, horseshoe crabs, and stingrays, specializes in local marine life.