Providence, RI

5 Things to Do in Providence, RI, With Children

Traveling with Alice

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Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, is home to some great activities for kids, such as beautiful parks, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, a favorite destination for children, and museums like the Museum of Natural History and the Providence Children's Museum.

If you are looking for things to do with your children the coming weekend, then you should check these 5 places in your area!

Providence Children's Museum

Located on 100 South Street, the Providence Children's Museum was founded in 1976, and it's the only place of its kind in Rhode Island.

The museum features interactive, hands-on, and play-based programs and displays for children 1-11 on arts, culture, technology, science, engineering, and math.

It is an extraordinary place for children to explore and learn through games and themed exhibitions such as Water Ways and The Children's Garden.

The Providence Children's Museums provides activities for the whole family, birthday parties, and corporate activities.

The museum exhibits are closed to the public until July 8, 2021, but you can still enjoy the many online classes and workshops the staff has created.

General admission is $12.

Museum of Natural History and Planetarium

The City of Providence founded in 1896 what is today Rhode Island's only natural history museum: the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. Its goals are to educate and inspire people to enjoy the natural world through fascinating exhibitions, interactive presentations, and educational programs.

The Museum of Natural History is home to over 250,000 objects related to the natural world, including 175,000 preserved plants and animals, 15,000 earth science specimens, 4,000 ethnographic objects, and 20,000 archaeological artifacts.

The state's only public planetarium is hosted inside the Museum of Natural History. It consists of a dome theater featuring a Zeiss projector that casts images of stars, planets, and constellations. Several shows are held at the planetarium, each of them lasts about 30 minutes.

Museum admission is $2, while a separated $3 ticket is necessary to enjoy a show at the planetarium.

The museum is free for children under age 4, while only children age 4 and older are allowed in the planetarium.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Located at 1000 Elmwood Avenue, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which opened in 1872, making it the third oldest Zoo in the U.S., is one of the children's most popular attractions in Rhode Island.

In 1986 the Roger Williams Park Zoo became the first Zoo in New England to earn accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The Zoo houses more than 150 species of animals from all over the world in environments reproducing their original habitats!

Among the exhibitions, there are:

  • The fabric of Africa, featuring African animals such as zebras and cheetahs;
  • Marco Polo's Adventure Trek, which focuses on animals from Asia like snow leopards, dromedary camels, and the moon bears;
  • The Alex and Ani Farmyard, a petting zoo where children can interact with domestic farm animals, including goats, miniature donkeys, alpacas, and chickens, as well as admire the non-domesticated barn owl.

The Roger Williams Park Zoo is renowned for its conservation programs, and the effort put into animal preservation. It features several education programs and workshops for both children and adults.

Admission is $17.95 for adults, $12.95 for children age 2-12.

The Carousel Village

A short distance away from the Zoo, there is the Carousel Village. Children and their families can enjoy the fully accessible playground, a carousel, a family-friendly premium train, and pony rides in this location!

A cafe and food trucks on Friday are also available to feed hungry kids and their friends.

The Carousel Village offers special events throughout the year, like the Santa Claus meet and greet experience, or you can book the park for your private events such as birthday parties or photo shooting.

WaterFire

WaterFire is an award-winning fire sculpture installation created by local artist Barnaby Evans and located on the three rivers in downtown Providence.

About 100 bonfires blaze just above the surface of the rivers illuminating public spaces and parks; locals and visitors are invited to join the events strolling along the rivers while listening to music or watching the many performances available.

What to know before heading to the show?

WaterFire is held May through November, usually twice a month on Saturday evenings. The event is free, but donations to the volunteers are always appreciated.

Check the official website WaterFire Providence to know when the shows occur and where; there is a map on the website, but you can get one at the event asking one of the volunteers.

Two companies, La Gondola and Providence River Boat Company, offer rides along the rivers during WaterFire. The boats are very popular, so make your reservation in advance if you want to take a ride and enjoy the show from a unique perspective. The same applies to dining; if you plan to eat something at a local restaurant, book your seat ASAP.

Free or cheap parking is available on streets all around the area.

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