15 Best Things to Do With Kids in Worcester, MA

Things to Do With Kids in Worcester, MA
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Due to its geographic location in the center of Massachusetts, Worcester in Worcester County is recognized as the "Heart of the Commonwealth."

Situated between Boston and Springfield, it was incorporated as a town in 1722 and became a city in 1848.

If you plan to visit Worcester, you can enjoy a wide variety of activities due to its numerous parklands, playgrounds, nature trails, beaches, and upbeat establishments.

Most of their tourist spots are family-friendly and affordable, making it a notable destination to build great memories with the kids.

Here are the best things to do in Worcester, Massachusetts, with kids:

Spend the Day at Elm Park

Daytime view of Elm Park
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You and your kids will never run out of exciting things to do at the historic Elm Park, which spans 58.4 acres 121 on Russell Street.

The acquisition of the park's original 27 acres in 1854 was one of the first public land purchases in the United States for use as a public park.

Elm Park was originally called "New Common" and has been hosting a summer concert series since the early 1990s.

You can engage in sports at the basketball court, four tennis courts, and a full 18-hole, par 58 course.

Trail with foliage at Elm Park
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Keep your adventurous spirit alive by traversing the trails and paths in the woodlands and going for a hike at Newton Hill.

During winter, you can try ice skating at the ponds on the park's eastern side.

Your kids can stick around the playground and have a basket of food as you recharge at the view of the green scenery.

Wooden bridge at Elm Park
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Engage in Outdoor Activities at Coes Reservoir

There's a wide array of recreational activities you can do at Coes Reservoir, commonly called Coes Pond.

It's surrounded by a playground, park, and approximately five miles of walking trails.

Along Mill Street, you will find Coes Park, which features an accessible community playground and a multi-generational park built on the site of the former Coes Knife factory building.

Located here also is the 204-year-old Stearns Tavern, one of the oldest structures in Worcester.

Families can head to Binienda Beach on the western side of Coes Reservoir for exciting water activities.

Previously called Coes Pond Beach, you can rent kayaks, paddle boats, and paddle boards to stay cool during the summer.

There is a bathhouse, a swimming area, and a sandy beach for pleasure and relaxation.

Coes Reservoir is a popular spot where you can catch trout if you want to bond over fishing.

On the eastern side, you can have a peaceful stroll at Columbus Park while admiring the lush trees lining this tranquil space.

Stop Over at Green Hill Park

The waters of Green Hill Park
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Green Hill Park is a multi-use public park along Green Hill Parkway that presents a variety of outdoor activities, magnificent panoramic views, mature woodlands, and open space.

It's Worcester's largest and most diverse park, atop a hill that spans 470 acres.

The park is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kids will have a special memory at Green Hill Park Farm by catching sight of its several gentle farm animals such as alpacas, llamas, and peafowl.

Picnic shelter at Green Hill Park
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Adults, meanwhile, can visit Green Hill Golf Course for a challenging round of golf at the par 72, 18-hole municipal golf course.

There's also the option to play games such as handball, baseball, and softball on the park's multipurpose field.

You can also try fishing at the 30-acre Green Hill Pond, near the state-wide Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the park's core.

Take a stroll, gaze at the specialty trees scattered throughout Green Hill Park, and unwind at the gazebos and picnic areas.

Take a Hike at Hadwen Park

Have a quick nature getaway by traversing the pathways that twist through the natural terrain at Hadwen Park.

Touted as one of the city's most serene hiking spots, the park has lush greenery and a river flowing from Leesville to Curtis Pond.

Hikers can navigate the interconnected trails without the use of a map.

In the park's northwestern section, you will find a baseball diamond, a basketball court, and a playground with several climbing structures and swings where children can burn energy.

You can also set a picnic date and simply enjoy the park's scenic views.

Hadwen Park is located on Heard Street.

Enjoy a Splash at Cristoforo Colombo Park

Lion statue at Cristoforo Colombo Park's entrance
Tim Pierce, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are visiting during the summer and need some place to stay cool, drop by Cristoforo Colombo Park in the bustling Shrewsbury Street commercial district.

It can be distinguished by the two stone griffins or lions with wings installed in the park's entrance, which previously supported the old Union Railroad Station train shed arch.

Also known as East Park, it features a spray park where kids can splash around and play with others.

It is equipped with a recirculation system that filters water, and staff is present in the area to ensure the safety of visiting families.

In the center of the park, you may catch various events hosted at the amphitheater, including the city's annual Independence Day Celebration headlined by the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra and a fireworks display.

Cristoforo Colombo Park has a state-of-the-art playground and different sporting areas for other recreational activities.

There are surrounding nature trails and hillsides you can navigate as well.

Observe Wildlife at Broad Meadow Brook

Teach the kids the importance of wildlife and nature conservation by visiting Broad Meadow Brook along Massasoit Road.

Open to the public since 1991, it is the largest urban sanctuary in New England, with more than 400 acres and miles of trails.

The site where the sanctuary stands used to be farmland.

It is home to several species of butterflies, birds, plants, and other wildlife habitats.

By checking the exhibits at the Nature Center, learn about the Blackstone River Watershed, energy conservation, and more.

Build a more personal connection with nature by exploring Broad Meadow Brook's play area, where families can build gnome homes using anything from the ground.

Like a playground, there is a wooden two-seater swing and large logs to play around.

Make It Art Day at the Worcester Art Museum

Exterior of the Worcester Art Museum
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Give your kids the opportunity to experience art and learn its relevance by checking out the Worcester Art Museum on Salisbury Street.

Founded in 1896, the museum features a collection of over 37,500 pieces from different centuries of art.

It is popular for its European and American art collections, but it also assembled pieces from the ancient Near East and Asia and various artworks of contemporary artists.

Welcome sign of Worcester Art Museum
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Check out the Medieval Chapter House, Worcester Hunt Mosaic, 15th-century Spanish ceiling, and John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection containing two thousand arms and armor objects.

Wrap up your tour at its shop, where you can buy gifts or souvenirs to remember your visit to the Worcester Art Museum.

There are several items for every child to encourage play and learning, such as toys, books, and art-making kits.

Try Painting at Clayground Paint Your Own Pottery Studio

Clayground Paint Your Own Pottery Studio on James Street is a great place to shake and stir creativity, especially for the kids.

Families can spend fun and quality time while completing their art pieces.

The studio has a wide selection of paintables such as mugs, figurines, and other pottery pieces for every budget and style.

It provides the tools needed and a variety of paint colors to choose from.

Clayground Paint Your Own Pottery Studio is open for walk-in studio painting and specializes in clay impressions for hands, feet, and paws.

Have a Premier Theater Experience at The Hanover Theatre & Conservatory

Exterior of The Hanover Theatre & Conservatory
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Give children a full dose of creativity by stepping into The Hanover Theatre & Conservatory for the Performing Arts.

Witness world-class performances, Broadway hits, and musical acts in this notable theater on Southbridge Street, managed by Worcester Center for Performing Arts.

The Hanover Theatre was originally built as Franklin Square Theatre in 1904 and later transitioned into a vaudeville theatre and a downtown movie complex.

In 2000, renovation and restoration of the old building began to bring back its luster.

Entrance doors of The Hanover Theatre & Conservatory
Jay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

The Hanover Theatre finally opened its doors to the public in 2008.

Travel back in time at the sight of the theater's impressive architecture that preserves some of its original elements, including the grand chandelier present in the building since 1926 and the uncovered and restored wall that was hand-painted in 1926.

Learn more about the theater's history and architecture by joining one of its tours to know what makes it worthy of the accolades it has received through time.

Browse Pop Culture Merchandise and Collectibles at That's Entertainment

Priding itself as New England's Pop-Culture Emporium since 1980, That's Entertainment is a delightful place for kids and kids at heart.

The store has a wide selection of comics, video games, toys, collectibles, and other popular culture items.

Record collectors will be thrilled at the sight of vinyl records sold here.

You may spot visitors wearing costumes and dressing up as characters from video games, television, movies, or anime.

That's Entertainment also buys and trades several pop culture items by appointment.

There's always something new to look forward to at this attraction along Park Avenue, which hosts several events for geeks, such as special guest signings.

Enter the World of Science and Nature at EcoTarium

Exhibit in EcoTarium
EcoTarium, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Introduce the children to the world of science and nature by spending a day at the EcoTarium along Harrington Way.

This museum, founded in 1825, presents indoor and outdoor experiences that are informative yet fun to visitors of all ages.

Explore the EcoTarium's three floors featuring interactive exhibits and daily Science Discovery programs that delve into the natural and physical sciences.

Interior of EcoTarium
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wander through its forest and meadow nature trails, and meet resident animals, including otters, eagles, and owls.

Children can build, dig, climb, and play with natural materials in its several themed play areas.

You may also catch the seasonal train ride aboard Explorer Express Train around the 45-acre campus.

Surround Yourself with Nature at Blackstone Gateway Park

Located along McKeon Road, Blackstone Gateway Park will bring you and the kids closer to nature as you enjoy a leisure walk on its boardwalks and trails surrounded by towering trees.

Observational platforms, kiosks, and interpretive signage around Blackstone Gateway Park provide interesting facts about the Blackstone River and its relevance.

Some of the engaging materials focus on the wildlife and plants you can spot in the area.

Overall, you can explore about a half-mile of paths, boardwalks, and bridges over the Middle River that runs into Blackstone River.

If you want to check out more historical and cultural exhibits, you can drop by the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center, which is constructed together with the park.

Play a Game at University Park

Daytime view of University Park
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in a residential neighborhood on Main Street, University Park has several courts where families can play basketball or tennis and a playground where kids can spend time.

Also known as Crystal Park, the 14.3-acre area was purchased in 1887 and 1889, making it a part of the city's older park acquisitions.

If you go to the middle of University Park, you will find the Crystal Pond, which used to be a site for swimming and ice skating.

Nowadays, visitors may still enjoy skating on the pond but only during winter when it freezes thick enough.

Occasional paddle boating or toy boat races are other activities that can be done on the pond.

Hang Out at the Worcester Common Oval

The Worcester Common Oval is one of the city's oldest and most historic parks.

You will find it on Main Street, behind Worcester City Hall.

During the winter, families can have a memorable ice skating experience at its 12,000-square-foot rink, which opened to the public in 2012.

The ice skating rink is professionally managed and is 4,000 square feet larger than the size of the Rink at Rockefeller Center.

Music, skate rentals, holiday lights, and other amenities are available at the rink to ensure a fun bonding time for visitors.

If you plan to visit the city during summer, prepare your blankets, chairs, and picnic baskets, as you can catch outdoor concerts or movie screenings in the Worcester Common Oval.

Farmers' markets are likewise hosted in the area.

Go for a Swim at Quinsigamond State Park

Bench overlooking the waters of Quinsigamond State Park
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Quinsigamond State Park is located on North Lake Avenue.

It's a destination where families can engage in water activities due to its location on the shore of Lake Quinsigamond.

You can also enjoy a picnic, play tennis, or stroll along the nature trails.

If you're up for sailboat activities, check the Regatta Point, a section of Quinsigamond State Park down the lake.

The waters of Quinsigamond State Park
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The point also features a swimming and picnicking area, but you can go fishing by renting a non-motorized boat.

Located across Lake Avenue, it is near Lake Park, Worcester's third-largest municipal park.

You may drop by Lake Park to access a baseball field, a softball diamond, and a basketball court.

Final Thoughts

If you're planning a vacation with kids, consider traveling to Worcester, which has several destinations suitable for all ages.

The city is packed with parks and open spaces to offer recreational activities on land and water.

Schedule a visit to this city and bookmark this list of the best things to do in Worcester, Massachusetts with kids!

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