Thursday, 16 April 2015

Rhody Roundup // 5 Kid Destinations in Rhode Island

And just like that... we're back! After what was truly a wonderful 2-week trip home to visit my family in Rhode Island, we're settling back to life in Dublin. The kids are suffering from a bit of jet lag but we'll manage just fine! 

Rhode Island in April is a funny place. We arrived on the 3rd of April and there was still a good few piles of snow on the ground, albeit the black snow that's dirty and covered in the sand from the entire winter, the kids were absolutely delighted! As previously blogged, snow is such a novelty to them. Luckily the snow melted down each day we were there, due somewhat to some glorious sunshine as well as a couple of days of heavy rain. With this weird weather, we had to be creative with our daily plans. In addition to lots of visits with friends and family, we were able to stop by a few really fantastic locations throughout Rhode Island. Here are our top 5 child-friendly picks for this visit. 

Biomes Marine Biology Center 
Address: 6640 Post Road, North Kingston, RI 02852

The Skate Tank
Up close with a horseshoe crab
Never before have I seen my 3 year old so excited! She honestly ran around this entire place yelling "I'm soooooo excited right now" for the first hour we were there. With several touch pools where you can feel everything from sharks, to horseshoe crabs to skates to turtles, this place is the largest collection of New England marine life in the world. In addition to the local species, they also have several tropical fish, including a clown fish in one of our favourite tanks- a Finding Nemo themed tank!  

Locate your fave Nemo movie characters with their colorful guide
Tons of interactive activities for the kids to experience- a large sand table with shells, rocks and playthings, a rice table to simulate a beach and several picnic tables set up for hands on play with puzzles, legos and coloring stations. Plus there's an enclosed play area with every marine life figurine imaginable, sea life themed books, a light table with animal xrays, a fish rocker and so much more.

Rice + lots of marine inspired toys = fun, fun, fun!!!
The $9 admission for everyone over the age of 2 is very reasonable, considering we could've easily spent longer than the 2.5 hours that our schedule permitted. I especially appreciated that with so much to do there, it's all located within one large room so it's not an overwhelmingly huge place, like some larger aquariums can sometimes feel. This humble little place was a perfect day trip and really helped us recognize just how much life lives in the surrounding Atlantic Ocean! We can't wait to go back! 

Wrights Dairy Farm
Address: 200 Woonsocket Hill Road, North Smithfield, RI 02896

A trip home to Rhode Island is not complete without a stop here. This is a 100-year old working dairy farm with a bakery and dairy store on premise. The quality of their products is unmatched and there's no other way to describe them other than sensational! The hardest part is staring at those glass display cases, trying to decide which of the cookies, cakes, muffins, pies and specialty pastries you'll purchase. And before you leave, don't forget to grab a pint of a local favorite- their delicious coffee flavoured milk.

Every day the cows are milked from 3-5pm so time your trip for the afternoon and see just how fresh that milk really is. But if you miss that 2 hour window, there are always baby calves to see in their pens or roosters clucking around the farmyard. While this stop is in no way a day-out (you'd find it difficult to spend more than 30-45 minutes here), it cannot be missed!

Good monring little calves
Providence Children's Museum
Address: 100 South Street, Providence, RI 02903

Located in the heart of RI's capital city, this imaginative and interactive children's museum is a lovely day out- particularly for us as we wanted a rainy day activity. 

Steam rolling her way through the museum
With a huge variety of exhibitions, 3 of them really stood out for us- Water Ways, Coming to RI, and Discovery Studio. The kids could have spent the entire afternoon at the Water Ways exhibit. They were fascinated by the ice, mist, mini swirling cyclones and all the water play. Bonus was the adorable, colorful smocks they had to wear here! 


Water Ways Exhibit was nonstop excitement
The kids and I were both impressed by the Coming to Rhode Island exhibit. This area included 4 different scenarios for immigrants to the Ocean State. Each scene told the story of the child immigrants- who they left behind, when they arrived, how they traveled, what they did once in RI. Educational and fun (wooden ships, play markets) these stories also shared some of the not-so-pretty historical truths. 

Discovery Studio is an ever-changing area. The room is bright and spacious with lots of stimulating art work and crafts on the walls. The day we were there was a "Puzzle Day" with plenty of wooden jigsaws, geometric problems, shape sorters, and lots of others. 

Discovery Studio Puzzle Play
My favorite piece in the entire museum was the gigantic Light Bright board! When I saw it, I became completely nostalgic. However, the nostalgia was lost on my children and sadly I spent more time playing on this then they did. It's made me want a vintage board to share with my children and my hunt is now on! 
Make way for mommy to play too!
The $9 admission fee per person is well worth the money spent, given the expansive layout, variety of exhibits and the many enjoyable options that the museum has to offer.

Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library 
Address: 100 Tinkham Lane, Harrisville, RI 02830

This is the local library in my hometown of Burillville. After living in Boston, Chicago and now Dublin, I can safely say that I've visited a good few libraries over the years and this facility is truly a special place. The Children's Department is located on the second floor of the building and they have made this an incredibly charming and inviting space for all kids. With thousands of books, puzzles, board games, building blocks, a coloring station and a puppet show play area, there are plenty of options for keeping busy here! The children's section boasts large windows with beautiful views of the river below and plenty of comfy little nooks to curl up with a new book.

Making a home for the iguana
We visited on two separate occasions- a Tuesday morning and then a Thursday afternoon- and we were fortunate to participate in the Storytime on both days. With songs, rhymes, puppets and dancing too, this was so much more than just your regular Storytime. The librarian was friendly and engaging, and she had a couple of great hints for their handmade "Eye Spy" game too.

This bright & colorful handmade Eye Spy poster has inspired me to make our own version
I am jealous of my friends and family who have this library at their disposal and highly encourage those who aren't utilizing the local facility to get there ASAP! What a great place to educate, play and enjoy the peace and tranquility found in this small town. 

Outdoor Playgrounds
Address: Various Locations

What to do when you need to fill some time before meeting up with friends? Or when the kids are suffering from jet lag and you need them to skip their nap? Bring them to a playground! Rhode Island has playgrounds all over the state and we were lucky to stop by a few.

Globe Park in Woonsocket was a perfect pit stop after we visited the Dairy Farm. In addition to several swings, slides and more playground apparatuses, there is a pond to watch the ducks and geese. 

Hero Park located next to the Burrillville Police Station, is a new playground to the town and was constructed after a 7-year old Burrillville resident inspired the nation with his battle against leukemia. It includes two slides, a spinner, and a fun scavenger hunt too. 

The playground at the Hauser Field entrance in Pascoag offers a climbing structure and there's another playground in Harrisville, located across the street from the Jesse M. Smith library. With gorgeous views of the lake and waterfall, there are more slides and swings here too.

You can never go wrong at a playground!
For those planning a trip to RI, there are so many great seasonal locations along the coast in places like Newport and Jamestown. The beaches in RI are world class, but this particular trip wasn't a hot weather holiday so we made the most of the weather, and got outside when we could. For this visit we didn't make it to any of the lovely zoos that we might have typically gone to, but there are several zoos I'd recommend all within the southern New England area, including Roger Williams in Providence, as well as two we like in Massachusetts: Capron Zoo in Attleboro and Southwick Zoo in Mendon. 

To my family and friends in Burrillville and the surrounding towns- what child-friendly places can I put on my list for our next visit? I know that there is so much more to see and do in that little state, and I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments section below. 

11 comments:

  1. Thanks Erin for another great blog.

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  2. Excellent! All my favorite places and then some! :D 💖

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    1. Thanks so much Kendra! Where else are the great RI spots?!

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  3. All great spots you listed. We cant forget all the trails that are available as well! It may be a small state but the trails that the Audubon Society has set up are some easy kid friendly ones around, with lost of exploring. One of my favorites is along the ocean called Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge Trail. It is an easy 3 mile loop that has ponds, filled with frogs and tadpoles, and viewing areas where you see lots of geese, ducks and its a great place for viewing birds including ospreys. Then also when in RI its a must to take the kids quahog digging even if they don't enjoy eating them, its a great experience digging for them in the salt ponds.

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    1. Trustom Pond sounds fascinating! Would love to check that out sometime when the weather is better.

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    2. And me mustn't forget quahogging! A truly unique RI experience. I have such great memories of taking the sand from when I was young. Love that suggestion & can't wait to take the kids on our next summer visit!

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  4. Loved this blog very much, as all. Seeing the kids interact with everything is amazing! Such fun from the kids point of view is great always also. Great places Erin thank for this!

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    1. Thank you very much Sunnisandy! The kids really enjoyed these places but then again, so did the adults :)

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  5. Another awesome blog Erin enjoyed very much!

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