Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day trip to Falmouth (Cape Cod) with kids

When we were in Falmouth a few weeks ago for the road race, my brother-in-law asked if we had ever visited the aquarium in Woods Hole.  We had not and honestly, I didn't know much about the place until he told us.  After that conversation, Rich and I planned to return to Falmouth for a day trip with the kids before summer's end and that's exactly what we did this past weekend.

Before I detail the (mainly free) activities we enjoyed, here's a list of what we brought (or should have brought) with us:
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses and sun hats
  • Sneakers and flip flops for the kids 
  • Hoodies (it can be cool on the water)
  • Small cooler with water and drinks 
  • Snacks
  • Change of clothes for the kids (or bathing suits, in which case you'll need towels)
  • Quarters, quarters and more quarters
  • Small amount of cash  

Woods Hole Science Aquarium

Our first stop was the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, which opens at 11:00.  The aquarium cares for two unreleasable harbor seals, who are fed at 11:00 and 4:00.  During the feeding, you learn about harbor seals in general and why these two seals are unreleasable.  The feedings last approximately 15-20 minutes and are a must see.



The girls were very interested in learning about the seals and thoroughly enjoyed watching the feeding.  Thanks to a National Geographic book, we've had many discussions this past year as to why some animals are in danger of becoming extinct.  (Harbor seals are not in this category.)  We've also talked about our responsibilities as humans in protecting and caring for animals along with caring for the ocean, going green, etc.

Admittance to the aquarium is free but they do accept donations.  There's a donation box at the entrance, which is one of the reasons to have some cash on hand.  The aquarium itself is fairly small.  After the seal feeding, we spent about a half an hour inside.


This little guy was one of our favorites.









Woods Hole

Woods Hole is best described as a quaint seaside village.


It's full of restaurants, galleries and small shops.  Almost all of the parking here is metered, which is why you'll want to have plenty of quarters with you.  There's also a ferry to Martha's Vineyard located in Woods Hole, which is most likely one of the reasons for all the metered parking.


If your kids are like my kids, they have no interest in galleries and small shops so I wouldn't exactly describe this as a good place to hang out with young kids. But you can grab some lunch and check out the harbor, both of which are kid friendly activities.  We decided to eat lunch at Jimmy's, which has limited seating and appears to be frequented by ferry-goers, locals and those wanting food to go.  We were able to sit at one of the three tables out front (we had to share chairs) and lunch for our family of five cost around $30.  This place has a wide selection of burgers and sandwiches, along with a huge selection of ice cream, and is cash only.  





Nobska Point Lighthouse

This was a quick stop for us as the girls were anxious to find the playground.  Ah, yes.  The playground.  The views from the lighthouse grounds are spectacular but Allie was not too happy with the fact that she couldn't go in the lighthouse.




A Beachy Playground

Falmouth Center is full of restaurants and stores but unlike Woods Hole, parking is free and plentiful.  Located behind the large parking lot in the center is a massive playground.  There are several picnic tables in the shade, which would be perfect for picnic lunches.  There's also a fairly clean public restroom off to the side of that parking lot.  (I have OCD so if I say that it's fairly clean, it's fairly clean.)


The girls absolutely loved it here.  There was a lot of nautical theming going on so Anna referred to it as "beachy."

Falmouth Heights Beach


This was our first visit to this particular beach.  I told the girls that we would just explore, which Allie defined as dipping our feet in the water and looking for shells.  Perfect!  Especially because we didn't intend on turning it into an actual beach trip.  Parking here is not plentiful or free and we were forced to park at a meter.





We decided to end our day trip with some ice cream but we didn't want to drive all the way back to Woods Hole so we found an ice cream place in Falmouth Center. (Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium)  While the ice cream is tasty, it's also expensive.  The "baby" serving, which was for kids ages 5 and under ONLY, was one scoop of ice cream and cost $3.  The kiddie size was two scoops of ice cream for $4.50.  The girls all ate the baby size.  Rich and I had kiddie servings because we didn't need more than two scoops of ice cream.  As a business person, I understand the business decision to label one scoop of ice cream for ages 5 and under ONLY but... come on.  Aren't we trying to be a healthier America?


As we were buckling in to head home, one of the girls exclaimed, "I had so much fun.  It was just like being on vacation."  And that's exactly what a day trip should be.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a very fun-filled morning and afternoon. Ya'll saw so much on just ONE day!

Courtney said...

If you're feeling like a brave overnight with the girls, Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport offers overnights in the lighthouse. It's rustic (no refrigeration so you need to bring you food etc. in a cooler)but you have the whole island to yourself (essentially) and it's great fun! My kids had a blast exploring, collecting shells and sea glass, and pretending they owned the place! Allie might be psyched with that adventure ;)

Sarah said...

Wow, Courtney. That sounds amazing. Don't know if I'm brave enough for that right now though.