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Best Experiences with Kids in Providence, Rhode Island

by Barbara Rogers

May 18, 2022

© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

A river runs through the heart of Providence, bordered by the stroller-friendly Riverwalk and crossed by picturesque arched bridges reminiscent of Venice. Its abundant parks and green spaces combine with kid-centric attractions to make it a natural for family travel.


Go on Safari

Traveling through the naturalized environments in the Fabric of Africa area of the Roger Williams Park Zoo, kids will feel as if they are exploring the savannahs of Africa. Elephants play in a waterhole as zebras stop for a drink, cheetahs move through the grass and giraffes reach for tasty snacks in the treetops. Kids can also follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo in the deserts and high peaks of Asia as they watch moon bears and red pandas and try to spot the well-camouflaged snow leopards.



Ride a Swan Boat or a Carousel Horse

Not far from the zoo in Roger Williams Park, visitors can rent swan boats or board a pirate ship for a cruise around the park’s three lakes. Kayaks are available here, too. The carousel, unlike the century-old one at Crescent Park, now closed for restoration, is a modern one. Along with the traditional horses, the carousel features a large white rabbit for one lucky kid to ride on. The park also includes a playground, and Friday evenings bring food trucks and music to the park, so bring a blanket and plan on a picnic dinner.



Explore Science and Technology

The Rhode Island Children’s Museum is a wonderful place for kids to play. All those hands-on exhibits are designed to spark kids’ imaginations and make them curious to know more about everything, from how buildings are constructed to the many forms water can take. Activities and experiments are aimed at various ages, from 1 to 11, and for all abilities and learning styles.



Play in a Park

Providence is well supplied with places for kids to run off steam. One of the largest, the waterside India Point Park, involves a playground, lots of grassy space and food trucks to provision an impromptu picnic. The East Bay Bike Path begins here, a paved route along the bay ambitious cyclists follow all the way to Bristol. In the same neighborhood is Fox Point Playground, with a water feature where kids can cool off in the summer.



Hang Out at Brandon’s Beach

Not really a beach, but a nautically themed city-center playground, Brandon’s Beach is custom-designed for toddlers and young children of all abilities. Along with the usual swings, spinners and slides, Brandon’s Beach adds several sensory features such as the pagoda bells, music pipes and drums. This newly built playground sits in Kennedy Plaza, a lively downtown hub with music, gardens, markets and food trucks. If the weather turns too hot for city pleasures, real beaches are not far away. Goddard Memorial State Park, in neighboring Warwick, boasts a sandy beach overlooked by a tree-shaded boardwalk with benches for parents. Also in Warwick, Buttonwoods Beach has a playground as well as calm waves suitable for small children.


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