TGG_1he Boys of Summer are back in action. The Marathon is around the corner. Jogging strollers are clogging intersections. And college students are laying out on any green patches  they can find. All this can only mean one thing: spring has sprung and it’s time for April Vacation!

If you and the kids are planning an April Staycation this year, there are plenty of venues, groups, and events to keep everyone out of the house and away from the xBox.

Tried and true venues can get crowded, but these popular sites draw the masses for a reason. Be a tourist in your hometown or plan a gathering at a favorite museum; you can’t go wrong with these kid-friendly spots.

1 – The Freedom Trail – The trail is a great way for kids to get to know local landmarks while out and about in the city. It provides a framework for a fantastic outing that can be as educational as you want it to be. Some of my favorite stops are the U.S.S Constitution (which is holding a Ship Shape week during vacation), Old North Church, and the Blackstone Block. Many of the trail’s sites come to life in The Freedom Trail Pop Up Book, the perfect way to get amped up before the walk or to revisit your favorite buildings once you are back home.

2 –  The Museum of ScienceExtended hours this week means children will have more time to explore the butterfly garden, see how maps are created, learn about nanotechnology, and experience the after hours astronomy sessions. I’d reccomend public transportation if you can swing it, as the garage fills up quickly.13_WG_02

3- The Museum of Fine Arts – The MFA provides a free week of classes to children of all ages. From 10 to 4 (and until 8 on Wednesday), children can get up close and personal with the MFA through all types of art, be it on paper or on the stage. Perfect for rainy days.

4 – The Children’s Museum – Always a great place to blow off some stream, the museum is stepping it up for vacation week. Check out their calendar of events; there is sure to be something that speaks to your kids. (Time your trips to Flour Bakery carefully, though; it can be a madhouse during the lunch rush!)

If you want to veer from the path, the city and surrounding areas have plenty to offer!

1 – Fairy Home Building Workshop in Franklin Park on April 23rd from 10 to 12. Help the park’s magical community feel welcome while enjoying storytelling and facepainting. Perfect for those who want to show off their own fairy wings from last October.

2 – Blue Hills in Milton and Middlesex Fells in Medford are near and dear to many local families. Explore trails and find out what’s been brewing under all that snowfall. This is the perfect time to get back to nature before the end-of-the-year academic push. If you don’t want to leave the city, check out Boston’s Gardens and Green Spaces for a guide to the area’s parks and public gardens.

01_PG_053 – Weather-proof and easy to reach via public transit, Boston’s Public Library branches are often overlooked during school vacation week. They provide a plethora of activities, story times, puppet shows, and talks geared towards toddlers and school-age children. Find a full list here.

Feeding the kids is always a must; hangry children are never fun. If you want to avoid packing a lunch, stop in to Wagamama in Harvard and Faneuil Hall, Picco in the South End, Shake Shack on Newbury and in Harvard Square, Flatbread’s in Davis Square (with candlepin bowling!), and Full Moon in Huron Village. For more ideas and tips for being out and about with little ones, check out Boston Baby: A Field Guide for Urban Parents.

Most importantly – enjoy the week!