10. Watch the drawbridge go up and down.
This is a classic summertime activities for all ages. Wait on the bench perfectly positioned for your viewing pleasure, or grab lunch at Phusion or the Fishmonger and about every hour (on the half hour in summer) the bridge goes up, stopping car traffic on both sides, to allow taller boats in and out of the Eel Pond. If you are on the Fishmonger side of the bridge, you get a better view of the boats and as an added bonus, you can read the grafitti on the bottom of the steel bridge. My favorite? “Summer people, summer not.”
9. Explore the docks.
There are many docks in Woods Hole, some along the Eel Pond, some on Little Harbor and some a walk from the center of town on Great Harbor. All make for great looking for kids. In my family, we like to bicker about which boat we like best, which one should be added to our imaginary fleet of vessels. Our favorites are in the Eel Pond, but there are a lot of great dinghies along Bar Neck Road too. A table at Shuckers, the Captain Kidd or Phusion is a great place for parents to relax while kids get to watch the harbor full of boats.
8. Hunt for Starfish and Hermit Crabs.
Grab a net and start exploring the rocks on the edge of Stoney Beach where you will find scads of starfish and hermit crabs. Build a fort in the sand to collect your specimens. Walk out in the shallows, the beach is sandy and shallow for a long way making it perfect for kids, and add to your collection. Just be sure to toss them all back in before you head home!
7. Get your Hands on Science.
The Village of Wood Hole is an epicenter of scientific research. Stop by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Exhibit Center and learn about the tools and vehicles used to explore the world's oceans. Take a dive in the full-scale mock-up of the submarine that explored the Titanic. Then, don't miss the MBL Pierce Center where you can peer at life through a child-friendly microscope and view Cape Code marine life in child's eye view tanks. And before you leave town, visit the touch tanks at the Coalition for Buzzards Bay.
6. Walk to Nobska Beach.
Nobska Beach is a fifteen minute walk from the middle of Woods Hole, and worth every step for the great swimming plus views of both Vineyard Sound and the Nobska Lighthouse. Watch the ferries cross the Sound with the crowds headed to the Vineyard and congratulate yourself on finding one of the hidden jewels of Cape Cod. Take Church Street off Woods Hole Road - you can’t miss it.
5. Climb a Tree.
Grab a latte in the village and stroll out past the Eel Pond on School Street, left on Millfield and right on Bell Tower Lane to the public ball park. Parents can sit in the shade while kids climb trees, toss sand over the see-saw and explore the play structure that is built like an old pirate ship.
4. Ride the Shining Sea Bike Path.
Far from the road on the former railroad tracks, this bike path brings people from all over the globe to enjoy its leafy quiet and splendid views. As you leave Woods Hole, first you are in a dense woods with peek-a-boo views to waterfront houses along the coast and then wow, it opens up and you have this amazing vista up Surf Drive Beach -- on one side the view over Vineyard Sound to Martha’s Vineyard, on the other side, the wetlands and oyster ponds. If you are lucky, you will see a swan or two. Bring a bathing suit - your bike will wait while you cool off.
3. Enjoy the Fourth of July Parade.
Do not miss this family-friendly small town extravaganza unlike any parade you have ever seen before. The summer students in all the marine facilities pour out of their labs in costumes like single-cell ameoba and crustaceans. It is unique and lots of fun. Free lemonade, cookies and a great view of the parade first-come first-served on the porch of the Woods Hole Inn.
2. Visit the Aquarium.
The oldest aquarium in the United States, this place was designed for kids with a great seal feeding experience and the opportunity to get behind the tanks and see how the fish are cared for. There is also a great exhibit on Alvin, the submersible that first explored the Titanic around the corner on School Street.
1. Candy Go Nuts.
The number one reason kids love to visit Woods Hole (I took a survey and believe me the results were overwhelming) is this wonderful old-fashioned candy shop on Luscombe Avenue. Fill your bag and pay by the pound, or get a local ice-cream cone from the sweetest spot in town. Save this for last. It’s worth the trip!