So you’re ready to plan your family vacation to New England. Our guide to things to do in Springfield, MA will make your vacation planning easy.
We love to take long road trips and see how many states we can visit, but sometimes it’s nice to go on a low-hassle family vacation where we don’t have to drive far. Even better, where we don’t have to pack up half the house just to go on vacation. One of the places that’s great for a week long summer vacation or a weekend getaway is Springfield, Massachusetts.
There are enough things to do in Springfield, MA on family vacation that you can visit a couple days or a whole week and never get bored. Here’s my family vacation guide to seeing Springfield, MA whether you’re traveling with young kids, on a couple’s getaway, or a multigenerational family vacation.
One of the things that makes Springfield an ideal place for a quick vacation in New England is the wide variety of things you can do in the area. With museums, hiking, The Basketball Hall of Fame, and Six Flags New England in close proximity you can craft the perfect family vacation to suit your family.
Things to Do in Springfield, MA
The Springfield Armory is a National Historic Site as it is one of two armories that was built under George Washington. They built the first, Harper’s Ferry, VA to supply the southern states, and the Springfield Armory to supply the northern states. Carl Steele, one of the museum volunteers, welcomed us and gave us this bit of history, describing how they chose the spot because of the difficulty in accessing it from the river and its vantage point on a hill along with the ability to use water power.
You will want to enjoy a bit of national history and American wars to enjoy the museum. Any weaponry enthusiast is sure to enjoy the extensive history and exhibit of guns and the innovation from handmade to the machines that made manufacturing more efficient.
- Admission: Free (Donations accepted)
- Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM (Wednesday – Sunday)
- Parking: Free (Off-street parking)
- Time: 1-2 hours
Organ of Muskets
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Five museums are part of Springfield Museums. The layout of the Springfield Museums reminds me of a miniature Smithsonian Museum and National Mall. It isn’t free but you buy one ticket to get access to all five museums.
- Admission: $25 for adults; $13 Youth (3-17); $16.50 Seniors and Students; Free (under 3); if you have a membership to your local museums check the reciprocity list as 2 adults and 2 children are free with reciprocating museums.
- Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM
- Parking: Free (multiple lots around the museums)
- Time: depends how many museums you visit, but plan 1-3 hours per museum
Springfield Science Museum
Springfield Science Museum is also known as the Museum of Natural History. (The Welcome Center where you buy tickets is attached to this museum.) We only got to see a small portion of this museum as we already visited several other museums that day. Plan to spend anywhere from 2-3 hours here.
We saw the Dinosaur Hall, African Hall, and Earth Hall. The Dinosaur Hall is quite small but it looked like they were working on about half the space so I imagine it will be a bit bigger when they are done. However, the dinsoaur fossils were fascinating and it doesn’t look like your average dinosaur exhibit.
I really enjoyed the African Hall as not only did they have a unique layout for their African savannah but even more interesting was the feature on African history and the history of slave trade, notable African and African American figures in history, and a look at African culture. I highly recommend spending some time here.
Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
We didn’t get to see the whole museum as about half of the upstairs is being revamped, but the layout of this fine art museum is interesting as the galleries are separated into art styles and eras. If you have young children you will likely go through the museum a little faster but you can keep their attention by pointing out different features of paintings or playing “I Spy” with them.
New displays coming soon…
The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum
Visiting this whimsical museum that features the life and work of Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel, is included in your ticket price. However, you do need to get timed tickets at the Welcome Center. The museum is well done and entertaining for kids and adults alike with a good mix of museum and entertainment.
I realize that Dr. Seuss has become a controversial figure in recent years. However, I believe this museum is still a great place to visit. It can be a way to start conversations with our kids about right/wrong. We can use it as an opportunity to teach our kids that even those who have fame are fallible and to look at things around them with consideration for others – to look beyond the surface of entertainment to see underlying messages.
George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum
We didn’t have time to visit this art museum but it is described as eclectic and the list of galleries looks intriguing enough that I said we need to plan another visit soon. We’ll also plan on seeing the rest of the science museum and Springfield History Museum on that visit.
Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History
We didn’t get to visit this museum either but it is known for history research and features history and innovation of the the Connecticut River Valley. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to come back and visit – especially to learn about Springfield’s role in the Civil War, Hasbro GameLand, and Granville Brothers Aircraft.
Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden
The gardens outside the museums remind me of the gardens around Smithsonian Museums except these gardens are home to sculptures of Dr. Seuss characters. The funniest thing….upstairs in the Dr. Seuss Museum is a “selfie spot” with a backdrop of the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden. Do yourself a favor – take a selfie in the gardens themselves instead. Or, get one in both places.
Six Flags New England
Six Flags is technically in Agawam but it’s close enough to Springfield to be considered part of this list of things to do in Springfield, MA. You can read more about our experience at Six Flags.
Other Things to Do in Springfield, MA
- Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
- Symphony Hall
- Forest Park
- Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway
- Bear Hole Dam
- Robinson State Park
Have you ever been to Springfield, MA? What things should we come back to see and do? Let us know in the comments!