We understand that traveling anywhere with toddlers can be overwhelming. Luckily our family friendly island is packed with things to keep the little ones entertained, ensuring their complete exhaustion by the end of the day–so you can enjoy some adult time. Indoor, outdoor, rain or shine, Martha’s Vineyard has a wide range of events and activities that will surely satisfy the little tike in your life. Here’s ten ways to keep your toddler dreaming of more time on MV.
1. Flying Horses Carousel. A ride on the Flying Horses Carousel is a rite of passage for every kid (and adult!). Bring your toddler to the nation’s oldest operating carousel, now in its 143rd season, so they can try their luck with grabbing the coveted brass ring in hopes of winning an extra ride free of charge. Kids can also enjoy a variety of other smaller rides and arcade games while they wait to ride atop their favorite horse.
2. Island Alpaca Farm. For animal lovers of all ages the Alpaca Farm in Oak Bluffs is a must-visit, and is especially engaging for small children. They can get up close and personal with the furry, friendly animals and watch the animals, interact with them and assist with feedings. Make sure to visit the gift shop for and pick up one of their super soft stuffed alpacas to bring home. Open 7 days, 10-4pm. Visit islandalpaca.com.
3. Little Leona’s Pets and Supplies. Little Leona’s is off the beaten path, nestled down a dirt road in West Tisbury, but its appeal is big. Expect to be greeted by the store’s resident miniature horses and play with bunnies, guinea pigs and other cuddly creatures. It’s also home to the exotic, and where pet owners go to pick up fish food or feeder mice. It’s part farm, part animal sanctuary, and it’s the Island’s only pet store. Open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm. Call 508-696-8818.
4. Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. This Mass Audubon Sanctuary is the perfect place to spend an afternoon showing your toddler the wild side and scenic beauty of Martha’s Vineyard, plus you’ll learn a lot too. They offer several parent/child program to enrich your young naturalist, where kids can learn about the many animals in their saltwater tank during their feeding time, or their Creature Feature program which combines a story, craft, and a look at the native “creature" of the day. Visit their website here.
5. Featherstone Center for the Arts. Featherstone is the only year round community arts center on Martha’s Vineyard offering an array of programs, classes, gallery shows and music for the whole family. You and your child will find inspiration, education, and creative enrichment on six acres of meadows, galleries and studios which was once Featherstone Farm. Ask them about their Toddler Art Program which allows kids to explore clay, painting and architecture. Visit featherstoneart.org.
6. Outdoor Parks. Spend an afternoon chasing your toddler around one of Martha’s Vineyard’s many parks and playgrounds. Head to Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs and fly a kite or have a picnic, or explore the popular nearby Niantic Park Playground, which recieved a massive renovation in 2016. Popular too are the local elementary school’s impressive playgrounds at the Edgartown School, Oak Bluffs School and West Tisbury School.
7. Head to the Beach. Is there anything better than a beautiful beach day with your little one? Explore nature’s playground at any number of our public beaches. We especially recommend beaches with restroom and parking access for families, like Menemsha Beach, conveniently located by public restrooms, dining options, an area for kids to go crabbing, as well as easy access to the beach from your car. If your vehicle can go oversand we also recommend driving out on Norton Point or Wasque Beach, where you can be close to all of your kids toys and toiletries all day long (passes can be secured through the Trustees of Reservations).
8. Farm Institute. Katama’s Farm Institute is a a farm-based educational institution that connects families and children to agriculture on a 162 acre working farm, featuring cows, hens, sheep, goats, bunnies and more. During the summer months they offer daily and weekly farm camp programs for children ages 2-17. Check out their Barnyard Buddies program where your kid go egg collecting, interact in a bunny circle, feed the goats, enjoy a farm story time, or a fun garden craft. Visit their website here.
9. Explore our local libraries. On Martha’s Vineyard libraries are much more than book borrowing, their dynamic community and cultural centers. Each of the six towns boast their own library, offering classes, music, workshops, and programs of all kinds for the whole family. Visit each of them online here: Oak Bluffs Library, West Tisbury Library, Vineyard Haven Library, Chilmark Library, Aquinnah Library, and Edgartown Library.
10. Get in the pool. If your little one loves the water try bringing them to one of our local pools for extra splashing and play time. The YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard offers a Water Discovery class on Saturday mornings intended to introduces infants and toddlers to water and exploration. The Mansion House Inn also has an indoor pool with day passes available, or if you’re staying at the Harbor View Hotel or Winnetu Oceanside Resort be sure to take advantage of their expansive, family friendly outdoor pool areas.
It's my job to love this place, and it's no work at all.