Before you even unpack and get ready for the beach you need to head over to the and purchase “A Field Guide to the Marine Life of Nantucket.” If your kids ask near as many questions as mine -this guide is as necessary as beach towels. It is lightweight and full of pictures cataloging anything you may come across at the beach, and even things you may hope to avoid.
The has several different properties: the Observatory, Aquarium, Science Museum and the Mitchell House. The best of these to visit with kids is definitely the aquarium.
The Aquarium is tiny, but packed with adventure. You can most certainly pick up your field guide there. The Aquarium is located across from the Town Parking lot – next to the Town Peer. The sign is small, so it is easy to miss. Your best bet is to park in the Town Lot and just walk across the street. My daycare kids love going to the Aquarium because it is what I call a “touching turn” most of the time they have to just have “watching turns.” There is a touch tank with all sorts of sturdy and safe critters that are up for fondling.
After the kids are done at the touch tank they can look at the diverse range of fish that the Aquarium finds in the waters that touch Nantucket’s Shores. The staff is knowledgeable and are uber friendly and great with kids.
The Science Museum is also great fun with kids. The parking is once again tricky, but there is usually space somewhere close on Vestal. This is an awesome place to go with kids on a rainy Nantucket day. If your kids are into seeing nature up close, this is for them. There are tons of specimens of moths, birds, snakes and spiders (all under lock and key – don’t fret).
I don’t know the observatory so well, but if you are renting a crib from me I can only assume your kids are like mine, quite small and asleep before stars become available to gaze. Here is the at the observatory if you can leave the younger ones at home and make a break for it!