David L. Ryan/Globe staff
First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers in the aftermath of the Civil War, Memorial Day was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars. In addition to local parades and commemorations, here are some ways the whole family can celebrate America's heroes:
"Military Heroes Garden of Flags on the Boston Common," Boston Common, Boston. Through sundown Mon., May 27. View 33,000 American flags on Boston Common. Each flag represents a service member from Massachusetts who gave his or her life defending the country since the Civil War to the present day.
"Memorial Day Weekend Family Fun at the USS Constitution Museum," Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown. Sat., May 25 - Mon., May 27, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Free (donations welcome). Learn about the life of a marine and sailor at sea by learning to march, using the tools of the seafarer’s trade, exploring everyday life on board USS Constitution, and making an officer’s hat. Young sailors can purchase a 'Build a Ship' activity to take home or make at the museum ($2). www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org
"Free Memorial Day Community Weekend," Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. Sat., May 25 - Mon., May 27, 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Free. Celebration theme is "Boston I Love." Enjoy special exhibitions -- including three paintings on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- art making, gallery tours, family activities, and a community art project. All on-site contributions this weekend will be donated to The One Fund Boston. www.mfa.org
Find more Memorial Day events around Boston.
Whatever you wind up doing, don't forget to share your Memorial Day weekend photos with us!
(Photo sent in by Rachel of Mansfield).
Photo by Aaron WashingtonHead over to Boston's City Hall Plaza for the largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival in the area, which will be serving up ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet from the nation's leading ice cream companies. Since 1983 the annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl has supported cancer care and research for adults and children at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Enjoy favorites from ice cream greats such as Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry's, Blue Bunny, Breyers, Byrne Dairy Ice Cream, Edy's, Friendly's, Hood, and SoCo Creamery. On opening day of the event, June 4, some wives of Red Sox players will be on hand to scoop ice cream and to judge a kids' ice cream eating contest. Live entertainment and activities each day round out this "scooper" fun three-day event. Tues., June 4, noon - 8 p.m.; Wed., June 5, noon - 8 p.m.; Thurs., June 6, noon - 8 p.m. Ages 10 and up, $10; ages 3-9, $5; under 3, free. Groups of 15 or more receive $2 off each ticket. 'Scooper Pass,' $20, good for three separate visits. Tickets available online or at the door. Rain or shine. Boston City Hall Plaza, One City Hall Square, Boston. www.scooperbowl.org
Join a host of authors and artists for a day of enchantment at the 2013 Children's Book Festival at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The theme, "A Fairy Garden Celebration," aims to inspire visitors through the world of fantasy, the magic of fairy tales, and the natural world. Build fairy houses in the orchard, experience a garden of delights in the galleries, and bring your own magic to this fun-filled day for fairy- and nature-lovers of all ages. Events include art activities, guest artist presentations, demonstrations, and exhibition, book signings, and more. Fairy, gnome, and other nature-inspired costumes welcome! Sat., Jun 8, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free with museum admission: adults, $9; under 18, students and teachers, $6; family admission (2 adults, 2 youths), $22.50. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. www.carlemuseum.org (Photo: Eric Carle is photographed in 2011 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art/Jonathan Wiggs)
Jim Davis/Globe staff
For the ninth year, the Boston Red Sox will welcome peanut allergic fans to Fenway Park this season, providing the opportunity for all fans to enjoy a day of baseball that's free from worry or danger. Accommodations for these games include appropriate “Peanut-Allergy Friendly” signs posted at the site location; prohibition of sales of any nut products on or near the right field terrace during the game; and an extra security, EMS, and a Fenway Park ambassador presence in the Cumberland Farms Deck throughout the game to troubleshoot questions and be of assistance in case an emergency arises. Peanut allergy families will receive a goody bag when entering the ballpark, and there will be a scoreboard message saying: “The Boston Red Sox Welcome Our Peanut-Allergy Families to Fenway Park.” As a special treat, Red Sox mascot Wally will visit the Cumberland Farms deck for a half-inning during the game. Additional accommodations will be made for fans with extremely severe allergies. Tickets must be purchased in advance of game day, and waivers must be signed to receive your tickets at the ballpark. Sat., June 8, 7:15 p.m.; Sat., July 20, 4:05 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 3, 7:10 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 31, 7:10 p.m. $50 per seat, $30 standing room only. Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston. For more information, email email@example.com. www.peanutfreebaseball.com
More family-friendly Red Sox tidbits...Kids eat free at the Ninety Nine Restaurant the day after the Red Sox win! Get the details and discover more kids-eat-free deals. And if you are going to a game, don't forget to share photos of your kids at Red Sox games with us!
Join hundreds of other boating enthusiasts at Hingham Harbor for a fun event that kicks off the boating season. Sponsored by the Friends of Hingham Harbor, the "Touch A Boat" event aims to provide an afternoon of fun and information about boating safety. Children can climb aboard Hingham’s Harbormaster boats and those from other state agencies. The Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer life jacket fittings and boat safety inspections. Kids will have fun with knot tying demonstrations, buoy painting, maritime crafts, face painting, bubbles, a highly anticipated "Pirate Treasure Hunt," and much more. Hingham’s favorite DJ, Chris Pickett, will once again get the crowd moving to the music. In keeping with the theme of boating safety, anyone who wears a life jacket to the event will be entered into a drawing to win a boat trip around the harbor with the Harbormaster. Local businesses, Bare Cove Catering and Nona's Ice Cream, will be on hand with a variety of food for sale. Sat., May 25, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Free. All ages. Iron Horse Park, Hingham Harbor, Rte. 3A, Hingham. www.hinghamharbor.org
Photo by Michael MalyszkoBring your budding scientists to the Museum of Science on any Monday morning, and you'll find activities that are sure to spark new creativity. The museum has created a lineup of programming geared to children aged three through six that are sure to delight and educate. You can start off your morning with a "Live Animal Story Time" at 9:30, drop-in to participate in the "Soaring Satellite Design Challenge," walk among the free-flying residents of the Butterfly Garden, a warm conservatory filled with exotic plants, and visit the Discovery Center where your little one can put an animal skeleton together, touch a real fossil, or observe a variety of live animals up close. Wrap up your day with a viewing of "Big Bird's Adventure: One World, One Sky" in the Charles Hayden Planetarium, when you can Explore the night sky with your favorite friends from Sesame Street and learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star, and more. Please note that some activities take place at structured times, while others are on-going each day. Visit the website for schedules. Mondays through June 24, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Adults, $22; children, $19. Additional charge for "One World, One Sky": adults, $10; children, $9. Discounted rates for groups of nine or more. The Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston. www.mos.org
Enjoy fun samurai-inspired activities for children and adults at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on Saturdays in May. Get swept up by the masterworks of samurai cinema (see individual film listings for screening times and locations). Design your own family crest armor inspired by the Samurai exhibition. Explore the tools and materials that artists use to make Japanese woodblock prints, and talk with knowledgeable staff at this drop-in program. Discover the MFA’s Buddhist Temple Room in a short talk. Take a self-guided exploration of arms and armor in the MFA’s collection from around the world. Treat yourself to "bento boxes," a Japanese-inspired lunch special for adults and kids in Taste café and wine bar. Samurai Saturdays are free with museum admission; no reservations are required to participate in most of the programs. In addition, you can enjoy free admission to the entire museum on May 25, as part of its Memorial Day Community Weekend celebration. Sat., May 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sat., May 25, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Adults, $25; seniors and students, $23; children 7 - 17, free after 3 p.m. and on weekends, otherwise, $10. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. www.mfa.org
If you are about to start solids or are deciding when and how to start solids, this is the event for you! Head over to Mud Puddle Toys, where representatives from Purely Pears, producer of homemade baby food made from local and organic ingredients, will be on hand to share the latest on introducing solids to your baby, including what to try and when. They'll also debunk common myths, answer frequently asked questions, and share recipes and strategies for encouraging your children to be lifelong lovers of healthy foods. They will cover common feeding concerns such as food allergens, choking hazards, organic versus non-organic, as well as food safety. Purely Pears will be offering samples of their seasonal and fresh purees. Bring your little on and your appetite. Thurs., May 23, 11 a.m. - noon. Free. Mud Puddle Toys, 221 Essex St., Salem. wwwpurelypears.com
A teacher who zaps children into apples, an eccentric dance teacher, two talking pigtails, a mysterious and spooky substitute teacher and 14 students who ride the wave of this zaniness. Watertown Children’s Theatre’s Play Factory presents "Sideways Stories from Wayside School," a play based on the very popular series by Louis Sachar. Wayside School was accidentally built sideways. It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead, it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story! Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside -- especially on the thirtieth floor. An ensemble cast of 3rd - 5th graders brings this childhood favorite to life. Fri.,. May 17, 7 p.m.; Sat., May 18, 1 p.m.; Sun., May 19, 1 p.m. $10, plus online ticket service fee. Black Box Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown. www.watertownchildrenstheatre.org
In appreciation for all those who acted so quickly and selflessly during the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, Showcase Cinemas is offering a weekend of free movie admission. First responders and one guest can choose any movie on both Saturday and Sunday, and each will receive a complimentary regular-size popcorn and soda. Must present a valid photo ID and offer must be redeemed in person (no online orders). Participating theatres are Showcase Cinema de Lux Legacy Place in Dedham, Showcase Cinema de Lux Revere and Showcase Cinema Woburn. Sat., May 11 & Sun., May 12. www.showcasecinemas.com
Also: Free admission for first responders at the Boston Children's Museum through the month of May.
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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a kindergartner and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.