Stuck with a gray day? Pack the family off to Cartwheels 2 Family Fun Center, at 340 Macarthur Blvd./Rte. 28, about 2 miles south of the Bourne Bridge (tel. 508/743-9930; www.cartwheels2.com). As far as entertaining kids goes, this place is probably the best bargain on the Cape. Older kids will like the go-cart track (the largest on the Cape) and Wiffle-ball cages. Little kids have a moonwalk, bumper boats, and minigolf. It's $6 per ride, but you'll definitely want to buy a 2-hour unlimited-rides pass for $21 to save money. Open daily 10am to 9pm.
No visit to the Cape would be complete without some type of seafaring excursion on the Atlantic. If you're not a sailor or if you don't have the time or budget for an all-day boat trip, consider a unique, hands-on discovery cruise with OceanQuest, Water Street (in the center of town), Woods Hole (tel. 800/376-2326 or 508/385-7656; www.oceanquestonline.org). Departing from Woods Hole, these 1 1/2-hour harbor cruises are perfect for families, as real marine research is conducted with passengers serving as bona fide data collectors.
Here's how it works. Participants are split into two teams. Up in the bow, company founder Kathy Mullin, or a scientist borrowed from one of the revered local institutes, trains the new crew in the niceties of reading water temperature, assessing turbidity, and taking other key measurements. In the stern, passengers get to examine the specimens hauled up by the dredger. Midway into the trip, the teams switch stations, so that everyone gets to contemplate topics such as the sex life of a spider crab or why the water looks a particular shade of blue or green. Kids get a real kick out of being addressed as "Doctor," and even adults who think they know it all will probably come away much better informed.
The 90-minute cruise costs $22 for adults, $17 for children 4 to 12, $5 for children 3 and under; boats shove off four times a day Monday through Friday from mid-June to early September. Trips depart at 10am, noon, 2pm, and 4pm. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.