I first heard about Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center from another mother. She was surprised that I had never been there, understandably, since the place was barely a five-minute walk from where we were standing at a playground near the Sagamore Bridge.
This tiny, kid-friendly museum is the very essence of a hidden gem, surprisingly rewarding and requiring just the slightest detour off the beaten path.
Some of the offerings are simple: a touch table full of seashells; a train table equipped instead with toy boats and a model of the canal. Others are show-stoppers, especially the 45-foot canal patrol boat Renier, installed here after her retirement from service, and open for kids to take turns “driving” in its wheelhouse. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Jenna Russell can be reached at email@example.com.