The Must-See, Must-Do List for a First-Time Visit to Boston
Boston is an amazing city with a huge variety of choices. Where to go? What to do? We think these attractions will be a hit with the kids and with you, too.
The Duck Tour
Get an overview of the city by taking a Boston Duck Tour. The Duck is an amphibious vehicle that takes passengers for a tour on land, then drives straight into the Charles River, for a total ride of 60 minutes on land and 20 minutes on water. It's a great introduction to Boston that the kids should love. You can get on board at three locations: Museum of Science (1 Science Park, Boston, MA); Prudential Center (53 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA); and New England Aquarium (Central Wharf, Boston, MA). Tickets are available at the Boston Duck Tours website.
TIP: Get to your starting point early and spend some time there before getting on board the Duck.
Dazzle Them with Science
If you didn't spend time at the Museum of Science or at the New England Aquarium before taking the Duck Tour, make some time now. Both are fabulous places for kids to learn about natural history. At the Aquarium, kids meet some amazing sea creatures right up close, and there's even an opportunity to pet a shark in complete safety. The Museum of Science shows movies about sharks and scientific phenomena on an IMAX screen. There's also a planetarium, botanical gardens, animal exhibits and, for that dino-lover in all of us, dinosaur displays, too.
The Boston Children's Museum
Give the family plenty of time at the famous Boston Children's Museum (308 Congress St., Boston, MA). The museum emphasizes the importance of play in learning. It offers hands-on exhibits and programs geared to the natural curiosity and creativity of children in the areas of science, culture, environmental awareness, health and fitness, and the arts. The museum works hand-in-hand with educators to develop programs and activities. It's also home to several collections, such as Americana, natural history, global culture, Native Americans, dolls and dollhouses, and Japanese artifacts—a total of more than 50,000 items.
Children, no matter what their interests may be, will find much to engage with and explore here. Although the museum's goals are lofty, to a child it's all about fun. What kid doesn't love to interact with exhibits, to push buttons and make things happen? The museum is easy to find, located across the bridge from South Station. Look for the giant milk bottle.
The Freedom Trail
Walk straight into history on the Freedom Trail by following the 2.5-mile red line you'll find on the sidewalks of downtown Boston. This red line takes you to museums, churches, burial grounds, parks, a ship and numerous other historically significant sites. Follow the trail yourself or book a guided tour led by 18th-century-costumed Freedom Trail Players, who make history come alive with tales of heroism, treason, revolutionary valor and the contributions of brave men who became the nation's founding fathers.
The guided tour begins at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center (139 Tremont St., Boston, MA) and wends its way through downtown Boston until it reaches the U.S.S. Constitution, which is docked in Charlestown. Book tours online at the Freedom Trail website.
The Red Sox at Fenway Park
Fenway Park (4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA) is located next to Kenmore Square, a lively area of the city. But nothing is livelier than Fenway when there's a game on. There's no baseball team like the Red Sox, and there are no fans like Red Sox fans. Fenway Park is one of the most beloved baseball fields in the country, and every home game is a drama of Shakespearean dimensions, especially when the Yankees are in town. You and your family really owe it to yourselves to take in a game. Check out the Fenway Park website for information about the schedule, seating, ticket prices, special events, tours, plus all kinds of background information on the history of the park and the team—since this is baseball, there are lots of stats.
Fenway even has Wally's Clubhouse for the littlest fans to get together and have some fun. Wally's Clubhouse is located in the Champions Club and is open during most home games from the third through seventh innings. On any given day, kids might be entertained by magicians, artists, games and other activities.
Have a wonderful time in Boston. Maybe on this visit you can make a list of things you want to do next time around!
Judith loves cats, books, and road trips with her husband. She was born in rural Indiana, studied English Literature at the University of Chicago, and has lived in Chicago, Boston, Deerfield, MA and now Louisville, KY. She owned a bookstore for several years and is a past-president of the Mass. & RI Antiquarian Booksellers. She edits novels and stories, and makes pictures which have been shown in galleries and juried shows. She loves to write, and her motto is "stay curious."