FAMILY VACATION: BOSTON
TOP TWELVE TRAVEL TIPSHEET
by Rania Mankarious
Editor’s Note: Top Twelve Travel Tipsheet is a ParentsPost.com series on favorite FAMILY-FRIENDLY places and activities outside Houston. Rania Mankarious is a Houston SuperMom with three daughters. She was born and raised in Boston. She attended Boston College and the University of Houston Law Center.
#1 BOSTON DUCK TOURS
4 Copley Place, Suite 4155, 617-267-3825
You can not leave Boston without taking your family on one of Boston’s famous 80-minute Duck Tours! These colorful World War II amphibious vehicles travel by land and by sea, and allow you to learn much about Boston. Led by entertaining Boston enthusiasts, this tour offers a perfect mix of history, adventure and fun. Sometimes, kids get to drive the DUCK while it’s in the water! Demand is high so look into tickets as soon as you know you’ll be in town.
#2 BOSTON PUBLIC GARDEN & BOSTON COMMON
Downtown Boston, 617-635-4505
Nestled in the heart of Boston are two large green spaces that are divided by a single road: the Public Garden and the Common. Anywhere you turn in these two uniquely different parks, you’ll find something fun for your little ones. The Public Garden has sweeping trees and beautiful landscaping, bridges and ponds. There are many spots to throw down a blanket and truly enjoy the scenery. Take the kids on the beautiful Swan Boats! These historic boats run from mid April to mid September, and offer a 15 minute ride around the Public Garden Lagoon. Kids will love seeing all the ducks and riding below the beautiful trees and bridges. Across the way is the Common. While there are great playgrounds, batting cages and other fun kid sites, the Common is best known for Frog Pond and Tadpole Playground. Frog Pond is open all year round. During the winter, the pond is frozen over for ice skating. During springtime and summer, it is a wading pool for young kids. Tadpole Playground is a play structure with a water play area, a safety play surface, and bronze frog statues.
#3 USS CONSTITUTION MUSEUM
Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 22, Charlestown, 617-426-1812
Kids and adults will love visiting this free museum, affectionately known as “Ole Ironsides.” Walk aboard, get dressed up and go back in time during the 30 minute tour that is sure to bring the nation’s oldest commissioned ship to life. While there, be sure to enjoy their interactive public programs and adventures galore.
#4 THE FREEDOM TRAIL
Downtown Boston/North End/Charles Town, 617-357-8300
Your kids will learn to embrace and love American history while on this 2½ mile brick-lined route that weaves through three neighborhoods: Downtown, North End and Charles Town. On the trail, you’ll see 16 historical sites including museums, churches and burying grounds. You can take a walking tour led by an 18th-century costumed guide – their tales make the people, facts and events surrounding the American Revolution leap out at every turn. Audio guides are also available.
#5 NORTH END & THE PAUL REVERE HOUSE
19 North Square, 617-523-2338
Mama Mia! Stop by Boston’s North End to visit Italy without leaving the East Coast! Your kids will love running through these hilly cobblestone streets while eating the BEST pizza and pastries ever! Plus, it wouldn’t be Boston if it didn’t also offer an insight to the nation’s history. This family-oriented neighborhood (where you may see a laundry line or two floating between apartments) also holds the Paul Revere House where kids can learn the true story of Paul Revere and his Midnight Ride in a way that engages them. Children under 5 are free.
#6 FANEUIL HALL
4 South Market Building, 617-523-1300
There’s so much to do at Faneuil Hall Marketplace – your family will love this part of Boston! You’ll see street performers, artists and other unique vendors, balloons stands, candy shops, cartoonists, an incredible food hall, flower markets, and so much more, you won’t want to leave. Tucked between Downtown and the North End, many Boston landmarks are located here.
#7 FENWAY PARK
4 Yawkey Way, 617-226-6666
Whether you have boys or girls, take a quick trip to Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox and the oldest baseball field in the country – Fenway Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year! Take note of the 37-foot 2-inch high left field wall which has become known as the “Green Monster.” Tours are available.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE – 1 Science Park, 617-723-2500
This museum is known for its enormous T-rex out front. Families can also enjoy the planetarium, interactive stations and films in the Omni Theater’s IMAX screen.
HARVARD NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM – 26 Oxford Street, 617-495-3045
This is the place to explore ancient animals and the beauty of nature. The exhibits feature dinosaurs, birds, meteorites, gems, flowers and plants. Again, a great place for the family to learn and explore together.
BOSTON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM – 308 Congress Street, 617-426-6500
You will feel like this museum was specifically designed with your child in mind. You’ll love watching your children get swept away with all this museum has to offer. You’ll see amazement in their eyes as they learn.
#9 NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM
Central Wharf, 617-973-5200
Located on the harbor, families are delighted with its penguins, seals, jellyfish, sea turtles and coral reef. Kids can get their hands wet in a tide pool while learning about the wonders of the sea. Just outside the aquarium, you can enjoy restaurants and other city finds near the harbor – you can even sign up for a whale watching experience.
This city is the home of Harvard University and many unique shops. You can walk the streets of Cambridge, admire architecture and smell the scents of foods from all over the world. The Charles River borders one side of this town filled with beautiful green spaces for families.
#11 FRANKLIN PARK ZOO
1 Franklin Park Road, 617-541-5466
Children can visit hundreds of animals from around the world in this 72-acre city zoo. In addition to lions, gorillas, tree kangaroos, and other exotic animals, you’ll also find great places for kids to play, take pictures, climb and run
#12 OLD TOWN TROLLEY TOURS
380 Dorchester Avenue, 617-269-7010
Boston is an easy city for families to walk but kids will love seeing the sights on a fun Trolley. Children under 3 ride free. Tours last from 1 to 3 hours. Tour guides play particular attention to kids offering them trivia games, coloring books and crayons to document their adventures!