When I told our kids we were traveling to Boston to see the sights, all they could do was remind me of how the Boston Bruins had beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. “If we’re going there I want to be prepared,” my four-year-old Brock said. “I need to bring all my mini sticks so we can make sure to win in a rematch.” But when we landed on the tarmac on a balmy day in July, his focus immediately changed to pirates, tall ships, whale watching, and boat rides. Whew! And as soon as we got to the hotel, my eight-year-old, Connor, wanted to quickly check out the saltwater pool (because for some reason he’s obsessed with hotel pools). The view from our suite at the Doubletree by Hilton also passed the test — overlooking the famous Charles River, which divides Cambridge and Boston, and running more than 80 miles (130 km). So far, we were off to a great start. A-hoy!
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What to do
If you ask anyone in Boston what a family should do, they’ll say take a duck tour. The infamous Super Duck Tour is a two-hour sightseeing trip around the intricate city streets as well as a boat ride around the Boston Harbor. And the cool thing is that the “duck” is both a truck and boat in one, so you move smoothly from vehicle to vessel. The tour guides (Captain and Mate) were funny and extremely knowledgeable — and they got the kids involved by having them answer questions and shout “Quack! Quack!” out the window to get people’s attention en route. (Connor even got to drive the duck when it reached the water while we all enjoyed the pretty skyline.)
Not your average science museum, the famous Boston Children’s Museum is a place of amazing discovery. The kids loved the elaborate climbing structures and exploring the Construction Zone, Bubbles area, and Johnny’s Workbench, where they were allowed to twist some screws, turn a hand drill, and operate a saw (under supervision of course!).
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The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum takes you back in time to the event that started the American Revolution. With live actors, high-tech exhibits and the kids throwing boxes of tea overboard from a docked tall ship — this exciting spot is one that can’t be missed.
If you’re looking for great desserts, make your way down to Quincy Marketplace where people come from all over to experience The Berry Treat Frozen Yogurt stall.
The Whale Watch was a three-and-a-half hour venture, but worth it when we caught a glimpse of the big guys. High-speed catamarans take you from Boston Harbor out to near Cape Cod where we saw five amazing whales.
Did you know?
Three hundred and forty-two chests of tea were dumped in the water during the Boston Tea Party back in 1773.
This article was originally published in October 2013.