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A Family Trip to Boston

Family-Friendly History
A Family Trip to Boston
Overflowing with historic sites and hands-on museums, Boston is a dream destination for families. During tours, walks, exhibits, and parks, kids and parents will learn as they play.
By Alison Abbott, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Alison Abbott
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    Family-Friendly History
    Family-Friendly History
    Picking the right venues is the way to ensure that your kids learn as much as you do about Boston—and U.S.—history. Download a guide to the Freedom Trail, and choose a section to explore like a treasure hunt. The North End has numerous sites and plenty of good pizza joints such as Regina Pizzeria where families can refuel. Then walk to the USS Constitution, and let costumed guides explain the country’s seafaring history. Energetic feet should climb up the Bunker Hill Monument. You can rest on the water shuttle across the harbor, which offers a different vantage point and a nice change of pace.
    Photo by Alison Abbott
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    Boston's Top Photo Ops
    Boston's Top Photo Ops
    Little ones will recognize the characters from Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings in the Public Garden, and they’ll be thrilled to climb on their favorite duck in person. Sports fans will want to head to Fenway Park and get their photo seated atop the “Green Monster”—the notorious 37-foot-high wall in left field—or outside with Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. A statue of Boston Bruin player Bobby Orr marks the entrance to the TD Garden arena along with Celtic Larry Bird. The giant Hood milk bottle is a favorite pilgrimage site in front of the Boston Children’s Museum, and a sculpture installation fondly known as “Boston’s Baby Heads” excites kids outside the Museum of Fine Arts.
    Photo by Alison Abbott
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    Interactive Learning
    Interactive Learning
    Boston’s museums are some of the best in the country for families. The Boston Children’s Museum and the Museum of Science both take a fun, hands-on approach and feature interactive experiments that engage kids of many different academic levels. The Harvard Museum of Natural History sparks visitors' curiosity—the gem and rock room alone makes a worthwhile stop—and the deCordova sculpture park is incredibly kid friendly and offers a chance to enjoy art outdoors. The Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum will bring the kids’ history classes to life when they see where the Sons of Liberty tossed crates of tea into the harbor more than 240 years ago.
    Photo by Alison Abbott
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    Meet the Animals
    Meet the Animals
    Animal lovers have many options to explore their passion in Boston. The Franklin Park Zoo is well known for its gorilla exhibit in which kids can meet Kiki, Kira, and the rest of the clan through the glass. The giant fish tank is the main draw at the New England Aquarium, but the jellyfish, penguin, and seal areas, as well as the Imax theater, make worthy sideshows. At the carousel on the Greenway, kids can choose from a whimsical assortment of characters to ride. But if it’s farm animals the family is seeking, Drumlin Farm just a short drive from the city is a unique wildlife sanctuary where you can see sheep, pigs, goats, and horses.
    Photo by Brianna Bascherini
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    Day Trip: Concord
    Day Trip: Concord
    A half-hour drive west from Boston, the Concord area is steeped in American history and literary traditions. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau found inspiration in a cabin near Walden Pond, and Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, is buried in Concord’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Historic reenactments, tours, and special events at Minute Man National Historic Park bring the battles of the American Revolutionary War to life. A focus on preservation, local agriculture, and the arts makes Concord a great family day trip from Boston.
    Photo by Erin Paul Donovan/age fotostock
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    Tried and True Tours
    Tried and True Tours
    For a great introduction to the city, book a Boston Duck Tour. You'll board an amphibious, World War II–style landing vehicle, and Colonel Duck Tape will lead you through all of Boston's major sights. It's a great way to get a unique perspective of the city, from both land and sea. Characters in period costumes leave regularly from Boston Common to take visitors on tours of the historic area. Boston By Foot guides guests around the Freedom Trail, and Old Town Trolley Tours lets you sit back and take in the views. Themes like ghosts and gravestones, baseball, and chocolate were built for specific tastes.
    Photo by Alison Abbott
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    Get Wet in Boston
    Get Wet in Boston
    The Rings Fountain is a favorite summer spot for kids of all ages. Sixty-four jets spray to heights of up to 30 feet on this section of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The unpredictable surges of water shoot like geysers into the sky and cool down visitors who dare to get close enough. The Frog Pond spray pool in the Public Garden features puppet shows and movie nights. At the bottom of the North End, you can swim in the Mirabella Pool, which offers standout views of the harbor. In East Boston, Constitution Beach is a fun place to wave at airplanes while you enjoy a refreshing dip. The Norman B. Leventhal Park, in the Financial District, is home to two fountains designed by sculptor Howard BenTré.
    Photo by Frank Binder/age fotostock
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