3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

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runner9
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3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by runner9 » Sat May 26, 2018 7:21 pm

We're taking our family vacation week after next to Boston, flying in early Monday afternoon and flying out Friday morning--that's all the time we could put together.

We're renting an airbnb type apartment near Andrew subway station, near Dorchester Ave and Dorchester St in zip code 02127.

For sure we want to do the Freedom Trail but we're having trouble deciding after that.

Also, best bet to get around? uber? Subway? Combination? Airport to Columbus Park, and then daily Columbus Park to attractions? I believe we're staying close to a subway station, if that isn't overly difficult to figure out.

Thanks!
Last edited by runner9 on Tue May 29, 2018 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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llama
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by llama » Sat May 26, 2018 7:30 pm

Museum of Science was always a favorite of mine as a kid, but I haven't been there in three decades. I've taken the T more recently and it's pretty easy to figure out, even though they've changed from tokens to those new-fangled CharlieCard thingies.

EDIT: Oh yeah, I don't know how I could've forgotten the aquarium as Darth mentions down the thread. Another favorite of mine as a kid, and a HUGE hit with my young kiddo.
Last edited by llama on Sat May 26, 2018 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by livesoft » Sat May 26, 2018 7:46 pm

At least check out Boston City / Go Pass for ideas. I won't list them here.

I don't think you should do Freedom Trail this time.
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DarthSage
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by DarthSage » Sat May 26, 2018 7:50 pm

Boston Children's Museum is huge and fun. The Science Museum is also a good choice. We love the New England Aquarium. There's also Boston Common, the Public Park (with the swan boats!). Fanueil Hall is interesting for eating and shopping. We love the Boston Public Library, but we're total nerds. OTOH, the library is one of the very few free things, so there's that. It might be worth finding out if anyone's playing at the Esplanade during your stay.

I'm not so sure an 8yo would appreciate the Freedom Trail. It's a lot of walking and looking at old buildings and cemeteries. However, you know your own child--I have a couple of odd ducks, including one who, at age 4, had an incredible crush on George Washington (The number one president and the daddy of our country!).

A better choice might be a Duck Boat tour--you cover a lot of the same ground/historical sights, but you ride in the duck boat. And, of course, you also ride on the Charles River, giving an interesting perspective on the city. Added bonus, they usually let a kid or two drive the duck boat in the water. They let my husband do this last time, and he was insufferably pleased with himself the entire day! He even got a sticker!

Keep in mind, the duck boats pick up and drop off at three locations (Science Museum, Prudential building, and Aquarium, I believe). If you book online, know which one you're booking!

Boston is an easy walking city, and the T is pretty easy to navigate, as well. The people are a bit rough around the edges, but with hearts of gold. If you get a chance to visit the North End, you will eat the most authentic Italian food this side of Naples.

marielake
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by marielake » Sat May 26, 2018 7:58 pm

Is Columbia Park by the North End? Fun things for an 8 year old might be the Aquarium, Children's Museum and the swan boats in the public gardens. For adults, walking the Boston Harbor and having drinks at the Boston Harbor Hotel; maybe Fanueil Hall, a baseball game? I took all my out of town friends there. There's a museum at MIT that is also very interesting if you are into technology.

Have since moved from Boston. But, last time I was there, we walked almost everywhere. Took Uber to and from airport. Took 1 taxi and got scammed. Never again will I take taxi in Boston. Also, MBTA is pretty easy to get around, but depending on where you are going, Uber might be cheaper.

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by marielake » Sat May 26, 2018 8:02 pm

Just saw Dath Sage post. Duck Boat is great. I walked friends from Wyoming all over Boston. We then took duck boat and went to all the same sites we had walked to. It is pricey tho. Also, great restaurants in the North End, especially pizza. I miss North End pizza.

livesoft
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by livesoft » Sat May 26, 2018 8:03 pm

For adults: Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Superb. At least one adult should go there. :)
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wilked
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by wilked » Sat May 26, 2018 8:10 pm

Science museum for sure
Aquarium is good too
8 is too old for the children’s museum

Duck boats for sure

If Sox are in town a ballgame is great. If they are not and the child is into baseball a tour is great

Lawn on d is a real cool destination spot for the family. Google it

chw
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by chw » Sat May 26, 2018 8:18 pm

In addition, to some of the suggestions, I would maybe try to catch a Red Sox game. It would be an awesome experience for an 8 year old if they enjoy baseball. Other takes to look into- Duck Boat tour, Boston Harbor Island Tour (I would recommend Georges Island with its Civil War era fort). The boats for the Island tours leave from a pier adjacent to Columbus Park. If you find you have an open day, you could visit Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod, by taking the Provincetown ferry from the same waterfront area adjacent to Columbus Park. I believe it's about a 90 minute trip to P-town- your 8 year old might enjoy a visit to the Pirate museum which is loaded with artifacts from an actual pirate wreck off the coast of Cape Cod, which ended up being the demise Black Sam Bellamy (Blackbeard).

Definitely don't need a car- combo of Subway and Uber should get you around just fine. Enjoy- early June is a great time to visit Boston.

Columbus Park is a great area on the waterfront- be sure to catch some meals in the North End (Italian fare), and then get a cannoli at either Mike's Pastry, or Modern- both are on Hanover St.

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mk_obelix
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by mk_obelix » Sat May 26, 2018 8:19 pm

If you have time try to visit Mapparium https://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/project/mapparium/ fun place.
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GenXer
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by GenXer » Sat May 26, 2018 8:53 pm

Duck Boat tour
Boston Common and Swan Boats
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Ice cream (I think New England has the best ice cream anywhere)
North End
King's Chapel Burying Ground

ResearchMed
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by ResearchMed » Sat May 26, 2018 9:03 pm

Did your child ever read/enjoy "Make Way For Ducklings"?

If so, on one side of the Swan Boat pond, there are small brass (?) statues of them following each other.

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rennale
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by rennale » Sat May 26, 2018 9:13 pm

For great views of the city (50 floors up) have lunch at the Top of the Hub in the Prudential Center. Amazingly, lunch there doesn't have to be wickedly expensive.

For a cheap thrill take the ferry from the Aquarium to Charlestown. Takes under 15 minutes and gives a fun view of the city, especially from the top deck. Then wander around the Navy Yard (USS Constitution tall ship and USS Cassin Young WWII destroyer) - both free. If you have time you can wander up to the nearby Bunker Hill monument and race up the spiral staircase inside the monument to the top. The restaurant at Pier 6 has fun views too. Then take the ferry back.

The ferry leaves the Aquarium on the hour and half hour. It leaves Charlestown on the quarter and three-quarter hour.

malabargold
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by malabargold » Sat May 26, 2018 9:39 pm

Aquarium
Duck Boats
Whale watching on Stellwagan Bank
Old North Church - tour part way up Steeple and crypts
(Paul Revere)
LA Burdick for hot chocolate
North End for Modern Pastry/ Mike’s Pastry/ Food /parades
Harvard Tours- do duckboat first as they often give out
Free Harvard tour coupon
Harvard Natural History Museum - very kid friendly
Harvard Fogg Art Museum
Harvard Science Center to see the Mark 1 -first computer
In US - it’s a beast
Harvard Houghton Rare Book Library - fantastic rotating
display room
Old South Church and South Meeting Hall
50th Floor in the round view Prudential Center
Museum of Fine Arts
Freedom Trail
Harvard Medical museum in library -Phinneus Gage, etc
Boston Commons and Park - swan boats, make way for
ducklings statue
Public Market
Tatte and Flour pastry shops
Eataly
Lobster roll at McDonalds for the novelty
Red Sox game
Get a 3-day pass for the T ( subway and buses) charlie card
Last edited by malabargold on Sat May 26, 2018 10:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Carter3
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by Carter3 » Sat May 26, 2018 9:49 pm

I agree with the aquarium idea. Must do a whale watch from the aquarium

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by iamlucky13 » Sun May 27, 2018 8:18 pm

DarthSage wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 7:50 pm
I'm not so sure an 8yo would appreciate the Freedom Trail. It's a lot of walking and looking at old buildings and cemeteries. However, you know your own child--I have a couple of odd ducks, including one who, at age 4, had an incredible crush on George Washington (The number one president and the daddy of our country!).
Some of the sites are interesting buildings on their own right (such as the State House - kids often take interest in things that are easily imaginable, like important people giving speeches from the balcony), even if the child is unaware of the history. I want to say 2nd or 3rd grade was when we started learning the basics of US history when I was growing up, so Paul Revere's house could be linked to Longfellow's poem, etc. The Bunker Hill Memorial is also easily memorable.

I remember there being a really good pastry shops along the trail, too.

And when I was 8, I would have peed my pants if that's what it took to get to see USS Constitution. Actually, I'd still probably be willing to in order to see her again...

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by Hug401k » Sun May 27, 2018 8:49 pm

A duck tour is perfect for ages 5-80. My kids also drove the boat and they were pretty excited. I don't know how they do it over and over, but the drivers are very entertaining. I typically take the T, but my Boston life predates Uber. I will say, Boston is pretty walkable so things might not be as far as they seem. If you are at the Columbus park right next to the North End, things are definitely walkable including some awesome food and the aquarium.

criticalmass
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by criticalmass » Sun May 27, 2018 9:13 pm

Hug401k wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 8:49 pm
A duck tour is perfect for ages 5-80. My kids also drove the boat and they were pretty excited. I don't know how they do it over and over, but the drivers are very entertaining. I typically take the T, but my Boston life predates Uber. I will say, Boston is pretty walkable so things might not be as far as they seem. If you are at the Columbus park right next to the North End, things are definitely walkable including some awesome food and the aquarium.
I'm surprised that nobody mentioned the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. It is great for kids and interesting for all. The suggestions for the duck tour are good. The Boston Aquarium is very good (although not as good as the National Aquarium in Baltimore, so if you've been there you will probably want to pass). The Museum of Science is good, but not very Boston specific. If you've toured other science museums (e.g. Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Exploratorium in San Francisco, Science Center in Baltimore, Miami, etc., then you may want to spend your time visiting uniquely Boston attractions.

Columbus Park is the large green area behind the Long Wharf Marriott near the Aquarium. Personally I would just take the T, Blue Line to Aquarium Station and walk a few blocks (not the "Silver Line" which is a glorified bus from airport to South Boston & South Station). But I travel light and my tolerance for walking with a bag and kid a few blocks might be greater than yours--you could always take the T then get an Uber from Aquarium Station to your final destination.

If you take a taxi (or even an Uber/Lyft) from the airport, you will pay surcharges for the airport, surcharges for the tolls (commercial vehicles pay a much higher toll which gets passed to you), and you get to have fun in Boston traffic. Aquarium Station via the Blue Line is two stops from Airport (although you do need to take a quick airport shuttle bus between your terminal and the main Airport T rail station. T/subway fares are very reasonable.

Also, consider just walking around the city (maybe freedom trail, maybe not). The downtown/gardens/beacon hill/north boston areas are very walkable and fun to walk around. Faneuil Hall area is now a tourist trap mall area, but perhaps not bad for hungry tourists.

The idea to take the water ferry to Charlestown is good. You can visit the U.S. Constitution while you are there, which is great for kids (and adults). It's a reasonable walk back to the North End. If you want more water adventures, consider taking the Harbor Island ferries to spend some time on the islands. Be sure to pack a lunch first. A whale watching boat would be fun too, if the weather is good and time permits.

Be aware that Boston has recently moving to restrict and/or ban airbnb style short term rentals in some neighborhoods, including North End.
Last edited by criticalmass on Sun May 27, 2018 11:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bpp
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by bpp » Sun May 27, 2018 10:33 pm

Here is what I wrote about the Boston Museum of Science a few years ago:
Boston Science Museum: had a chance to re-visit a while ago, and was disappointed at how dumbed down it had become since I was a kid. There were just fewer exhibits, and they were more cartoony and superficial than I remember. (What happened to the water-drops-under-strobe-light exhibit, and the Venturi-effect one...?)
Might still be good for an 8-year-old, though. Mostly 10-and-ups might not get as much out of it as they once would have.
The Van der Graaf generator show is admittedly pretty slick and entertaining, if the 8-year-old is not scared by loud sounds.

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by Copper John » Sun May 27, 2018 10:34 pm

You will be in a great location for walking to many sites and close to the subway. Walking, subway and Uber will have you covered for your transportation needs. I lived there for 20 years and rarely used my car in my daily life and for the most part only used my car to for excursions outside of the city.

Taking the ferry from Longs Wharf to some of the Boston Harbor Islands would be a great way to spend a half a day. You will be walking distance to Long's Wharf

https://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/ ... lands.html

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by Krawmp » Sun May 27, 2018 11:28 pm

GenXer wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 8:53 pm
Ice cream (I think New England has the best ice cream anywhere)
I think this is just a fact. You may have to head out of Boston to get some of the really good homemade stuff.

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DWesterb2iz2
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by DWesterb2iz2 » Mon May 28, 2018 12:03 pm

A whale watch. It’s what you will all remember from your trip, forever.

http://www.neaq.org/exhibits/whale-watch/

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by sallyann2 » Tue May 29, 2018 4:16 pm

Last fall I took my 11 year old to Boston. We crammed a ton of stuff into three long days. We got a GO Boston card and definitely got our money's worth. Don't think I would have done all the same activities with my 8 year old, but it offers other choices that might be more appropriate for a younger kid. My 11 year old had just learned about the American Revolution so it worked out perfectly.

-Whale Watch - good for all ages
-New England Aquarium - good for all ages
-Fenway Park Tour - good for baseball fans
-Museum of Science - good for all ages; many of the exhibits seemed quite dated, but they had a fun staff-led activity
-Freedom Trail Walking Tour - 8 year old probably bored, but better than self-guided
-Harvard Walking Tour - 8 year old probably bored
-Old State House - 8 year old probably bored
-USS Constitution Cruise - good for all ages
-MIT Museum - 8 year old definitely bored
-Boston Bike Rental - my 8 year old can't ride a bike yet, but really enjoyed this with my 11 year old. Nice bike lanes and you can ride along the water, which was very scenic.

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 29, 2018 5:03 pm

runner9 wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 7:21 pm
Also, best bet to get around? uber? Subway? Combination? Airport to Columbus Park, and then daily Columbus Park to attractions? I believe we're staying close to a subway station, if that isn't overly difficult to figure out.
I just bought a pass to ride the subway and buses. I even took a bus to Lexington to see where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired and took the subway to Braintree to visit the homestead and tombs of the two Adams presidents. Very easy to negotiate and I live in the midwest where Uber doesn't even have a presence.

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runner9
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by runner9 » Tue May 29, 2018 5:25 pm

Thank you all. We are staying near Andrew subway station, near Dorchester Ave and Dorchester St in zip code 02127.

Yiewsley
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by Yiewsley » Tue May 29, 2018 5:31 pm

There's a Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville.

https://boston.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by General Disarray » Tue May 29, 2018 5:43 pm

1. The Children's Museum (8 years old is not too old for the children's museum. I took my 7-year-old niece there last month, and there were kids older than her there.)

2. Science Museum

3. New England Aquarium

4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Take the T if you can; if the walking distance is too far, take Uber.

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GerryL
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by GerryL » Tue May 29, 2018 6:29 pm

It's been a very long time since I was an 8-year-old kid in Boston, but I did live there as an adult in the 1980s. People keep mentioning Duck Boats. What are those? I do remember the Swan Boats in the Public Gardens and was going to suggest those as an activity. And I think the Freedom Trail is a great way to explore the city at your own pace. Be sure to include Old Iron Sides.

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Duckie
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by Duckie » Tue May 29, 2018 6:51 pm

GerryL wrote:People keep mentioning Duck Boats. What are those?
Boston Duck Tours

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market timer
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by market timer » Tue May 29, 2018 7:34 pm

I visited Boston at a similar age and still remember:
-Red Sox game
-Whale watch
-Homeless person who kept interrupting our Freedom Trail tour to tell us the "real" story

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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by Copper John » Tue May 29, 2018 11:48 pm

runner9 wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 5:25 pm
Thank you all. We are staying near Andrew subway station, near Dorchester Ave and Dorchester St in zip code 02127.
Okay thanks for clarifying that. Many of the mentioned spots such as the Aquarium, Whale Watch, North End, Freedom Trail will not be in walking distance from where you are staying. The subway station near you is the Red Line and you will be able to use this line to connect to the Blue, Orange and Green Lines to get to all of these spots. Boston is not a big sprawling city like Chicago and all of these destinations will be relatively short short trips. Biggest negatives of using the subways will be using them in the hot humid part of the summer which won't be an issue when you visit and using them during the morning (roughly 6:45 - 8:45a) and evening (roughly 4:30 - 6:15 pm) rush hours when they can be extremely crowded and not something you will want to deal with.

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runner9
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Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Post by runner9 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:06 pm

Thank you to everyone who gave us information/suggestions. We were in Boston last Monday-Friday. The MBTA was great, we got 7 day passes and took the subway every day. Even in rush hour it wasn't bad.

We saw/did:
Aquarium
Museum of Science
Boston Children's Museum
Duck Boat
Freedom Trail
--including 294 steps at Bunker Hill
Cheers (outside)
China Town
North End/Little Italy
Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall/etc
Boston Common/Boston Public Market
WardMaps Retail Store

We had a fun time. Lots and lots of school groups everywhere but no complaints:)

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