Boston for a few hours with young kids

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ThankYouJack
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Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by ThankYouJack » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:42 am

We're doing a family trip to New England and will have 3-4 hours to kill in Boston. We'd like to do something outside and explore a bit. I'm thinking walk around Boston commons, possibly along the river. Are there any playgrounds or things the kids would really like? Can we go to the top of any of the sky scrapers?

EDIT: I should have mentioned my kids are only 3 and 6 and will be traveling a lot that day (sitting) so I think we'll wait on a Duck tour.
Last edited by ThankYouJack on Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:50 am

Duck Tours. You'll end up seeing a lot of Boston and not only along the river, but IN the river. Haven't done it in a while, but used to start on Boylston St next to the Pru. After (or before) go to the top of the Pru for lunch. This keeps everything very self contained and will work well with kids. Done this myself.
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HereToLearn
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by HereToLearn » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:55 am

How old are the children?

Have they read Make Way for Ducklings? You may want to read that with them before visiting the Public Garden. They may enjoy a ride on the swam boats.

Do you live near the water or would walking along the waterfront interest them? There is an inexpensive ferry from the harbor to Charlestown. No tour, as it is a mass transit option, but could be fun on a nice summer day.

http://www.celebrateboston.com/mbta/cha ... -ferry.htm
http://www.celebrateboston.com/mbta/cha ... -ferry.htm

HereToLearn
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by HereToLearn » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:05 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:50 am
Duck Tours. You'll end up seeing a lot of Boston and not only along the river, but IN the river. Haven't done it in a while, but used to start on Boylston St next to the Pru. After (or before) go to the top of the Pru for lunch. This keeps everything very self contained and will work well with kids. Done this myself.
I was going to suggest the Duck tours b/c Boston is the perfect city for those, especially if you have never gone on one before. We started near the Boston Science Museum, which is an awesome museum for children but would require many hours to visit. My only objection to the Duck tours is the price, and the fact that the OP mentioned wanting to walk.

If you do go over to the Prudential Center, and if your children are at least older elementary age, they may enjoy a quick stop in the Mapparium. Certainly not the first thing on anyone's 'Must See in Boston' list, but it depends on your children's interests.

https://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/project/mapparium/

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MastersChampion
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by MastersChampion » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:07 am

Second the duck tours. When we went, the driver even let the kids drive the boat for a time.

I'm not sure the age of your kids, but my kids liked the North End with Paul Revere's house and the North Church, plus cannoli at Mike's (or any other place). My kids were 8-14 at the time. They also liked Boston Common and the swan boats.
They hated Fanueil Hall, the freedom trail, and the tons of walking you can easily do in Boston.

We also stopped by MIT and saw the "infinite corridor" and the MIT museum. MIT museum was only interesting to my tech-loving son and I.

FIBoston
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by FIBoston » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:10 am

Duck Tour if you want to be outside. If you're okay with inside then definitely the Boston Children's Museum.

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ThankYouJack
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by ThankYouJack » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:11 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:50 am
Duck Tours. You'll end up seeing a lot of Boston and not only along the river, but IN the river. Haven't done it in a while, but used to start on Boylston St next to the Pru. After (or before) go to the top of the Pru for lunch. This keeps everything very self contained and will work well with kids. Done this myself.
Great thanks. I did a Duck Tour many years ago when I was in high school and it was a lot of fun. But I should have mentioned, my kids are just 3 and 6 and we'll have a long day of travel (plane and some car) so sitting for a few hours for a Duck tour may not be ideal this time around.

My kids are typically well behaved dining out (may have just jinxed myself :) ) but wish they had some kid options on the menu - http://topofthehub.net/menu/. Will definitely consider it though

HereToLearn wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:55 am
How old are the children?

Have they read Make Way for Ducklings? You may want to read that with them before visiting the Public Garden. They may enjoy a ride on the swam boats.

Do you live near the water or would walking along the waterfront interest them? There is an inexpensive ferry from the harbor to Charlestown. No tour, as it is a mass transit option, but could be fun on a nice summer day.

http://www.celebrateboston.com/mbta/cha ... -ferry.htm
http://www.celebrateboston.com/mbta/cha ... -ferry.htm
They're 3 and 6. I think they'd really like walking along the water and the ferry. Oh, I should mention that we'll also have a rental car so will need to park that someplace. Hopefully that's not a big problem and costs less than $20 / hour.

user542
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by user542 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:13 am

(My kids are 3 and 5).

Martin's Park(right near the Children's Museum) just opened. It's named in Honor of Martin Richard -- the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon Bombing. I've heard amazing things about the park and can't wait to bring my kiddos there.
https://www.boston.gov/departments/park ... rtins-park

Observation Deck. Do the Marriott Custom House. Tours are only at 2pm and donations go to charity. Follow these directions. https://www.reddit.com/r/boston/comment ... _floor_of/

Depending how you're arriving and how squirmy they are to play -- a Duck Boat ride, with the associated time sitting in traffic might not be what you want to do. My kids got a little squirmy when my eldest was 3.

There's also a nice playground on the Esplanade near the Hatch Shell. https://www.bostoncentral.com/activitie ... /p2270.php

If they are baseball nuts -- a Fenway Park tour could also be an option.

Bicycle Tour: I'm a daily bicyclist in Boston. This tour is almost all on paths and off streets and a really nice overview with great scenery. There a few short street sections. Biking is a great way to see the city. https://www.urbanadventours.com/tours/tour-de-boston/

HereToLearn
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by HereToLearn » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:24 am

Driving and parking in Boston is a hassle. Someone who lives locally may have better advice, but if you don't receive a better suggestion, this will be convenient if you want to see the ducks and ride the swan boats.

https://www.massconvention.com/about-us ... mon-garage

Hopefully you will have a double stroller with you, assuming you want to venture from the Public Gardens down to the waterfront to get on the ferry to Charlestown.

User542--I never knew there was a tour at the Marriott Custom House. I stayed in that hotel years ago and I vaguely recall this cool space upstairs near the clock tower.

MastersChampion--We arranged a tour of the MIT Media Lab for my Scratch-obsessed children many years ago. Very exciting for them, but probably not for most children! I did not see the Infinite Corridor until years later during college tours.

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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by MarkerFM » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:48 pm

The New England Aquarium is great for kids those ages, but it isn't outside. If you are set on being outside, then the public garden (ducklings as someone else mentioned) and the swan boats would be good choices.

meens888
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by meens888 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:53 pm

We live in Boston and we would suggest doing part of the Freedom Trail (which can include Boston Common and Public Garden). The adults can buy a 1 day MBTA ticket and use that to go onto the ferry from the wharf (near the New England Aquarium) to the USS Constitution. That way they get a relatively inexpensive boat ride and get to see part of history.

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lthenderson
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by lthenderson » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:55 pm

Google the Freedom Trail. You won't have enough time to walk it but you can catch a subway ride close to over a dozen of historical sites along it that might be fun to tour. The U.S.S. Constitution might be a good stop for kids that age or hiking to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument.

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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:06 pm

3 and 6......Take a taxi from the airport to the Childrens Museum. Take a taxi back to the airport. Massport (runs the airport) hates ride shares which now require half hour walks to/from the designated ride share area. Taxis will be faster and can come right to the terminal.

For the time you're talking, a car will be difficult. If you do decide to go to the common/public garden, you can park below the common. It'll cost you about $30 something. I can't think of much right near the common for kids. Going down to the Pru is going to cost you another $30 to park. You won't find a parking spot unless it's Sunday. Again...if you do a taxi, it would be easy and cheaper.
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ThankYouJack
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by ThankYouJack » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:17 pm

Thanks all. Great advice and lots to do. I think we'll just park at the Boston Commons, check out the ducklings / swan boat, walk around, maybe take the subway or a taxi if we have time for something else.

HomeStretch
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:33 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:17 pm
Thanks all. Great advice and lots to do. I think we'll just park at the Boston Commons, check out the ducklings / swan boat, walk around, maybe take the subway or a taxi if we have time for something else.
Great plan. You can also bring a blanket and enjoy a snack or pizza on the Commons.

bluebolt
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by bluebolt » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:25 pm

One option is:

Aquarium
Rose Kennedy Greenway and/or Christopher Columbus Park
Walk in the North End. Get some lunch (Pizzeria Regina or a million other options) and/or pastries (Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry are the two best known places).
You can finish up at Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market

All of these things are in pretty close proximity. The whole loop above is 1.2 miles according to Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/New+Eng ... 602503!3e2

Thegame14
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:11 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:42 am
We're doing a family trip to New England and will have 3-4 hours to kill in Boston. We'd like to do something outside and explore a bit. I'm thinking walk around Boston commons, possibly along the river. Are there any playgrounds or things the kids would really like? Can we go to the top of any of the sky scrapers?

EDIT: I should have mentioned my kids are only 3 and 6 and will be traveling a lot that day (sitting) so I think we'll wait on a Duck tour.
Duck tours lost their insurance and aren't able to operate any more. Unless there is some exception

https://www.barnstablepatriot.com/news/ ... ate-august

Slapshot
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by Slapshot » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:32 pm

I'll second Martin's Park for kids that age. We saw it for the first time last week, and it was awesome. If you can get there, head to Castle Island in Southie. Buy lunch at Sullivan's and go out behind the fort for a picnic. You'll be right on the harbor and can watch myriad boats, ferries, tankers plus the planes at Logan across the harbor taking off and landing.
This time, like all times, is the best of times if we but know what to do with it.

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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by bluebolt » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:43 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:11 pm
ThankYouJack wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:42 am
We're doing a family trip to New England and will have 3-4 hours to kill in Boston. We'd like to do something outside and explore a bit. I'm thinking walk around Boston commons, possibly along the river. Are there any playgrounds or things the kids would really like? Can we go to the top of any of the sky scrapers?

EDIT: I should have mentioned my kids are only 3 and 6 and will be traveling a lot that day (sitting) so I think we'll wait on a Duck tour.
Duck tours lost their insurance and aren't able to operate any more. Unless there is some exception

https://www.barnstablepatriot.com/news/ ... ate-august
That link is for Cape Cod Duck Tours. Boston Duck Tours appear to still be running:
https://www.bostonducktours.com/

Hulu
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by Hulu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:53 pm

Duck tours, swan boats, ferry Faneuil Hall if nice outside. Boston Children’s Museum or Boston Aquarium if raining/hot

RollTide31457
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Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Post by RollTide31457 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:41 am

Avoid Legal Seafood.

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