May 2016 Update: This post was written in 2015 and most of the information still remains the same. Just in case, though, be sure to check their website for the latest destination details. Also, the hours and ticket prices have been updated in the Momsense section below with the 2016 season information.
Before I get to today’s post, I have a little something to share. Well, actually this “something” isn’t really very little, it’s kind of a big thing for us. A definite milestone in our blogging journey – – our Blog-a-versary!
Our first post was published on August 16, 2011 (boy was I nervous to hit the “publish” button for that one!) and four years later we are still getting a chance to share our family-friendly adventures with you, our awesome OAAM Readers!
Like we’ve done in the past, we want to take this time to share some blog updates with you, sum up our favorite outings for the year, and just spend a few moments thanking all of you for your continued support. But before we make our way down memory lane, Shawna and I are going to take the next two weeks off from blogging and focus on our little munchkins as they will be heading off to school (some for the first time — gulp!). After today’s post, you won’t see any posts from us over the next two weeks but then we will be back (hopefully refreshed) and ready to reminisce and continue sharing some great outing ideas. Enjoy today’s post and we will be back on September 1st!
So this week’s post is actually in celebration of another milestone which occurred in our house this month, someone celebrated a birthday and turned 3 years old (excuse me while I crrrryyyyy!) . . .
Sweetheart will always be my baby, but this girl is growing up. She is a little mini-adult with a mind of her own (and a fashion style all her own as well!) She has a lot to say and tries her best to keep up with her older siblings. The time is here for me to acknowledge that she is heading to pre-school in just a few weeks and won’t be quite so dependent on me anymore (sniff sniff). Turning three was a HUGE moment for our Sweetheart and we couldn’t wait to celebrate!
For her actual birthday, we decided it would be fun to go on a little family adventure. My husband and I brainstormed quite a few ideas, but I kept coming back to one of my favorite places to visit, Boston. Plus, the last time we visited we spent some time in Boston’s Public Garden and I really wanted to make a return trip to try out the Swan Boats located there.
And on top of that, I knew Sweetheart would be 100% down with my birthday destination suggestion because one of her favorite books to check out of the library is the perfect book for a Boston adventure, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. If you haven’t read this book with your little one(s) (and you definitely should) it is all about a duck family who takes up residence in the Boston Public Garden. Once I told Sweetheart that we were going to ride the boats featured in one of her favorite books, she was immediately on board. Plus, if swans floats are all of the rage this summer, swan boats must be the next coolest thing, right?
So if you’re looking for a quick family day-trip before all of the older kids head back to school, this might be the one for you!
Now I will just preface this whole post by saying I’m in no way an expert on visiting Boston. I’ve been quite a few times over the years, but I don’t do a ton of research before I go and we usually park and start exploring without much of a plan. That’s how we roll.
This trip was very similar. I knew that we wanted to go on the Swan Boats, but I was game for anything after that (sometimes those can be the best types of adventures, right?) So this post is pretty much that. It kicks off with our Swan Boat experience and then continues with all of the other mini-adventures we took throughout the day. I hope you enjoy reading about our day and I would LOVE to hear about any city insights or destination suggestions you have for our next trip!
We decided to park in the garage located right below Boston Common (the park located right next to our ultimate destination, the Public Garden). And, yes, you read that right, there is a parking deck below this huge park. I doubt the Boston Common Garage is the most cost effective parking destination (we paid $28 to park there for our weekday visit), but it is certainly convenient. Plus, it is pretty cool to park in a deck and then exit from one of the buildings shown below, which are located throughout the park.
But before I get to that piece, here is a quick overview of all of the activities we ended up doing in the area. The Swan Boats were followed by lunch at Parish Cafe, a sweet treat at Georgetown Cupcake, a ride on the carousel, cooling off at the Frog Pond, and ultimately burning off some energy at the playground located nearby.
We made our way through the beautiful Public Garden in search of the famous Swan Boats.
As we walked over the historic bridge (apparently considered the world’s smallest suspension bridge) the kids immediately saw the Swan Boats passing by.
And they found the most famous animals in this park, the ducks of course!
We made our way to the Swan Boat loading area and I noticed this sign stating that the boats have been in operation since 1877. That sounds to me like a well-established business!
The boats operate from April to September each year with this year’s season ending on September 20th (so go soon!) The schedule changes by season, so be sure to check their site before you go. The great thing about this as a family-friendly outing is that it is a relatively inexpensive opportunity for family fun. Adults pay $3.50 to ride and children pay just $2.00. Plus children under the age of 2 are free. Cash only for this outing so come prepared.
The line for the boats wraps around the dock area. While at one point the line looked pretty long, everything moved very quickly. The boats can hold up to 20 people at a time and the operation is every efficient so it was only a few minutes before we were at the front of the line and ready to board the boat. While we took a ride, we did make use of the stroller parking area (as seen below).
While we waited for our ride, I snapped a few pictures of the kids.
I thought this was a sweet one of the girls.
But what is Bruiser doing in this pic? Seriously, I think he somehow got his hands on a KISS video because this is his new picture pose (oh just wait). Not sure how to stop this, but it is creating some pretty entertaining pictures at the moment!
Everyone gets in on the action.
Excitement builds as our boat starts pulling up to the dock.
We get on board and the crew gives us a push off of the dock.
There are no motors on these boats as they are powered by a crew member who basically pedals the boat around the lagoon. Now that’s a workout.
The boat moves VERY slowly (apparently just 2 miles per hour) and the lagoon is not deep, so I would feel comfortable on the boat with kids of a variety of ages. All the boats make their way around the lagoon in a constant pattern. Around the lower area of the park where you can see a beautiful view of Boston.
Then around the duck island made famous by the Make Way for Ducklings book.
Someone is rather excited about that little island!
Plus she got to see a real-life swan as well!
The ride lasted less than 15 minutes and was so much fun for all of us. And when we were done, a kind person offered to take a picture of my family. Of course, the KISS pose made it in this picture as well.
After our boat ride, everyone was famished and we decided it was time for lunch. I found information on a well-known restaurant located nearby that seemed like it might work for our crew. Parish Cafe was located on Boylston Street and offered a large sandwich menu (among other items). Each sandwich on their menu was created by a well-known local Boston chef. All I can say is that I had an absolutely delicious (and gigantic) chicken sandwich. While the restaurant does not offer a separate kids menu, they had plenty of food options to make my kids happy. I ordered for them a huge bowl of macaroni and cheese along with homemade meatballs. The restaurant offered seating both inside and outside but you had to choose as they had separate waiting lists for each area. We ended up eating inside which worked out well.
After lunch, it was time for a birthday treat at nearby Georgetown Cupcake (located on Newbury Street). So much deliciousness to choose from! Apparently the line for this place can get pretty long but we only waited about 5 minutes on the day we visited.
After eating, we made our way back to the park area and over to Boston Common for a ride on the carousel. The cost was $3 per child and the kids had so much fun!
And our next stop had to be the Frog Pond, located right next to the carousel. I was ill-prepared for this stop on our adventure as I hadn’t brought bathing suits for my kids. They were perfectly happy, though, just getting a chance to wade through the water a little bit. Lifeguards were on duty at the pond and keeping an eye on all of the visitors. The Frog Pond Cafe and restrooms were also located in this area.
And then right next to Frog Pond was our final stop in the area, the Tadpole Playground. Finally my husband and I had a chance to sit down for a few minutes while the kids enjoyed playing. It was a great spot to finish our tour of the area.
So that’s it — a roundup of our day trip to Boston in celebration of Sweetheart turning the big 3. It was a fun day hanging out with these little monkeys and finally getting a chance to check the Boston Swan Boats off my personal bucket list.
Now it is your turn. Where are your favorite places to visit in Boston? Tell us by leaving a comment below!
Located in the Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
Get directions here.
- For the 2016 season, the boats run every day from April 16th to September 18th.
- Spring Hours: April to June 20th from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Summer Hours: June 21st to Labor Day from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- After Labor Day: 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekends
- Adults: $3.50
- Children ages 2 – 15: $2
- Children under 2: FREE
- Seniors: $3.00
- Cash Only
- Stroller Friendly: YES. Strollers cannot be brought onto the boats, but they are welcome in the park and there is stroller parking available right next to the boat dock.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES. At least I think so. I didn’t see any information saying that you couldn’t have food or drinks on board.
- Restroom: NO. At least there aren’t any in the Public Garden but there were restrooms at the nearby Boston Common.
- Baby Changing Station: NO.
- Parking: YES. The nearest parking area is the Boston Common Garage located underneath Boston Common.
- Food for Sale: YES. There are food vendors located in the area and plenty of restaurants located on the surrounding streets. On the day we visited we had lunch at Parish Cafe (Boylston Street) and a treat at Georgetown Cupcake (Newbury Street).
- Outside Food Allowed: YES.
- Cash Required: YES. Tickets can be purchased with cash only.
- Dress Code: NO.
- Age Recommendations: All ages.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
- Discounts: None that I know of.
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds, and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs, and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
- Musculoskeletal Health Centers – Located in Simsbury, CT, MSH Centers specializes in general chiropractic medicine with a focus on pediatric and prenatal chiropractic care. This fall, they will also offer the first all-inclusive fitness center in Connecticut with personal training memberships starting at just $29.99/month for one session/week.
Interested in advertising opportunities with Out and About Mom? Get more info here.
And NEW SPECIAL PROMOTION for the month of September – – a 50% discount on large and small ads!
Want to keep up with things to do with kids in Connecticut?
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