Yes, Boston is full of history -- but it’s also full of fun. Families who visit won’t just find historic cobblestone streets, they’ll also find loads of attractions just right for families of all ages. Both indoors and outdoors, from museums to parks to interactive adventures, Boston is a great family destination.
Swan Boats and the Boston Public Garden
It's a quintessential Boston experience: a visit to the Boston Public Garden and a ride on the Swan Boats. Made famous in the classic children's book, Make Way for Ducklings, the Public Garden is a well-manicured horticultural experience for the whole family in the middle of Boston. Enter the gates and make your way to the middle of the park to take family photos on the bridge over the pond. Then take a 15-minute Swan Boat ride (pedal powered!) and see a different view of the garden. Before you leave, visit the duckling statues (inspired by the book), and your Boston Public Garden Experience will be complete.
Location: Boston Public Garden
Rates: Garden is free. Swan Boats: Adults $3, kids $2
Boston Children's Museum
Close to the waterfront in the Fort Point Channel area of Boston is one of the premier children's museums in the country: the Boston Children's Museum. It's four floors of activity, wonder and inspiration for kids -- and the grownups who love them. From exhibits with a regional focus, to science, construction and spaces that introduce foreign cultures and experiences, the Boston Children's Museum has something for everyone. In the summer months, save time to sit and have an ice cream at the Hood Milk Bottle ice cream stand out front and enjoy the scenery of the Boston waterfront.
Location: 308 Congress St., Boston, Massachusetts
A fun way to learn about Boston's past and present, and to have a lot of fun doing it, is to take a Duck Tour. Start out at one of three locations on one of two dozen (plus) amphibious trucks and let your conDUCKtor lead you through known and not so well known facts about Beantown. Wrap up your tour with a water tour of the Charles River. Laughs are guaranteed. You might even get to drive!
Location: Tours depart from Museum of Science, Prudential Center and New England Aquarium (seasonal)
Rates: Adults $33, kids $22
Fenway Park Tour
Fenway Park is one of the oldest and most loved ballparks in the country, and it's home to the Boston Red Sox. Tucked into Back Bay amid universities and urban activity, Fenway Park is a loved neighbor -- and it's open for tours on non-game days. Learn about the history of the park and the Boston Red Sox, from Pesky Pole to the Green Monster, Ted Williams to Carl Yaztremski. Walk through the club levels, see memorabilia and acquire a few new pieces of baseball trivia. It's baseball up close and personal, and a tour your kids won't soon forget.
Location: 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, Massachusetts
Rates: Adults $16, kids $12
A bit outside of the city is one of those attractions that's worth the trip: 5 Wits is hard to describe but spectacular to experience. If you and your family like adventure movies, 5 Wits is for you. An interactive indoor adventure in two intriguing themes that are tweaked and adjusted regularly (so no two adventures are ever the same), you'll learn a little, solve a mystery or two and definitely have fun with the family. There are special effects, a chance for team work and surprises around every corner for the family looking to engage and bond with their slightly older children.
Location: Patriots Place, 202 Patriot Place, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Rates: Adults $18, kids 12 and under $14
Museum of Science
You didn't know science could be so much fun! The Museum of Science makes science and technology accessible and interactive (and often artful) in three floors of exhibits, activities and presentations. There's something for all ages, from a special play area for younger kids, to the giant Van De Graf generator that could really spark your scientific imagination, to an IMAX theater and recently renovated planetarium. Give yourself the better part of the day to explore -- you won't be disappointed!
Location: 1 Science Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Rates: Adults $22, kids $19
New England Aquarium Whale Watching
From spring through fall, giant cetaceans feed in and around Georges Bank -- which just happens to be off the coast of Massachusetts. What better way to see these giants in their natural habitat than with a naturalist from the New England Aquarium. Bring a windbreaker, sunscreen and a fully charged camera with a memory card. With luck, you won't just see some whales cruising along -- you'll see them feeding, breeching and diving. The aquarium staff is a terrific resource for whale facts. You're sure to come away with a new respect for these amazing mammals.
Location: Central Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts
Rates: Adults $45, kids $35
Image by Rick Harris from Canada (Boston Public Gardens Panorama) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons