Our recent trip to Boston was a reminder that “plans are worthless, but planning is everything,” well that or “no plan survives first contact!” We arrived at 10:30pm which I thought would be perfect since we were on West Coast time so it would be bedtime for the kids. I pictured arriving, tucking them in, and, well, essentially a seamless adjustment to the time change. Of course, somehow I forgot to factor in the time it would take to get the luggage, rent the car, find the hotel, check in, and get something to eat. By the time everything was said and done it was almost 1:00 am and everyone was exhausted.
I also had visions of getting up early and seeing the sights before we continued on our trip, but again there’s that time change thing so while the boys woke up at their normal time of 6:00 am, that meant it was already 9:00 am in Boston and we still needed to get dressed, eat, and check out of the hotel. Not exactly an early start. But, we were close to our first stop, so we grabbed breakfast and headed over to the New England Aquarium.
As you walk up to the aquarium, there’s a huge tank with Atlantic Harbor Seals, just like André in André The Famous Harbor Seal. I don’t know if this is the same tank that André stayed in when he wintered in Boston, but he did stay at this aquarium. When you walk into the Aquarium, the first thing you see is the penguin exhibit and this huge four story column rising in the middle filled with other ocean creatures including a Caribbean coral reef, sea turtles, sharks, barracuda, file fish, cowfish and lots of other tropical fish. Also on the main floor is a shark and sting ray touch tank. Here’s a picture of my two year old trying to touch one of the sting rays. I’m sure if we’d given him the chance he would have jumped right in. You could easily spend the entire day at the aquarium. There are exhibits all the way around the four story coral reef, a second touch tank called the Edge of the Sea, where you can touch animals frequently found in tidal pools such as starfish, anemones and hermit crabs, an Amazon exhibit, seadragons, and outdoor seal and sea lion shows to name a few.
After lunch, I had planned on taking one of the many tours of Boston. There are tours for everyone: land tours, sea tours, land and sea tours, ghost tours, historic tours, walking tours, harbor tours, whale watching tours, take your pick. But, the boys had no interest. They didn’t want to go on a boat; they wanted to go to a park. So off we headed to Boston Common where they chased the pigeons and had a wonderful time.
While running around Boston Common, we came across the plaque for Fox Hill. Fox Hill was fortified by the British during the Revolutionary War, just like in Sleds on Boston Common. The site is remembered as the departure point for the British troops when they proceeded to Lexington and Concord on April 18, 1775, the first military engagements of the Revolutionary war.
Next to Boston Common is the Boston Public Gardens. The Public Gardens were established in 1837, almost two hundred years after Boston Common as the first public botanical garden in the U.S. While they are much more formal than Boston Common, on the lagoon you can still ride the Swanboats which Mr. Mallard found so rude for not responding to his greetings in Make Way for Ducklings.
We had a great day in Boston, and it was an important lesson for me in not overplanning!