Costs add up when you’re traveling with kids, so do your wallet a favor and download a "Family Friendly ValuePass" (www.bostonusa.com/greatdeals). You can use it to snag discounts for more than 75 shops, eateries, tours, and attractions.
Follow the Redbrick Road
Wannabe time travelers will have a blast on the Freedom Trail. To make the most of the walk, have your kids sign up for the free NPS Junior Ranger program, which adds treasure hunts to the history lesson. Most trail takers go south to north, but the reverse works best for families: this allows you to start with Old Ironsides and the Bunker Hill Monument (star attractions in young eyes) and end in Boston Common (an ideal place to unwind after a long trek).
Enjoy Fowl Play
For the quintessential Boston experience, treat your family to a Swan Boat ride around the Public Garden lagoon. Afterward, check out the pair of real swans (Romeo and Juliet); then waddle over to the nearby Duckling sculpture to see Mrs. Mallard and the rest of the quacking clan from Robert McCloskey’s 1941 book, Make Way for Ducklings.
Established in 1913, the Boston Children’s Museum is one of the oldest facilities of its kind. Highlights include art studios, a full-size replica of Arthur the Aardvark’s cartoon realm, and a hands-on construction zone. Some kiddies, though, may not want to leave the multistory climbing structure that dominates the lobby.
No place does gizmos and gadgets like the Museum of Science, where almost everything is meant to be pushed, pulled, or otherwise maneuvered. Like its interactive displays, the live demos are over the top or hair-raising (think lightning bolts manufactured in an air-insulated Van de Graaff generator). The result is so entertaining children won’t believe it’s educational.
The New England Aquarium features endless exhibits, including touch tanks that give children a real feel for marine life. On top of the activities covered by the ticket price, there are in-the-water animal encounters and behind-the-scene tours for visitors willing to pay extra. The aquarium also organizes whale-watching trips to Stellwagen Bank, April to October.
Have a Ball
Small but mighty Fenway, the oldest Major League Baseball ballpark, is a pilgrimage site for baseball fans of all ages, and daily 50-minute tours provide the ultimate insider’s view. You’ll get a first-hand look at the press box, Pesky’s Pole, and (schedule permitting) the Green Monster. This is as close as anyone gets to the fabled field without being drafted into the MLB.
Tour the Town
Want your little people to get the big picture? Boston By Foot (617/367–2345 www.bostonbyfoot.org) has guided walks aimed at the 6-to-12-year-old crowd. Old Town Trolley (888/910–8687 www.trolleytours.com) offers hop-on, hop-off tours for anyone who would rather ride than walk; and Boston Duck Tours operates fun amphibious vehicles (617/267–3825 www.bostonducktours.com).
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