Boston is famously known as “Bean Town”, but perhaps it’s time for a new nickname for the city. If New York City is “The Big Apple”, shouldn’t Boston be “The Second Banana”, considering it is always overshadowed by the metropolis to its south? While Boston might be often overlooked because of NYC , it shouldn’t be when planning a fun vacation with the family. Here are five family-friendly things to do in “The Second Banana”:
If your kids are anything like mine, then one of the first things you do while visiting a new city is to make a bee-line (no pun intended) to the local zoo or aquarium. And, in the words of a true Bostonian, Boston has a “wicked awesome” spot to check out animals – the New England Aquarium. The aquarium, which opened in 1969, pulls in over a million visitors every year, and is located fittingly right down by the ocean at Central Wharf. Some of the creatures visitors can examine are sharks, whales, octopus and even penguins. But the real crown jewel of the aquarium is its Giant Ocean Tank, which is a four-story coral reef exhibit smack dab in the middle of the complex that will thrill parents and kids alike.
2) Fenway Park
Another area where New York grabs the attention from Boston is in the sports pages. However, New York’s teams have got nothing on Boston’s in terms of success as of late – all of Boston’s four major sports teams have won championships in recent years. But in this “City of Champions”, the most beloved team of all is of course the Boston Red Sox. A big part of this is due to the venerable home of the Sox, Fenway Park, which is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use (it opened in 1912). Fenway Park is so old, Babe Ruth used to play there when he was a pitcher, before he turned into a colossal home run hitter for the rival Yankees. While tickets to a game can be hard to come by (and expensive), a much cheaper option is taking the family on a tour of the stadium ($12 for adults, $10 for kids 15 and under) for a taste of the game’s history.
Boston’s answer to New York’s Central Park is Boston Common, which also holds the distinction of being the country’s oldest park. Since its birth in 1634, the park has been the site of numerous historically significant events, including housing 1000 Redcoats during the days of the Britain’s occupation, and hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. speech. It’s also a great spot to grab some takeout food and take the family for a picnic and let the kids swim in Frog Pond.
While convincing kids of any age to go sightseeing with their parents in a new city can be a difficult task, Boston has a sure-fire cure for that – its Duck Tours. Borrowing a page from World War II, the tours use a DUKW Amphibious Vehicle, which allows the guides to take sightseers on both land and water to check out the sights of Boston. Driving a car into the ocean is sure to thrill the kiddies.
Located a short drive from Boston is the world famous Cape Cod. While there is plenty to do in The Cape, including fishing, sightseeing, swimming, chilling on the beach, boating and festivals, it is also a great spot to go whale watching. And the best part is most boat companies in the area guarantee its customers that they will see some whales, whether it be humpback whales, Right whales or any of the various other types that call the area home.