Introducing a new city to kids through a story book is a great way to encourage their love for traveling. Make Way for Ducklings is a beautifully illustrated story especially suited for kids under the age of five. It tells the story of a ducking family as they navigate their home city of Boston. We used the book as a guide to help our kids plan our Boston itinerary. Read on to learn how to visit Boston with kids.
Cool Things to Do in Boston with Kids
Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It’s also a must-see for those visiting our east coast. Boston can be less daunting than a larger city, such as New York City. It has a more European feel with a city square and cobblestoned streets.
Having visited Boston with our son since he was a baby, we have figured out some tips to make it a memorable visit. We like to use the children’s book Make Way for Ducklings as a guide. It’s helped us have several memorable trips to Beantown with little ones.
Make Your Own Make Way for Ducklings Tour
If you don’t already have the book Make Way for Ducklings, I highly recommend getting it and reading it to your child before your trip to Boston. We started reading the story when my son was two. After he turned three, he became really interested in the story and all the Boston landmarks detailed in it. The illustrations in the book help kids get familiar with the sights.
Boston Public Garden
We followed the trail of the Mallard family in the book as we walked through the Boston Public Garden. The Garden was the duck family’s initial settlement in Boston.
The Swan Boats are a fun ride. The tranquil lagoon provides a spectacular view of the garden with the city skyline in the backdrop. I was surprised that it only cost $2 per person. The kids can get a good look at the little island now known as the Duck Island. It’s where the ducklings met up with their dad at the end of the book.
The garden has a the world’s smallest suspension foot bridge, rows of flowers, plantings and weeping willows, which surrounding the lagoon. They make a great setting for photos.
The Make Way For Ducklings sculpture will be the highlight of this visit as the kids will love to see the characters come to life. Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings are immortalized in life-sized bronze.
After exploring the Public Garden, you can cross the street to another park the Boston Common. The Common is known to be the oldest park in the United States. It’s about twice the size of the Public Garden.
Beacon Hill and Louisburg Square
Walking around the historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill with rows of townhouses and brick streets is idyllic. The Massachusetts State House is in a prominent location at the top of the hill. Though we had not heard of Louisburg Square until reading about it in the book, we were glad to discover this private city square with a beautifully landscaped garden.
This is the one of the most well-known streets in Boston. About a mile long, it is lined with renovated historic 19th-century brownstone buildings that contain a great mix of eclectic and high end shops.
We love taking our time to stroll through the streets as well as grab coffee or snacks from brand name (Georgetown Cupcakes) or local stores (Wired Puppy and Thinking Cup). Sonsie Boston is one of our favorite brunch spots for gourmet favorites like coconut pineapple french toast.
Charles River Esplanade
This is a tree-lined park edging the Boston side of the Charles River. It stretches between the Museum of Science and the Boston University Bridge. You can enter the esplanade from several points through an overhead walkway crossing the busy Storrow Drive parkway.
In the book, this is along the spot where Mr. and Mrs. Mallard settle down to hatch the ducklings. It is also well known as the spot of the famous Boston Pops concert on fourth of July.
It’s an ideal place to go for a walk or settle down on the benches and watch sailboats drift by.
Visit Boston Children’s Museum
If you’re looking for an indoor activity, Boston Children’s Museum wins hands down. The cost is about $15 per person and it was totally worth the price if you plan to spend at least three hours. The museum has three floors and several attractions are available in each of them. Each floor had something to offer to both our kids aged 4.5 years and 1.5 years so it was easy to keep them together. The bubble station and water play areas were our favorites so I was glad to have brought them a change of clothes.
There was a play area for kids three years and younger which was a great space for my little one to engage in independent play. The kindergarten section was geared towards older kids with books, crafts and volunteers keen to occupy them while parents could sit in the benches and catch a break.
Make sure to check out the museum schedule for its live theater shows which go on during the day so you can get seating reserved in advance.