Boston's nickname is certainly appealing to kids, but would Beantown prove to be as fun as its giggle inducing nom de plume?
For adult visitors, American history and a bar named Cheers are two of the best-known draws, but our mission was to explore Boston's Seaport area and seek out the best attractions for toddlers to teens.
For this story, we needed an expert at fun and our daughter Madison decided to step up and help me pen this travel piece from a kid's perspective. We set our sites on four harbour area attractions that held the most promise for keeping young minds engaged.
BOSTON CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
Kid says: The children's museum is a great place for kids. Some of the things are probably better for younger kids, such as the story-telling and the Construction Zone. Other things such as the rock-climbing wall on the 2nd level and the other magic carpet "thingy" near the admission booth are more for kids around my age (nine). I loved everything and my favourites were the climbing walls, the basketball court and also the pulley thing you lifted yourself up with. It was awesome!
Dad says: Agreed, it was pretty awesome and we've been to more than a few children's museums in our travels. This one is more than 90-years-old so they've learned a thing or two along the way about entertaining little ones. There are lots of friendly staff on hand all wearing green shirts in case you get separated from your off spring. The admission is reasonable and the museum is located in the scenic Children's Wharf area. There is no restaurant inside but there are several nearby places to chow down and a lunchroom at the museum can be used if you brought your own snacks.
BOSTON TEA PARTY SHIPS AND MUSEUM
Kid says: It is very educational and it was very fun to throw the tea off of the boat. They gave us a card and a feather. The card said who we were supposed to be. It was cool. Good for kids I think.
Dad says: It was educational and that's what worried me! But with an excellent cast of actors playing the parts of the tea-tossing tax revolters, we were all soon given historical identities and drawn into the re-enactment. Only the kids got to toss the tea into the harbour, but we grown-ups still enjoyed the tour of the replica ships and the ghostly portraits inside the museum that came alive and began debating each other. Our daughter said it reminded her of the spooky paintings that adorn Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter movies. This was the stop I was least interested in, but it turned out to be much more interesting than I had imagined.
NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM
Kid says: AWESOME!!! I think how they let people touch some of the sea creatures is awesome. I think the stingray tank was the best thing in there. I also loved touch a sea star in the touch tank. They had lots of animals and the jellyfish were cool. They also had cute penguins. I think it was the best part of the whole trip.
Dady says: It's pretty hard to go wrong with seals, stingrays and adorable penguins slipping and sliding around their enclosure. The three-storey-tall Giant Ocean Tank was perhaps the most amazing exhibit with its sharks, schools of tuna and giant sea turtles. But it was the colony of rockhopper and African penguins that really stole our hearts with their seemingly human-like displays of companionship. Unfortunately, a $17 million renovation has temporarily close the Giant Ocean tank and accommodating some of its inhabitants has pushed the penguins off-site until next summer. The aquarium remains open though with a lot of other great exhibits and they are offering a free IMAX 3D movie with every admission to compensate visitors for the inconvenience of the renovation work.
NEED TO KNOW
-- The Boston Children's Museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Fridays when it stays open to 9 p.m. Admission is $14 for kids and adults (children under 12 months get in free).
-- The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum tours cost $25 for adults, $22 for students or seniors and $15 for children. It's open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
-- The New England Aquarium is open Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 9 a.m . to 7 p.m. Adults pay $22.95, seniors $20.95 and children 3-11 are $15.95 (kids under three get in free).
The Intercontinental Boston is a bit pricey with deluxe rooms starting at $419 US, but it is situated right in the heart of the Seaport district and within walking distance to all attractions.