Sunday, August 21, 2011

Make Way For Ducklings

Poor Josie.  Sometime around mid-summer, I realized that all the activities that I was planning to do with my kids, were things that we had never done before.  As I was organizing activities that would keep the older two children entertained, I was neglecting my youngest child.  Not that Josie isn't up for most activities that the older kids enjoy - she is.  It's just that there are so many fun things that I used to do with Henry and Georgia when they were six years old, that I've never done with Josie.  I decided to remedy this problem right away and I decided to start with the Swan Boats in the Boston Public Gardens.  

For those of you unfamiliar with the famous children's book Make Way For Ducklings, the Swan Boats are a major Boston attraction for both tourists and native Bostonians.  The story goes that Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are looking for a nice place by the water to lay their eggs/ raise a family of ducklings and they settle by the shores of the Charles River in Boston.  Once the ducklings are old enough for the journey, Mrs. Mallard walks all eight of them through Beacon Hill and with the aid of the friendly Boston Police Squad, make their way across Charles Street and into the Public Gardens where they meet Mr. Mallard and spend the rest of their days enjoying meals of peanuts thrown to them by the tourists riding the Swan Boats.  It's a fabulous, classic children's book and you should read it right away.

Gordy and I took Henry and Georgia (and perhaps a tiny infant Josie) to ride The Swan Boats when they were younger, but the Older and More Mature Josie had never had the pleasure.  Henry and Georgia agreed that this was a serious problem and we journeyed into Boston at our first opportunity.

Riding the Swan Boats is a very simple activity.  There is never a long line for the Swan Boats which is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

And while you wait for the next boat to arrive, the view of other boats gliding over the pond is very peaceful.

It is also fun to people watch, since after all, Boston is a city full of interesting people. 

Especially certain six year olds, who spend an hour putting together the perfect "Swan Boat Riding Outfit."  

We only had to wait 2 minutes for our boat to arrive and the staff (mostly college-aged city kids) has the entire production down to a science.

The view from the boat is beautiful and the ride is very tranquil.  My children enjoyed looking for ducks and turtles and guessing the depth of the water.

All four of us sat in one row with Henry and Georgia insisting on taking the ends.  Perhaps they thought there would be more excitement found in being closer to the water, but sadly, the Swan Boats move at a dignified, slow pace and will never be considered a thrill ride.

The boats themselves are propelled by an operator, who sits in the swan and peddles with all his/her might.  Summer jobs are hard to come by this year, and I'm sure that all these Swan Boat operators were thrilled to be:   a.  Employed b.  Outside, away from florescent lights and c.  Exercising.  

We saw Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, all eight duck offspring and myriad relations plus two adorable turtles and two real swans.

After the ride was over, we made our way to the edge of the Gardens to take our pictures by the brass statue of the Duckling family.  This is a perfect photo-op spot and you have to wait your turn as family after family of tourists take their Holiday Card photo on the ducks.  At last it was our turn and Josie, Henry and Georgia climbed on.   We have old pictures of young Henry and tiny Georgia in these very same spots and frankly, I was shocked that Henry and Georgia were willing to give it another go.

Josie got the spot of honor, sitting on Mrs. Mallard.

Georgia and Henry took up the duckling rear.

Henry eventually got off and used his phone to snap some photos of Josie, enjoying her moment.

The trip was so successful, that I'm going to have to think about other old-school activities.  Maybe it's time to re-visit the Aquarium and the Discovery Center.  We are running out of vacation days, so some of these trips will have to happen over school breaks.  Either that or we will have a very busy week!


Anonymous said...

Now I am scrambling to see what I can get done with my youngest this week! And of course get photographic evidence of it which I will then have to put into an album.....


Martha said...

ha! No pressure! I'm sure my children will like the albums when they are adults, but right now, I have to keep a tight grip on my camera to keep it from being grabbed and thrown over the boat. Posing for pictures is not a family fun activity!

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