The great thing about living so close to the city is that there is so much to do nearby. With a little additional planning, even a simple trip can become a great adventure. Our trip the New England Aquarium began with a ride on the T. This to a 2 and 5 year old is the ultimate in transportation. They are very enthusiastic about everything from buying the ticket to waiting for the next train to come. They even do a little happy dance when they see it making its way down the tracks.
Boston is filled with more history than they can begin to comprehend but they still have fun running around. This spot was once under water. It was filled in to make way for growing city.
Inside the historic Fanieul Hall, we found very tastey chocolate chocolate chip cookies. They go very well with chocolate milk. This was long ago a thriving market place for shippers. It had fallen into disrepair until about two decades ago when a marketing genious got the idea to revamp it as a shopping mecca for tourists. It's become a vast collection of fast food vendors and kiosks filled with goods from around the world. It was once a hotspot for local goods and specialty shops, but they've moved out as rent went up. It's now surrounded by the likes of the Gap and other big chains. I will note for the knitters that it is sadly lacking a yarn shop. There is a great one in Boston - Windsor Buttons, just off the common. That would be a short hike for us addicts, but a major trek for the little ones who are not entertained by squeezing soft hanks of Malabrigio.
It's just a short jaunt from Fanieul Hall to the Aquarium. This area has changed dramatically since I moved here ten years ago. Then, an ugly highway tore through the city, cutting it off from the waterfront. The big dig changed all of that, putting the highway underground and reconnecting the city. It was a costly, inefficient project, but the results are fabulous. I'd like to personally thank you - since you paid for it with your federal tax dollars.
The Aquarium welcomes visitors with an outdoor Harbor Seal exhibit. The seals, native to this area, swim back and forth entertaining visitors and no doubt being entertained by them as well. Today we came just in time to see a training session. they mimic their handlers, nod yes or no and do some other very cute behaviors. As they run through the program, the handlers are looking them over to make sure they are healthy. The oldest one in the exhibit is 37.
The Aquarium features a round, giant ocean tank in the middle of the building containing two sharks, two large sea turtles and dozens of other types of fish from the bizarre to the beautiful.
Penguins live on the main floor at around the outisde of the tank. They amuse the crowd by "flying" through the water. There are Rock Hoppers, with their wild yellow feathers, Blue Penguins, that are quite tiny even when full grown and Donkey Penguins, so called for the bray-like noise they make.
The only reason I know what's there is because I used to go frequently before I had kids - I see virtually none of the exhibit now as I concentrate on just keeping track of my chidlren. My girls have been here many times, but every time is like the first. They dart off, usually in opposite directions. I spend most of my time screaming for one or the other who is suddenly out of eyesight. I've thought of putting them on leashes, like some people do - but I can envision the tangled mess that would create.
We opted to eat at the Aquarium's cafe. I hope to remember next time to bring our lunch. Food is not the Aquarium's forte. By a long shot. We bought more chocolate milk, most of which ended up on the table. No one cried over it, at least.
At the end of the day, we called for our Chariot, a giant white van driven by dad. Though the train can be fun - part of it was closed down and the only way to get home would have been by bus and the stop was more blocks away than a tired 2yo, or the mother who would have had to carry her, could handle. The happy dance for daddy was almost as enthusiastic as the one for the train.