As American expats in the Scottish school system, my kids learn virtually nada about American history. This summer back in the U.S., I wanted to make American history come alive and take my 10-year-old around to important historical sites. There will be no summer slip, as they call the school gap. Visiting the sites of the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere and the Boston Massacre, as well as other attractions, figured into my history lesson planning.
The Boston Waterfront area is a perfect place to base an educational and entertaining tour of Boston. Directly right in front of the InterContinental Boston hotel on the Waterfront sat marvelous views of the Boston Tea Party ships. Plus, the deluxe double room with the adjoining superior suite were spacious enough to host an impromptu hide-and-seek game for the kids. And when the kids got tired of the outside attractions, they get to kick back in the hotel pool. There, they have family movie nights where kids can swim and play in the pool while watching films. If only we could do that at home to stave off the TV zombies. What's more for a poolside snack, the hotel offers healthy fruit popsicles by the pool every afternoon.
1. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum - Aboard the two replicas of the Boston Tea Party ships, my kids got to throw crates of fake tea overboard and watch them splash into the water. They loved role-playing the act of rebellion ... with authorization! Plus, the American history lesson is now engrained in my 10-year-old's memory. Directly in front of the hotel was museum so it was literally a two-minute walk from the waterfront exit, not a hard excursion especially for my 5-year-old. Go to Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
2. Boston Children's Museum - Across the waterway sat the incredible Boston Children's Museum. The centerpiece is a giant climbing frame built with platforms like masts, a nod to Boston's vital shipping history which was one reason it was important to the American Revolution. My children tested their physical abilities by launching tennis balls four floors into the air by pulling on a rope, making them feel like they have superhero abilities. Go to Boston Children's Museum.
3. Boston Duck Tours - "Driving the Boston Duck Boat was truly spectacular because I never get to drive boats," said my 10-year-old. Part of the tour was letting passengers, including my 5-year-old, take the steering wheel and maneuvering the Duck Boat under bridges and through canal ways. Never mind I would never let my kids take the wheel of my car but I guess the wider waterways were better than a road. Go to Boston Duck Tours.
The real driver also drove past the scene of the Boston Massacre, where all of seven patriots were killed, at the Old State House. He also joked about other historical points, like Paul Revere and Bunker Hill, so my kids remembered the lessons without thinking they were being drilled in a classroom.
4. Water Taxi - Taking a water taxi is a unique way to get around all the wonderful waterside attractions like the Boston Tea Ship and Boston Children's Museum. You get a sense of the seafaring city and why Boston was an important port to the Americans and the British. Kids' fare was only $2 and you can stop at 14 other stops around the water including restaurants and museums. It can actually be cheaper than a taxi and you don't get stuck in a polluted tunnel. And it beats Boston road traffic! Go to Boston Water Taxi.
5. New England Aquarium - Only a three blocks from the hotel was the aquarium with sharks, turtles and seals. Kids can pet starfish, stingrays and anemones as if they were their newest pets. Just beyond the Aquarium is the North End, where the famous Paul Revere statue sits in front of the Old North Church where the candlelit warnings were sent - "One if by land and two if by sea." Go to New England Aquarium.