Inspire your kids to learn about American history with our guide to the best Boston historical sites and tours for families. Boston is filled with so much history that it becomes part of the scenery, and even a simple walking tour can expose you to some amazing sites that played an important role in our country! Whether you're a born-and-bred Bostonian or visiting the area, exploring Boston's history can be an excellent way to spend a day together as a family. Here are our picks for the top Boston historical sites to experience with your kids.
Amanda Banta: Battleship Cove combines history with an exciting hands-on museum experience for families. The complex is home to five vessels that are National Historic Landmarks, including the USS Massachusetts, built in and launched from Quincy in 1941. There are exhibits on board the ships as well as in the Maritime Museum, which celebrates Fall River's maritime history. Also within the complex is a restored antique wooden carousel dating back to 1919.
Amanda Banta: The SkyWalk Observatory not only offers a gorgeous 360-degree view of the Boston skyline but it also features a museum showcasing the city's history. The interactive Dreams of Freedom of Museum teaches visitors how immigration played a part in molding Boston into the city it is today. The exhibits were designed within the Massachusetts school curriculum standards and are appropriate for school-aged children.
Cost: $20/adult, $14/child (3-12), Free for kids under 3
Boston Duck Tours
Amanda Banta: If you've spent any time in the more popular destination spots of Boston then you definitely have seen or heard a Duck Tour drive by. The tours are driven in World War II vehicles that can travel on land and in water, by personable and energetic conductors and passengers often can be heard quacking as they pass by.
After the tour passes by Boston Common, Beacon Hill, the State House and other favorite sights, the conductor will drive the truck straight into the Charles River and gives passengers the best views of the Boston skyline.
Cost: $10.50 - $41.99. All passengers must buy a ticket.
The Freedom Trail
Amanda Banta: The red line of the Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile path that connects historical sites critical to Boston's role in the American Revolution. Spots on the trail include Paul Revere's house, the Massachusetts State House and Boston Common. Take a paid guided tour or walk the trail at your own pace.
Old State House
Amanda Banta: The Old State House is one of my favorite buildings in Boston. It's old, ornate and still standing after hundreds of years of change in town. Its brick facade stands out against the more modern looks of the towers that have gone up around it and reminds passerbys that Boston truly is full of history.
Like many sites in Boston, the Old State House played a critical role in the Revolution and families will learn about that as they tour the building and view artifacts from a period of significant change in our country.
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Amanda Banta: Families can learn the history of the Boston Tea Party at this unique museum experience. Attend a colonial town meeting, learn about the colonists' lives and board a full-scale replica 18th century ship to dump the tea overboard.
Amanda Banta: Families can explore the historical warship affectionately known at Old Ironsides in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Crew members of the USS Constitution will be on hand to present the ship's history. While at the Navy Yard, families also can check out the USS Constitution Museum, which operates separately from the ship.
Paul Revere House
Amanda Banta: There is much more to Paul Revere than his midnight ride to Lexington during the American Revolution and families can explore more behind the life and legacy of Boston's famous silversmith. Revere's house in the North End is a stop on the Freedom Trail, and is downtown Boston's oldest building.
Old Town Trolley Tours
Amanda Banta: The Old Town Trolley Tour takes sightseers to more than 100 destinations in Boston. Passengers can hop on and off the trolley all day to explore historical highlights like the North End, Fanueil Hall, Fenway Park, Harvard Square, to name just a few. Passengers will enjoy elevated seating in the enclosed trolleys, making the tour an option for sightseeing year-round. Old Town also operates the Ghosts & Gravestones tour as well as the Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum. Tickets can be purchased online for a discount compared to the retail price.
Cost: $19.90-$51.95/person, Free for children under 4
Bunker Hill Monument and Museum
Amanda Banta: Climb 294 stairs to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument to get a bird's eye view of the Boston skyline alongside your history fix. The granite structure, towering more than 200 feet high, is a tribute to one of the first battles of the American Revolution. If you aren't ready for that climb, you can enjoy the green area around the structure and explore the Bunker Hill museum across the street, which is an old branch of the Boston Public Library.
Amanda Banta: With both indoor and outdoor exhibits, Plimouth Plantation is a museum alive with New England and United State history. Tours and visits of Plimouth Plantation are available for the various sites under the plantation's umbrella, from the 17th Century English Village to the replica Mayflower II
stationed at the Plymouth waterfront area. Visitors will learn how the passengers traveled across the Atlantic and settled and lived in their new homeland.
Primary photo: Akhil Dakinedi on Unsplash
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