Today we took the kids into Boston to visit the New England Aquarium. They laughed. They cried. I think it was a most successful trip.
We parked at Braintree station, about fifteen minutes drive from our house, and took the Red Line in to South Station in Boston. We could have taken the commuter train, there’s a station in our town; but there is a large gap in service in the middle of the day, right when we’d want to come home. The Red Line offers all the excitement of a train as far as the kids are concerned and all the convenience of the T in terms of frequent departure times.
When we arrived at South Station we got to take three different elevators up to get to ground level. That was fun.
We had a lovely stroll down the new greenway, marveling at the absence of the old Central Artery which used to block out the skyline. Now there is a pleasant string of green spaces separated by city streets, little parks planted with flowers, grassy knolls shaded by trees, a few sculptures, benches, groups of chairs, a giant hammock, pushcart vendors selling various kinds of food, a fountain that kids can splash in. The girls enjoyed our walk. Bella picked a stray dandelion—she knows better than to pick flowers in flower beds.
I realized how very much I miss going into Boston. I love watching people on the train, on the streets, in the parks. I love the sense of adventure and excitement of being on foot in the big city. I love examining the architecture, glimpsing the boats in the harbor, exploring new places. Oh and sharing it with my kids is so awesome. It’s very exciting that they’re finally getting to the age where they can appreciate this kind of expedition.
The aquarium was fun, though I think Bella started to hit overload about halfway through. That or it was just past her usual lunch time. She started complaining, “I want to go home.” But then she’d gamely look at another tank full of fish and ooh and ahh appropriately.
We had an expensive lunch at the aquarium cafe. My fish and chips were actually quite good. Bella’s burger was awful. Sophie ate her entire hot dog in five seconds flat. Bella spilled her milk. Twice. Poor Ben, who had previously fallen asleep in the stroller, woke up partway through lunch and screamed and screamed and screamed to find himself in this strange, crowded place full of noise and people and noise. (Fortunately all the noise covered his screaming fairly well.) He did calm down after a while and ate some french fries and drank some of the remaining milk.
After lunch we walked back to South Station. Bella was dragging a bit on the walk back; but didn’t complain. She’s such a good sport. The train ride home was just as exciting as the train ride into the city. With the additional fun of a very gregarious little boy who made friends with Ben and then offered some of his jelly beans to Bella. His friendly patter rescued us from more crying baby, so I was quite grateful for his attentions, even if I did refuse his generous offer of a jellybean.
Home at last after a long day of fun. Sophie fell asleep in the car and then had to be soothed back to sleep for her nap. Ben went down easily and slept until 4:30. Bella was too wound up to nap. She drew pictures and danced instead while I collapsed in my chair for an hour.
Tonight’s bedtime prayer.
Dom: Thank you God for the wonder & beauty of the all the fish & animals & birds you have made & that we could see them in the Aquarium.
Bella: And Bass Pro Shop.
Dom: Yes, Bella, and Bass Pro Shop.
Yes, we took the kids to Bass Pro Shop on Monday. Gotta love how four year-olds put everything into perspective.
Now Dom and I realize that going into the city with the kids is achievable, was actually quite pleasant and didn’t have too many repercussions, we’re starting to think maybe we can plan other trips: The Children’s Museum, Boston Public Gardens for the swan boats and the Make Way for Ducklings Statues, The Science Museum…. Maybe even the MFA.
One odd thing about our day. Dom forgot his iPhone and I’d left my cell phone at home, figuring it would be redundant and anyway the battery was dying. So we never knew what time it was. And of course Dom wasn’t able to post updates and pictures to twitter and Facebook. We were back in the dark age. And for most of the day I for one didn’t miss it. I’m not sure about Dom, though.