Field Trip: Aquarium!

Field Trip: Aquarium!

Bella waits while Daddy buys tickets for the train. In the bag are her very important sketch pad, crayons, and pencil.

Today Dom took off from work and we all went to the New England Aquarium. By “all” I mean Dom, myself, my sister, and my dad who is visiting from Texas. And the four kids, of course. One mom who got on the elevator with us at South Station two children glanced at me and remarked on how I have my hands full. I just laughed. I’m used to it by now.

Riding the Red Line.

We took the train, of course. Much cheaper and easier than finding parking in Boston. Plus, riding the train is a part of the adventure. Almost as much of a treat as the aquarium itself. Perhaps more.

My sister and I with Anthony, who had a very rough night. A minute after that photo was snapped he was out cold.

We only took the T, not the big commuter train. But the kids don’t know the difference. Honestly, this is by far the easier option.

Bella dances down the street: “I just love all the tall towers in the city!”

Next to taking the train, I think Bella was most excited by the walk through the city from South Station. It is a most lovely walk through the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a gem of a city park. Past flowering plants and sculptures and a big fountain. All the tall towers and the hustle and bustle of the big city. I feel a thrill too. I wouldn’t want to live in the city; but I love visiting.

Occupy Boston tent city
Occupy Boston!

Though we did roll our eyes at the tent city and cardboard signs of the Occupy Boston protesters. Especially when one of them tried to single us out: We love children! The future of our country! or some such platitudes. Eyeroll. Seriously.

The kids check out the harbor seals while Daddy gets tickets.

Sophie looks so wistful here; but I am certain she had a marvelous time. I think she was just hungry.

Bella poses with a penguin statue.

The aquarium is such a well-designed experience. I love that there is plenty for the kids to do and see while the tickets are being bought. Usually it’s such a drag waiting and waiting. But with seals to watch, who has time to be bored.

We posed for one of those family photos that you can buy as you leave. We didn’t check ours out. Just went with the side view my dad shot.

You step in the door and there are penguins! Who doesn’t love penguins? Zippy little birds darting through the water, lazy little birds standing about on rocks.

The boys check out the seals and sea lions.

The girls strike a pose

I love watching my kids watch the fish. Bella is so bubbly and effusive. You know exactly what she thinks about everything. She had her list of favorites that she had to see. She brought her sketch pad to draw some of them. She wanted to draw a seal, an octopus, and jellyfish. She didn’t draw the octopus because he was hiding in the corner where it was too dark to sea. But she did a sea lion and a bunch of jelly fish. It was sweet to see her so serious with her crayons and sketch pad.

Bella with starfish.

Bella shows Sophie some fish
Bella shows Sophie some fish.

Sophie is much quieter. Yet I know that she’s taking it all in. She won’t volunteer an opinion unless asked and we often forget to ask. She hides in her big sister’s shadow. But it won’t always be that way. She’ll find her own voice.

Ben is also quieter. Mostly he’s taking it all in. Every once in a while he lets his excitement show. A gleam in his eye as he watches a shark. He loved the salmon. And the little bright tropical reef fishes.

Bella touches a ray
Bella touches a ray.

I loved the hands-on exhibits. There was a tidal pool where they could handle starfish and crabs and shellfish. And the touch a ray pool. I think Bella could have stood there all day with her hand in the cold water. She was enchanted.

Ben and Sophie at the tidal pool.

Sophie is pretty game about getting her hands wet too. Ben didn’t want to put his hands in the water. Oh no not him.

Bella sketches jellyfish
Bella sketches a jellyfish


A busy, busy day. I am totally exhausted but very happy. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day.

Ben in the aquarium cafe
Serious Ben in the cafe.


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