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Field Trip Day : New England Aquarium
on the ferry to Boston
on the ferry to Boston

On Tuesday we took a field trip to the Aquarium. I’m going to make this a separate post so it doesn’t overwhelm my learning notes post, which means this will sort of happen out of order. (And I’m a little surprised that the learning notes posts have become such an institution in my mind that doing a day out of order bothers me a bit.)

When I learned that Hingham has a ferry terminal, right near where we often go to lunch after our farmer’s market trips, I knew that one day we absolutely would have to take the ferry into Boston. And it seemed like a logical time to do it would be when we were taking a trip to the aquarium, since the ferry terminal is just a short stroll away. So that’s what we did.

And a delightful day it was too. If a little long.

The ferry was a huge hit. Sophie was delighted. Ben and Anthony and Bella too. Even Lucy kept exclaiming about “water!” and “boats!” The big three spent the whole ride up on deck. Anthony, Lucy and I stayed below in the lounge with all the commuters because I didn’t trust Lucy on the deck and I didn’t have my Ergo or a sling to contain her. We saw all sorts of boats, cormorants, gulls. And Lucy was thrilled when we went right under the flight path from the airport and a huge jet roared overhead.

Sophie on the ferry to Boston
Sophie on the ferry to Boston
Bella on the ferry to Boston
Bella on the ferry to Boston

A nice stroll along the waterfront, spotting hundreds of moonjellies. We bought a family membership, figuring we’ll go back to the aquarium a few times more this year and get our money’s worth. Just two trips to the aquarium makes the membership worth while and Bella adores the aquarium.

Spotting moonjellies in Boston Harbor
Spotting moonjellies in Boston Harbor

We started out with penguins. Volunteers and employees were scrubbing the rocks and the penguins were mostly huddled in groups.

Bella gazes at penguins
Bella gazes at penguins

Then, following Bella’s lead, drifted up the big spiral ramp that circles the central tank, a huge coral reef with fish and rays and eels and sharks and sea turtles. Bella led the charge and we stopped along the way to look at individual fish, to watch the divers at work. Sophie and Bella decided that the sea turtles were their favorites.

We wound our way to the top of the big tank and then decided it was time to seek a bathroom– isn’t that always how it is?

The big tank
The big tank
Anthony likes fish
Anthony likes fish
At the top of the big tank, four stories high.
At the top of the big tank, four stories high.

We went to the tidal pool touch exhibit, where the kids got to touch hermit crabs and sea urchins, and starfish, and other critters. Then down to the rays and sharks touch tank where Ben didn’t want to get wet but Bella and Sophie both gamely stuck their hands in and touched the swimming rays.

Touching rays. with Bella and Sophie. Ben refused at tthis point but at the end of the day as we were walking back through he decided he wanted to touch them so  I helped him to that.
Touching rays. with Bella and Sophie. Ben refused at tthis point but at the end of the day as we were walking back through he decided he wanted to touch them so I helped him to that.
Touching rays with Bella and Sophie.
Touching rays with Bella and Sophie.
Sophie touches a ray. I love how she goes all in, totally unconcerned about her braids dangling in the water.
Sophie touches a ray. I love how she goes all in, totally unconcerned about her braids dangling in the water.

We had an early lunch so that we missed the crowds. The food was pleasantly surprising. Nice big meaty burgers served on whole wheat buns, fantastic looking green salads, the fries and chips both seemed fresh cut and cooked.

After lunch we hurried to the seals and sea lions show. We missed the beginning and it was a very brief show indeed, maybe ten minutes long. But we lingered after the crowds had left and were rewarded by a close up visit from a baby fur seal that flopped right up to the glass where Bella was. It was an amazing moment of contact. All the kids were enchanted.

Bella asks a question at the seal and sea lion show.
Bella asks a question at the seal and sea lion show.
Watching the seals and sealions.
Watching the seals and sealions.
Ben and Anthony with seals and sea lions
Ben and Anthony with seals and sea lions
Bella and the baby seal
Bella and the baby seal
Bella and the baby seal
Bella and the baby seal
Ben and the baby seal
Ben and the baby seal
Lucy is not impressed by the baby seal
Lucy is not impressed by the baby seal

Then back to the main floor where we found an area where there were coloring pages and linking fish blocks, a welcome respite for the kids to be able to stop and work with their hands. I wish there were more chances for that kind of active participation that didn’t involve touch screens.

Ben with the linking fish blocks
Ben with the linking fish blocks
Ben colors a fish picture
Ben colors a fish picture

Then we visited the jellyfish, which are one of Bella’s favorites. I read the whole display board about the lifecycle of a jellyfish, which was fascinating. Who knew they had so many stages? I think this was the only display we read the entirety of. Dom quipped that some day we’ll come back to the aquarium when the kids are grown up and have time to read all the displays instead of flitting like mad hatters at a tea party.

Bella and the moonjellies
Bella and the moonjellies

And after that it was time to stroll over toward the ferry. With a stop for a photo-op on the way out. A rarity: all five kids in one shot!

Five kids with penguins
Five kids with penguins

We got there a bit early and had time to sit and stare into space. And make some pit stops and to change a nasty diaper. And to contemplate boats and moonjellies and to think about the day we’d had.

Waiting for the ferry
Waiting for the ferry
Lucy waits joyfully
Lucy waits joyfully

The ferry ride back was not quite as thrilling as the one out. Everyone was tired and hungry and, unlike the ferry we took in the morning, the deck didn’t have any places where the kids could stand at the railing without being in anyone’s way.

Leaving Boston on the ferry
Leaving Boston on the ferry
On the ferry. The end of a perfect day.
On the ferry. The end of a perfect day.
Four kids on the ferry. You can tell they're a bit tired.
Four kids on the ferry. You can tell they’re a bit tired.
I wish we were on that boat instead of this one.
I wish we were on that boat instead of this one.

When we got to Hingham, we decided to take advantage of our proximity to our favorite fish place, Jake’s in Hull. So we went there for an early dinner, much to everyone’s delight.

Lucy makes a ring out of her cucumber at Jakes
Lucy makes a ring out of her cucumber at Jakes

Ben and Anthony fell asleep in the car on the way home and I put them straight to bed. Well, after I let them doze on the couch for a bit. I needed a bit of a rest first.

Ben is wiped out
Ben is wiped out
Lucy is amused by a sleeping Anthony
Lucy is amused by a sleeping Anthony
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