Boston is a city of neighborhoods and while you can certainly follow the famous 2.5-mile Freedom Trail (and I’m not knocking it!), don’t count on your kids lasting long enough to finish it. One way to get your kids excited about a new city (or even their own!) is by an awesome scavenger hunt.
Besides some family team-building and bonding, a scavenger hunt provides entertainment and a common goal and along the way, perhaps you will have all learned something!
Below are a series of clues about sites in the Back Bay/Beacon Hill area of Boston. The answers follow with a bit of description about the sites. Try not to let the kids peek while you gently guide them in the right direction!
This scavenger hunt is specifically targeted for families with children under the age of 12 (or so). I suggest taking a photo at each point. Later you can organize them in a scrapbook to help remember your visit.
1. Read Between the Lions
2. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
3. Where Three Famous Women Hang Out at the Mall
4. The Ugly Duckling was One
5. Mrs. Mallard Leads the Pack
6. Former Cow Pasture
7. Mr. Toad’s Friend
8. Where the Governor Works
9. Three signers of the Declaration of Independence rest here
10. Where Boston Cream Pie and the Parker Roll were Born
1. Boston Public Library Lion Statues
Inside the library’s main entrance on Dartmouth St.
Connecting the Entrance Hall with the Main Staircase is a deep triumphal arch. The great twin lions sit on pedestals. They are memorials to Massachusetts Civil War infantry regiments, the Second and the Twentieth.
2. Turtle and Hare statues at the Boston Marathon Finish Line
In the Copley Square Park along Boylston St.
A tribute to all the runners who have participated in the marathon.
3. Women’s Memorial Statues
In the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, (Between Fairfield and Gloucester streets)
The Boston Women’s Memorial celebrates Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. Each of these women had progressive ideas that were ahead of her time, was committed to social change, and left a legacy through her writings that had a significant impact on history.
4. Swan Boats
Boston Public Garden
The 130-year-old Swan Boats have to be one of the most charming and iconic activities offered in the city. No tot fails to love them, especially if they’ve read Make Way for Ducklings (see below).
5. Make Way for Duckling Statues in the Public Garden
The official children’s book of Massachusetts. The Make Way for Ducklings sculptures are at Boston’s Public Garden, where author Robert McCloskey’s book of the same name comes to life.
6. Boston Common
Bordered by Tremont, Park, Boylston, and Beacon streets
The country’s oldest park, established in 1634, was used for grazing livestock, then for hanging criminals, and now happily is just a great place to escape the city sidewalks.
7. Frog Pond and Tadpole Playground in Boston Common
In July and August, the Common’s Frog Pond becomes a six-inch deep wading pool with a spray head fountain in the middle. The adjacent Tadpole playground is open year-round.
8. Massachusetts State House
The gold-domed building sits atop Beacon Hill and is the state’s capitol building.
9. The Granary Burying Ground
On Tremont, between Park and School streets
Established in 1660, the Granary is notable as the resting place of Boston’s most famous sons. Look for John Hancock’s tomb, Paul Revere’s grave and a plaque marking the tomb of Robert Treat Paine. He along with Sam Adams and John Hancock were all signers of the Declaration of Independence.
10. Omni Parker House Hotel
25 School Street
The longest continuously operating hotel in the United States. Besides its tasty innovations, many well-known people have worked there, including Hô Chí Minh, Malcolm X, and Emeril Lagasse.
*Boston Family Scavenger Hunt was originally posted on TravelingMom.com, a great resource and community for moms who travel. Look for further posts from Kim Foley MacKinnon, author of Boston Baby: A Field Guide for Urban Parents, at Boston TravelingMom.