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make way for us

Harvey and Zion riding duck statues

ride em, duck boys!

We've been meaning to take the boys to visit the Make Way for Ducklings statues in Boston all summer—all last summer too, when I think about it. But somehow it's easier for us to get to the Cape than into the city. As you can tell from the photo above, we finally made it. What did the trick? Realizing that we could bicycle there!

Leah and the trailer under a bridge, Boston in the background

that's where we're going!

As plotted by Google Maps the route from our house to the Public Garden is just a bit over 17 miles, one way. Naturally, by the time we got there we had worked up a pretty good appetite for our packed lunch.

Leah, Harvey, and Zion picnicing by the pond in the Public Garden

not a bad spot

After dining we met up with our friends (including Harvey and Zion's friend Timothy) and, once everyone had gathered around to hear me read the famous story—of course we brought it along, we had to compare the pictures with the real thing!—we headed over to the duckling statues.

Harvey, Zion, and Timothy playing with the duckling statues

Zion wanted to pet and feed them

There was quite a crowd trying to get their turn on the ducks, mostly for photo-op purposes, so the kids didn't get to play as long as they might have liked (not that I can cast stones, of course: I had my camera out the whole time). But the ducklings were definitely experienced, to everyone's great pleasure.

Zion riding a duckling

could he have one to bring home?

Next up was the Swan Boats, which turned out to be pleasantly affordable. We decided that the ride around the pond was the first time on a boat for both Zion and Harvey, which still seems shocking to me. But in any case it was a very pleasant excursion: wonderfully quiet and relaxing thanks to the pedal-powered nature of the boats (Leah noted that all our transportation for the day was pedal-powered!). And there really are ducks living on the island, like in the book.

Harvey, Zion, and Mama on the swan boat


Then it was on to more active pursuits. Somehow I never knew that you could swim in the Frog Pond in the summer—for free, even!—but needless to say as soon as the kids saw it they were in the water.

Zion in the Frog Pond

that's Harvey's hand

After they dried off—and note that this was all without swimsuits or towels, since we had no expectation of bathing—it was onto the nearby Tadpole playground. It was fun but included some water features, so when our injunctions to stay out of the fountains! started to wear off, we had to find another place to play. The next playground, out on the Esplanade along the Charles River, was pretty fancy.

Harvey at the bottom of a big metal-and-rope climbing structure

thinking about it

It was really designed for bigger kids, but there was still enough to keep our little ones occupied for quite a while—longer than Timothy wanted to stay awake. We bid him and his parents goodbye and then Mama and Zion played some more while Harvey and I walked around and looked at the river. Harvey was very interested in seeing the spot where Mr. and Mrs. Mallard made their nest, and we also worked out the route they took to get to the Public Garden. Of course, back then Storrow Drive wasn't a divided highway—good thing!

On the way home we stopped to pick up some dinner, and ate it at a picnic table on the shores of Spy Pond in Arlington. With the proximity to water I was prepared to tell the kids that they couldn't swim because of the poison algae, but they were so tired that it never came up. They did enjoy the food, though.

Spy Pond, late afternoon

we like water

We finally made it home at around 7:00, after nine and half hours away from home. We felt kind of bad for abandoning Rascal all that time, so we'll probably stay home tomorrow and give him some attention. We might need a bit of rest ourselves, too!

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