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Boston Tourist Sights
Boston has many major sights that draw tourists to the city, including many museums and parks. Visitors who come to Boston find plenty to keep them busy throughout their stay. There are sights to appeal to everyone in the family, from adults who come for the history to kids who want to play.
Many of Boston's major sights are historic in nature, and the Freedom Trail walking path leads directly to 16 of them. Some of the must-dos on the trail include Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church where he saw his signal to action. There is Faneuil Hall, where many of the events that eventually led to the Boston Tea Party came together, and the Boston Latin School, which bears the distinction of being the country's very first public school. There is a museum devoted to the USS Constitution, better known as old Ironsides, the ship itself, not to mention a monument to the Battle of Bunker Hill.
You can also find many historic burial grounds, like Bunker Hill, Copp's Hill, the Fairview Cemetery, Hawes/Union, and the King's Chapel, all of which are accessible to visitors. Several of the burial grounds are part of the Freedom Trail.
Boston has a variety of museums to appeal to any visitors' tastes and every member of the family. There are historic venues devoted to various forms of artwork, like the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. These museums have traditional items like paintings and photographs, as well as pieces that include textiles, pottery, and jewelry. Another option, the Institute of Contemporary Art, even showcases eclectic arts that range from film making to knitting.
Kids aren't left out on the Boston museum scene. They can run, play, and explore with educational exhibits specifically designed to grab their interest at the Boston Museum of Science. The museum even features an Imax theater and planetarium, as well as live animals and a butterfly garden. If your kids really love animals, the New England Aquarium is also worth a visit. This isn't a static museum, but rather an aquatic animal exhibit with plenty of interactive opportunities including touch tanks where kids can actually pet sea creatures like sharks and stingrays.
Boston has many parks with scenic grounds and areas to walk, jog, bike, or just sit back and admire the tranquility. For example, the Public Garden, which dates back to 1837, is America's first public garden, and it's still popular with visitors and locals today. You can admire the well-tended flora and even go for a ride on the garden's lagoon in a historic swan boat. The boats have operated in the Public Garden since the 1870s, and they are still run by descendents of Robert Paget, the first operator.
The Boston Common is a pride of the city and another historic area, established in 1634. This makes it the oldest city park in America, and it's just as popular now as it was in colonial times. The park is a green oasis for strolling, jogging, running, biking, or just taking in the sights. You can even enjoy it in the winter, when the Frog Pond becomes an ice skating rink. In the summer, the Pond is popular with kids for its water features, and there is a nearby seasonal carousel ride.
The Boston National Historical Park, run by the National Park Service, encompasses a number of Boston tourist sights, including some stops on the Freedom Trail. Park rangers conduct tours with a number of notable stops and are present at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Bunker Hill Monument, Faneuil Hall. You can also get information to plan your visit from the NPS visitors' center. Freedom Trail tours conducted by rangers are first-come, first served.
The USS Cassin Young is part of the Boston National Historical Park, and NPS tours let you visit parts of the ship that are not normally accessible to the public. These shipboard tours run several times each day.