Visiting Boston and the Franklin Park Zoo
There was a time when I was sure I was going to move to Boston. I’d never been to Boston, but somehow it landed on my list of post college destinations. Boston was only 6-ish hour drive from home (Rochester, NY), 1 hour flight, a big city on the east coast and offered career options in higher education or publishing.
Fast-forward a few years and I ended up picking Baltimore over Boston. I have, however visited Boston several times now. My latest visit in July 2018 was the first time for my family. For me it was a work trip, but the family was able to tag too. A very quick mid-July trip to check out a few new things. We only had one day to explore, which was mostly spent at the Franklin Park Zoo.
Hit the Road
Although I’d been to Boston a few times before, it was always by flight. This was my first time driving from western NY to Boston. We packed up the rented Nissan Altima and took off for Boston. For longer road trips, we like to hit the road at night so the kids will sleep more, but in this case we left early in the morning. The drive through New York State is scenic.
Our normal road trip routine includes the DVD players linked up for entertainment. I try to not let the kids watch the screens too much, they are a necessary evil on our rides. The littles managed to stay awake for the entire seven hour ride…. yup, not a single nap! We hit Boston at peak rush hour at which point Camryn finally took a nap. If you are driving, try to avoid arriving at rush hour. The last hour of our trip was just trying to get a few miles to our hotel.
A River Runs Through It
While I am pretty much a Marriott girl, this time was stayed at a Hyatt. The hotel was probably a little fancier than we usually do with the kids. The pricer hotels just usually don’t offer free breakfast which is a great money saver. At this time, the kids didn’t know how to swim yet either which also now drives our hotel choices.
My work events were at Harvard and this was one of the host hotels so we stayed at the Cambridge at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. Of the choices, I picked it primarily because it was within walking distance to a park and directly across from the walking path along the Charles river. I figured my husband would want to escape the hotel for a while and those would be two great options. Rather than go outside, turns out he just let them run around the hotel halls and ride the elevator.
Our waterfront view room overlooked the Charles River. Since it was peak summer in July, we had many occasions to watch the boats, kayaks and row teams on the river. Our room was equipped with a queen bed and a pull out couch. We prefer this over two beds because it gives the kids a place to sit, play and eat. The kids are still small enough the sharing a bed isn’t an issue.
Our only hotel dinner also came at the in-house restaurant Zephyr. We enjoyed the outdoor patio overlooking the river. Since it wasn’t crowded, it gave the kids to room to roam a little. After a long day of traveling with kids, hotel restaurants while not the cheapest are definitely convenient.
Visiting the Franklin Park Zoo
On our one day to explore, we chose to visit the Franklin Park Zoo. Easy decision really because the kids love animals. Visiting the Zoo is something the we do a lot in different cities. So far we have done the Nashville Zoo, Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, DC, Cincinnati Zoo and the Franklin Park Zoo.
The Franklin Park Zoo overall was a fun experience. We were able to buy tickets online to skip the line. Admission for all four of us was about $50. I think the kids liked the Meeting Barn farm animals section the best. The Meeting Barn puts the kids up close and personal with some familiar farm animals.
The zoo is not super big (72 acres), so we were able to hit all of the exhibits within a few hours. Although the zoo itself is on the smaller side, the playground is pretty big. I don’t think it is possible to walk about a playground and not let me kids play we let them go. The playground has two sections, one for older kids and one tiny toddlers. At that time, the littlest little was about 2.5 so she was still in the small kid section. With our usual divide and conquer strategy, the husband took one kid and I took the other.
Since I was mostly tied up for work but we somehow managed to make a trip to Target. My excuse was that we needed snacks for the ride home, the reality is that I couldn’t resist the huge Target downtown in view of Fenway Park. There was a game that night but we didn’t go but did make traffic a little busier. Check the game schedule if you will be out in the summer downtown to see how traffic might be if you are not going to the game.
In other visits to Boston I’ve enjoyed some great seafood, taken in the beautiful history and architecture, hung around the Haah-vard yard, road the subway, and peeped the Green Monster. There is a ton more to do we didn’t experience this time around, I’m sure at some point I’ll make another return visit.