Boston Duck Tours: The Quackiest Way To See Boston

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For years I've seen the Boston Duck Tours driving through the streets of downtown Boston. I noticed them as randomly decorated military truck type things, but I never even considered taking a ride on one - that was a touristy thing to do, and I wasn't a tourist!

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Then one weekend, my cousin and her boyfriend came to town and what did they want to do? One of the Boston Duck Tours!

Fortunately, these days I have two incentives to try out the touristy activities I once ignored:
1. Share my hometown with my husband and daughter who really are like tourists.
2. Get the inside scoop so I can share it with you!

So... we picked a date, bought our tickets online (super easy), and off we went for our first Boston Duck Tour.

Boston Duck Tours - Old Gloria

The only slight negative of the entire experience was that it was fairly chaotic when we first get to the Prudential Center. There wasn't a clear line to stand in and we weren't assigned to a particular duck or group, so we found a bench to sit on and waited to be directed.

From there on, we were nothing less than impressed.

We were seated on "Old Gloria", the duck with a big American flag painted onto it, and were soon introduced to our tour leader, Captain Kidding (who described himself as a pirate from Wyoming who, trying to follow the call of the sea, took a $57,000 cab ride to Boston and has been working for the Boston Duck Tours in order to pay off his cab fare ever since!).

To say the least, Captain Kidding was highly entertaining and highly informative. I think I could listen to his narrative 10 times over and still learn something new.

Within about a minute of leaving "home base" on our duck, we were "quacking" at the passers by (not required, but actually pretty fun if you let yourself get into it - and, of course, my 3-year old LOVED it!).

Boston Duck Tours on the Charles River

Our tour guide did a fabulous job of giving us an understanding of the history of different Boston neighborhoods, sharing important historical events, and showing us the beauty and quirks of our city. Of course, all of this was done completely "in character" as well, so everyone was engaged and it never felt like we were sitting through a history lesson.

When we got to the Charles River, the W.W.II style amphibious landing vehicle (as the Boston Duck Tours describe it) miraculously transformed into a boat. Which reminds me, there was one more downside to our journey...

Captain Kidding let all of the kids on the boat take turns driving it (and even a grown-up or two got in there). However, he either didn't see Siena, or thought she was too young to want a try, so we were left to calm a very distressed 2.5 year old when we ran out of time to request a turn for her... Alas, the challenges a toddler faces!

A testament to how engaging the duck tour was - Siena managed to stay awake in a moving vehicle right during naptime... until the last three minutes. She slept through lunch, of course, but was talking about the duck boat for days afterwards!

Here are a few logistics for you...

Boston Duck Tours - Sailboats on the Charles River


Phone: 617-267-DUCK

Starting Locations and Length of Tours:
Museum of Science: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Prudential Center: 1 hour and 20 minutes
New England Aquarium: 55 minutes

2011 Prices for the Museum of Science and Prudential Tours:
Adults: $32
Student/Senior(62+)/Military: $27
Children aged 3 to 11: $22
Children under 3 (including infants): $10
Note: Rates for the New England Aquarium tours are slightly less.

FYI, the Boston Duck Tours apparently do events as well. If I were to get married again, I would definitely consider a Boston Duck Tours wedding as one of my top options! They also do birthday parties, graduations, and probably pretty much anything you can think of!

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