Oh, Duck It

Duck Tours: the girls have watched and cheered as the amphibious vehicles splashed into the Charles River. They ask to go on them every time they see one, which is pretty much every day. Plus, you get to quack at people with impunity.  So we bought the tickets, and the obnoxious quackers, and while it started like this…


It somehow ended up like this…


Yes, that’s not one, but two little girls asleep on me, on an expensive Duck Tour. So what the heck happened?

It all started off innocuously enough. The girls were excited, if somewhat perplexed about what a Duck Tour entailed. Squirrel spent the first five minutes chattering non-stop — showing me places she had gone with the babysitter or with her school. Goose, well, she was hot, wiggly, and tired. She kept kicking me in the shins because the seats only sat two, and while I bought three seats, we weren’t in the position to have someone sit on their own.

Hey, we’re in the water now. Why so slow?

They gamely looked out the window, but quickly lost interest. They even refused to quack! And they didn’t want to drive the boat in the water. Instead they hugged each other and whispered things to help them make it through the ordeal.

It’s OK, the ride will be over….eventually

Why? Because it was more like an Uber Pool than an exciting adventure. And it was in Boston. What should have been a 90 minute ride was nearly two hours thanks to construction, traffic, and the hemp fest. Yes, you heard that right: the hemp fest. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the older one fell asleep as we were stuck rounding Boston Common while fumes from the hemp-lovers association wafted towards us.  But at least blessed sleep meant that I no longer was being kicked in the shins, even if I had two hot children on top of me during record high temperatures for a fall day.

In reality, the best part of the trip, if you are following the rule of three, was the second stop — visiting the aquarium with their friends. We go to the aquarium so often, and yet, it’s still the coolest thing around and worth every penny of the membership. The animals are amazing. The three turtles always seem to purposefully engage the children, and the string ray tank where the kids can pet passing sting rays really makes you appreciate the animal’s distinct personalities. On this particular day, the animals were especially engaging.

Honestly, how is this not coolest thing ever? Plus the Moray Eel!

If you go to the aquarium, make sure to go at the end of the day, when fewer people are there. It’s a fairly small place, and the kids hop from one exhibit to another, so you are never really in one place for long. And, if you go an hour before closing, you may even get to see divers feeding the fish. To be honest, we typically spend no more than 45 minutes at the aquarium, about 10 of which are spent whining about when we are getting food.

Which is why Stop 3 was my favorite stop of the day. We went to the Reef, the outdoor restaurant at the aquarium where the kids devoured pretzels and fruit, and the moms were able to enjoy a glass of wine. The Reef has thoughtfully set up bean bag toss games which the kids find fascinating. While they let the grown-ups play with the actual bean bags, they found that their stuffies also sufficed for throwing into the hole.

Keeping score after a long day


So what lessons did I learn from this trip? Never, ever, under any circumstances sign the little monsters up for something that they cannot engage with or exit from when they are ready. Because someone will get tired, sick or poop. Or, if you’re really lucky, all three, and you will need to exit. And when you do, make sure your exit plan involves an understanding friend and wine to take the edge off a failed trip. And remember: no matter how bad it gets, the kids will still think it’s cool that they did something different, even if it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. Just the other day they saw one of the Duck Boats and quacked and then asked if they could go on a Trolley tour. Over my dead body.




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