Three couples and a family of four have 1/2 a day in Boston and want to do something together. How do you see Boston as a group of 10 when two in that group are under 6? The ultimate answer: The Duck Tour!
Duck tours, or DUKW tours, are tours on land to water vehicles in major cities near a river, lake or ocean. Started in Wisconsin by a man who used a WWII DUKW military amphibious vehicle, it since has become a hit and must do in most big cities. The tours usually include original military or replica amphibious vehicles and take you on a tour of the city on land and water. The tour guys have a humorous take on the history, and everyone is encouraged to quack at other Duck Tours or big groups along the way.
Since we were a group of ten (My dad and his wife, my mom and her boyfriend, my sister and her fiancé, and my family), we decided it would be best to reserve the tickets the night before. This turned out to be a god-sent; we got lost on the way and just managed to make it to the Museum of Science as the tour was about to start. We quickly loaded on the DUKW and took off.
As we drove past important sites such as the State Capital, Trinity Church and the John Hancock tower, our conDUCKtor told us stories of the birth of a nation, the revolutionary war, and how Boston has ebbed and flowed over the years to adapt as time moved on. All the adults were fascinated by the history and information (heck, we had an actual historian, my sister, with us). The kids however didn’t hear a word. They were too excited to point out every little thing in their mind that was interesting, waving and quacking to anyone who paid attention to them, and asking incessantly when we were going to go in the water.
After going around Boston, we finally came to the highlight of the trip: the splash down into the Charles River. My son, who had been looking forward to this all morning, panicked when we actually went to enter the water, but was able to recompose himself once he saw we were not going to sink!
Now, if you have ever been on a duck tour with kids, you know why the water is the best part. That’s when the conDUCKtor let’s the kids take turns and drive the boat. Usually my dad (an ex navy man who has not gotten it out of his system), tries to drive as well. But this time he had his grandson with him. As soon as they asked for volunteers, my dad was practically elbowing down kids to get my son up to the front. I’m still not sure who wanted this more.
After riding around the river and seeing the shoreline of Cambridge and Boston, it was time to head back to the Museum of Science. We all slowly disembarked, practically having to pull the younger ones (and my Dad) off. Seeing how we were a big group, we thought it best to grab lunch at the Museum than try and find a cafe nearby that could seat 10. We all ate together before heading to our cars, ready for the long ride back down to New Jersey.
As we got in our cars, I contemplated how nice it was to spend half a day doing something with my whole extended family. We now truly represent the modern mixed family, and while hard at times, we are making it work for everyone’s sanity. I am proud of my parents and their significant others, working to do things together so the grandchildren grow up knowing they are surrounded by lots of love. To me it was so special for the kids to be able to spend time with everyone, jump from lap to lap, and see how much love they have. As my family grows and expands (I’m looking at you sis, you know what people will expect after that wedding), I hope there are more situations like this, where the kids enjoy the new normal, and we can all be together and enjoy an experience together.