monkeyandthebug


Summer To Do List: The New England Aquarium
June 28, 2011, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Around Town, to do list | Tags: , ,

The summer is finally upon us here in Boston and I could not be more excited. I’m making a summer to do list filled with fun activities so we don’t get stuck in a summer rut. The first on our list is The New England Aquarium. It’s a great spot to cool off in on a scorching hot day. Before I even get started I want to thank Adriana from Just By Living for sharing her pictures of her visit to The Aquarium.

If you live in, around, or are visiting Boston, The New England Aquarium is a must see.  The entire building is focused around a large central aquarium filled with hundreds of species of fish, sharks, eels, turtles, and rays. 200,000 gallons of water and a man made coral reef make up the mammoth tank. There are over 50 viewing windows for guests to sit and watch the fish. My kids always take their time  here.  A large winding walkway will take you from the bottom to the top where an aquarium employee can answer any of your questions about the living creatures in the tank.

Hendrix at the giant central tank.

At the base of the massive tank is a huge penguin exhibit with three different kinds of penguins, a little toddler play area, and smaller exhibits filled with all kinds of sea life. You can catch a glimpse at a sea horse or the rare sea dragon, pet a horse shoe or cuddle a star fish in the tide pool, and get up and close with some river monsters.

Some tropical fishies.

School of fish.

A learning center. Note the giant tank in the background.

Outside is the Marine Mammal Center. It’s a large pool overlooking the Boston Harbor filled with seals and sea lion.

The New England Aquarium has a really cool jelly fish exhibit.The tanks looks infinite and the lighting they used gives the jelly fish an almost magical quality. It doesn’t seem real. Whoever designed the tanks did a fabulous job.

The absolute best part of Boston’s beautiful aquarium is the Shark and Ray touch tank. The touch tank is the largest on the east coast and contains a man made mangrove filled with several species of shark and rays. You have to be a bit patient and able to sit still but if you dip your hand into the tank and wait you are sure to get to pet a ray and a shark.

SHARK!

Tons of rays!

The New England Aquarium has a cafe, large IMAX theater, whale watch tours, and gift shop. There is parking near by and many other restaurants to eat at. I highly recommend going during the week if you can and avoid school vacations. Buying your tickets  ahead of time and printing them out at home will make your life a million times easier. Also, there is a stroller drop off area and plenty of lockers.For more on The New England Aquarium check out their site HERE.

I’m definitely looking for suggestions for my summer to do list so if you have any ideas or want to contribute a post about whats on your summer to do list email me at info@monkeyandthebug.com

Advertisements


Around Town: Boston Children’s Museum
May 12, 2011, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Around Town | Tags: , , ,
Gemma playing checkers (left) and working hard in the construction room (right)

A few Fridays ago, Dave was able to leave work early so we took the girls to the Boston Children’s Museum. We have been members there for almost a year now and it has been one of the best organizations we have joined. The museum is a 3 story “green” museum filled with activities for kids of all ages. BCM is located on Children’s Wharf and on a nice day you can sit outside, enjoy the view, and eat a picnic lunch.
There is a lot to see as the museum is quite large so typically, we head first to the toddler playroom which boasts a small climbing structure, large train track set, and separate arts and crafts area. On this particular Friday, we decided to explore new territory. BCM has compiled a super fun list of 100 things to do while visiting that I highly recommend you take a peek at if you are planning a trip. See the list HERE. We first visited the construction zone that has, among other things, gear toys, a jack hammer, and block tables. The girls really enjoyed climbing in and out of the front loaders. Gemma is a lover of hats, so she relished wearing the hard hat.
Riley drives the bus (left) and plays with bubbles (right)

We then went to an exhibit called “Boston Black…A City Connects”. This area is meant to highlight the diversity in Boston’s African-American community. Gemma played the steel drums, the girls watched a video of traditional African dancing, and Riley got to drive a bus. She gravitates toward any and all steering wheels.
We then visited Peep’s World (a favorite PBS show in our household; I personally think the character of Quack is hysterical). In this room, there are two large water tables, a sand box, and a darkened hallway representing the Deep Dark Woods. The girls couldn’t get enough of playing hide-and-seek with their own shadows.
My girls entering the climbing structure (left) and chasing their shadows (right)

We also took turns captaining a rocket ship, creating bubbles of all sizes in the bubble room, and cooking in the play kitchen. The last thing the girls did before our afternoon was over was climb on the lower levels of the New Balance Climb. This is a three story climbing structure made of curved, carpeted platforms that was designed by famed sculpture Tom Luckey. (you can actually watch a trailer for the documentary about him HERE and see some of the construction for The New Balance Climb…very interesting)
The Boston Children’s Museum is a gem. We are so fortunate to live so close and to be able to visit often. If you are ever in the area, Boston Children’s Museum should be on the top of your list for sights to see.
**Both my little ladies are wearing pieces from our shop. Gemma is in the Nico Nico V Neck Vest and Riley in Nico Nico’s Crazy Dots Tee. **


Around Town: Castle Island.
May 2, 2011, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Around Town | Tags: , , ,

As anyone with a toddler knows, they are filled with what seems like a boundless amount of energy. My twins are 2 and 1/2 years old and we live in a 2 bedroom condo so it is vital that we get Riley and Gemma outdoors as much as possible.

On this particular afternoon, it was a bit chilly but we could feel spring in the air. After winter in Boston even a little bit of sunshine can feel like  a lot.  Dave and I decided to take the girls to one of our favorite Boston spots, Castle Island in South Boston.

The island is home to Fort Independence, a former military structure. During the summer months the fort is open to the public for exploration and adventure. A little fun fact: Castle Island is no longer an island and is actually connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. This makes it easy to get to and there is a ton of parking.

A large playground is also situated on the island and if you’re hungry you can grab a bite at the crowd favorite, Sullivan’s (aka Sully’s) – a little greasy spoon joint that serves great fries. There is also a beach area, plenty of room for bike riders, fishing off of the pier, and fantastic airplane watching (Castle Island is located near Logan Airport).

We love taking advantage of Boston and all that it has to offer. It’s nice to know that we don’t have to travel far to make great memories for the girls.

What do you love about your hometown?