The Old State House: 206 Washington St., Boston
We always like to include some educational activities during our family travel TV shoots because we think it’s important that families take advantage of the history and culture each destination provides. We also like to make that learning fun! So, we met up with local family friends and arranged for a tour of the Old State House with a costumed guide.
The Old State House is 300 years old and particularly significant in American history because it was the center of politics during Revolutionary Boston. During our visit, we could imagine John Hancock and Samuel Adams coming to the Old State House to debate various issues of the time. Our guide stayed in character so it was fun to step back in time with him as he showed us different artifacts and explained people’s roles during that time period, from an architect to the governor.
After our tour, we explored the building on our own and tried some of the hands on activities for kids. There were all sorts of things to see, touch and even smell! Each one of us was also given a Revolutionary Character card to keep. Each character represented a real person who lived in Boston during Revolutionary times. The cards had information on them about our characters and as we browsed the museum, we could make connections between them and the artifacts on display. To learn more about the characters, you could also go to the Old State House website before or after your visit.
The Old State House is also the site of the Boston Massacre which occurred on March 5, 1770. We learned more about the confrontation between the British soldiers and an angry mob from our next tour guide from The Freedom Trail Foundation. The guide explained that 5 men were killed in the massacre, which contributed to the start of the Revolutionary War.
We followed our guide along the red brick pathway that makes up the Freedom Trail. Visitors can literally follow the red bricks past several historical sites that were significant during the Revolution including theGranary Burying Ground, the oldest school in North America, the Boston Latin School, Faneuil Hall and Paul Revere’s house among other attractions.
The guided tour takes about 90 minutes which may be tough on little ones. The kids in our group were troopers especially because we did our tour in the snow! However, we hope that they learned more about American history by literally following the Freedom Trail. Most kids in the US learn about the Revolutionary War in 4th or 5th grade so consider planning your family vacation in Boston around that time in your child’s school career. Then watch for the ah-ha moments! Family travel is so rewarding when you see the lightbulb go on for your kids.
Some Additional Tips & Fun Facts:
• The Old State House – Children 18 & under are FREE
• The Old State House is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with a few exceptions
• Guided tours of the Old State House are included in admission and available every half hour. Each tour is themed.
• The Freedom Trail is 2 ½ miles long.
• Discounts are available for Freedom Trail tours if you buy tickets online.
• The Freedom Trail tour has an app if you want to do a self guided tour.
• Private tours for your family are available so you can go at your own pace.
• Mission US is a fun website game for kids. It was created in partnership with NYC public TV station THIRTEEN. It’s a fun way to extend the learning!
• If you are looking for some reading materials written especially for kids or want other resources to enhance your visit, click here.
• The National Park Service also offers various tours from Faneuil Hall.