We pick up the riveting story of my trip to Boston on day 2: the final few hours. Since I was likely to be the only person to be excited by it, we decided not to go to the Museum of Science. Instead we got ourselves back on the subway and set course for the waterfront. We knew that because it was a holiday, our final stop – the aquarium – wasn’t due to open until 12:00. So we took a stroll around the waterfront to pass the time.
We entered the crumbling Lechmere station once again to make our way downtown, getting off at Haymarket where we made our way north to the Italian quarter. Perhaps this wasn’t the cleanest part of town (though I imagine it looks a little like a garbage truck exploded all over a 2-block radius of Copley Square this morning..) but the old buildings are nestled together cozily and even some of the little squares still show their stone streets.
We first walked by the old home of Paul Revere which was closed for the holiday. Then we found the building with the creakiest floors I have ever come across! It was this cute little church. Nothing too fancy, a simple brick facade. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. This is actually the church tower in which Mr. Revere hung a lantern to signify which route British soldiers were attacking from a few years ago. From inside, the church is much different than what I was used to seeing in all the millions of churches I’ve been in. You see, instead of long hard pews where everyone sits in a line facing the front, this church has small, family sized penalty box pews. A bench is closed in by a low wall, like little prayer cubicles, each one paid for by an attending family. Hidden above you in the front of the church is a huge organ that wasn’t being played.
Eventually 12:00 was upon us and the time came to visit the New England Aquarium. I wonder what we’ll see here!? Lions? Tigers? Bears? Ohh my, no. It’s all about the fishies, small and large. The outer perimeter of the square building is primarily full of small to medium size tanks with all manner of fresh and saltwater fish like these:
In the lower levels and outside are some new exhibits that allow you to touch some small manta rays and sharks. While this is probably mostly meant for children, there were plenty of adults that were getting touchy-feely too. On the plus side, there are aquarium employees around to make sure there aren’t any attacks. Of course, by attacks I don’t mean little children getting their fingers lopped off, I mean they’re there to keep small grabby hands from harming the docile little fish.
Outside there is a team of seals. These may not be the type of seals that protect us from evil in so many movies, but they are much cuter!
Let’s go back inside now and talk about what will probably always be the main attraction here. In the center of the building is a cute little fish tank. I’ve heard it’s only about 23 feet tall by 40 feet across and holds somewhere around 200,000 gallons of assorted fish, coral and salty water. So maybe it’s a little bigger than I let on. Huge would probably be a better word to describe it.
Because the depth of clear water is deceptive, when you look downward from the open top you don’t realize just how far down it goes. However as you start to make your way down the spiral ramp, there are many windows where you can stop to stare at all the sharks, huge green eels, the coral reef, an 80 year old turtle, and so many other things. Because of the curved tank and the fact that each window is surrounded by concrete, you sometimes get surprised when you can’t see what’s coming around the edge of the tank and then a huge fish suddenly appears inches from the glass to ruin your photo.
While the tank is probably the most impressive part of this destination, we can’t really talk about the New England Aquarium without also talking about the cute little penguins that inhabit most of the lower level of the building. Most of them are pretty cute and surprisingly awkward when they are out of the water, especially when they’re attempting to climb. Penguins may be my spirit animal.
Following the aquarium and a quick trip to the IMAX theater (which was less impressive than I remember as a child) for a video about the Galápagos Islands, we made our way back to the Mazda3 and set course for home. Along the way we did stop off for one of those inexpensive 99-restaurant burgers.
And that, my friends, is how we celebrated New Years Eve and our fifth anniversary in one trip!
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