We’re nearing the end of our time in the Boston area and making our final choices about what we can see while here – there’s way more than we can experience in just three weeks! I’ve had Adams National Historical Park on the itinerary, but was honestly toying with the idea of skipping it. Character Queen, however, was very excited about seeing where the two Presidents Adams lived, so we followed through on our plans today and traveled to Quincy. I am SO glad we did! Besides the fact that we learned a lot and had a great time exploring Adams history, we also had the pleasure of meeting this amazing family:
Theo (named after Teddy Roosevelt, who started the National Park system, and happens to share Theo’s birthday) and Meadow (named after Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park) spend their summers traveling in an RV to various national parks. These are only SOME of the Junior Ranger badges they have earned!! Amazing! I would have loved to talk with them and their parents for a long time, but we unfortunately met right before starting our tour, and they were on a later tour. I’m eager, however, to start following their adventures on facebook!
If you don’t know what the Junior Ranger program is, and you have kids between ages 5-13, you need to know! At pretty much every national park, memorial, seashore, etc., kids can pick up an activity book from a park ranger. Sometimes there’s a different book for different age groups, sometimes it’s one book but younger kids have fewer pages to do. The kids have to do a certain number of activities in the book, and sometimes they also have to attend tours led by a park ranger or something like that. The activities are everything from drawing pictures to word searches to finding detailed facts about the site and writing them down. After the kids have completed their tasks, they show their work to a park ranger and recite the Junior Ranger pledge (about protecting parks and such). They are then presented with a badge. All of ours are plastic or wooden, but Theo and Meadow were showing us a lot of fabric badges they’ve received as well. So basically, the kids get a free fun activity book and a free souvenir badge of every park they visit! It really helps them focus in and learn things in the park that they may have otherwise missed.
Also, if you have a fourth grader, you can get an Every Kid In A Park card, and the whole family gets in national parks for free!
We’ve been to some places that we wouldn’t have discovered if it hadn’t been for the Junior Ranger program. For instance, New Bedford, MA has been one of our favorite places to visit so far, and I wouldn’t have even known about it if I hadn’t seen that they have Junior Ranger there!
The gift shop of this park is also set up as a waiting area for the trolly tour, so it had dress-up clothes and other fun things for kids.
Like many of the historic homes we’ve visited in Massachusetts, photos were not allowed inside, but I can at least show you the outside of the places we visited today. As always, hover over the pics or click on them to read captions.
CQ was also thrilled to walk up a flight of steps in The Old House and find a bust of Lafayette staring at her! Our tour guide said it was a shame that she didn’t know of CQ’s love of Lafayette earlier, because she could have shared more stories of him! She did tell about him coming to visit one time. She said he and John Adams spent all day in the parlor (it has a specific name, but I can’t remember now) shaking hands with all the many, many people who wanted to meet him. CQ LOVES being in places where all the tour guides and reenactors not only know who Lafayette is, but know personal stories of him related to where we are!