Should Your Family Try the Boston CityPASS?

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With more and more cities offering a “city pass,” many families might be wondering if it is worth it. On a recent trip to Boston, we decided to grab city passes and ended up saving some money!

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What is it?        

The Boston CityPASS is a ticket that can work for admission to the city’s four major attractions – the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and either the Skywalk Observatory or the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Currently, a CityPASS is $49 for adults (ages 12+) and $36 for children (ages 3-11). Buyers also get nine consecutive days to visit the attractions, beginning on the first day of use.

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We got it for the day and focused on the four main sites within the city. Since Boston is a compact city, it is easy to get from place to place. We wanted a mixture of art, history, and animal interactions. Here’s what we got to see in one day.

Pros

Buying the CityPASS in advance saves visitors 46% off what they would pay if they paid for each attraction individually. Also, the CityPASS will also save time because it allows buyers to skip the ticket line.

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Cons

This card isn’t the best option for families who don’t want to visit a large number of attractions in a short amount of time since it is pricey.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

While the Museum of Fine Arts is not as interactive or kid friendly as the other local museums, they have family programs throughout the week, most of which are included in the admission cost. The exhibits change throughout the year and include paintings, photographs and sculptures from artists around the world, with a variety of themes.

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The museum is located at 465 Huntington Avenue. Their hours are 10 am – 4:45 pm Sat-Tue and 10 am – 9:45 pm Wed-Fri. Our son found the furniture exhibit interesting.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Weekday afternoons are the best time to visit to avoid crowds.
  • The museum has a café on-site, but limited parking.
  • The museum is wheelchair friendly. They also provide large type maps, ASL interpreters, and Assistive Listening Devices.

The Museum of Science

This museum is ideal for families who want to interact with the over 700 exhibits. There is something for everyone! Permanent exhibits include birds, butterflies, dinosaurs, the moon, math, engineering, and micro-robotics. The museum also has a 3D theater, a Planetarium, a Butterfly Garden, and a Theater of Electricity, some of which come with an additional fee.

The day we visited we got to see a traveling Pixar exhibit which delighted our son with autism.

The museum is located at 1 Science Park. It is open from 9 am – 5 pm most days.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • There is on-site parking, a café and gift shop.
  • Weekday afternoons are the best time to go to avoid crowds.
  • The museum is wheelchair and stroller friendly. They also offer assistive listening systems.
  • Families who require sighted guides or interpreters for a foreign language or ASL need to request the service two weeks in advance.

The New England Aquarium

Kids will enjoy looking for harbor seals on the Front Plaza and seeing Myrtle, a 550-pound sea turtle. The aquarium is kid friendly, with an interactive sea turtle exhibit and the largest “touch tank” on the east coast, with over 100 animals available for children to feel. There is also a whale-watching cruise from April-October for an additional fee.The aquarium is located at 1 Central Warf.

By the time we reached the Aquarium our son was somewhat burnt out, so we focused mainly on visiting the penguins before heading to the Wharf’s Legal Seafood for a late lunch. It is open Mon-Fri from 9 am – 5 pm, and on weekends and holidays until 6 pm.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • The aquarium has on-site parking and is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
  • There is a café on-site.
  • Personal photography is allowed.
  • The best time to visit to avoid crowds is as soon as the aquarium opens.

Skywalk Observatory

The Skywalk Observatory may be a bit frightening for those with a fear of heights, but well worth the trip to see a 360-degree view of the city. It is the only observatory in New England and is found on the fiftieth floor of the Prudential Center. Also at the Observatory is the Dreams of Freedom Museum, an educational experience to give children (and adults) a sense of not just Boston’s, but America’s cultural history through interactive exhibits.

We arrived late in the day to the Observatory which worked out well since visibility was better in the afternoon. Also, this stop was short since there wasn’t much to see except a short intro movie and the spectacular city views. However, we were thrilled to discover the Observatory was next to a great shopping mall that offered multiple dinner options.

This observatory is located at 800 Boylston Street. It is open daily from 10 am – 10 pm in the summer and from 10 am – 8 pm in the winter.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • The observatory is wheelchair accessible.Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando:Tmom Travel Disclosure
  • Families can get a self-guided audio tour.
  • Guests can enjoy the gift shop and restaurant on the fifty-second floor of the Prudential Center.
  • Due to weather and special events, the 360-degree view may not always be open. Parents should check the website or call before going.

Overall as a family with autism we found the pass helpful as it a fast way to visit several landmarks on the same day without standing in lines.

Have you tried the Boston passes? What was your experience?

 

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