5-20-2016: Boston, Massachusetts

Today we went whale watching, went to the New England Aquarium and the Science Museum and went up the Prudential Building to the observation deck.

Whale Watching

After breakfast we headed to the dock by subway. Our Boston Go Pass allowed us to do a Whale Watching Tour. we boarded the ship and sailed out to an area about 25 miles off the coast where whales tend to be. There were three Naturalists guiding the excursion. They took notes as we went and recorded sightings of any spouts that we saw. They did this because they are, in addition to guides, part of a research project into whales in the area. We spotted the spout of a Fin Whale. We sailed towards it and when we got near, we cut the engines because you can’t track the whales underwater and you can’t know where they will come up again. The whale stayed close to the ship for almost an hour diving up and down. I got a few bad pictures, but I mainly watched it. At times it was a few minutes between surfacing a, but sometimes it was fairly close together.

After a while, that whale left the area and we moved on to try and find another whale. We saw two others, but they swam away really quickly. After about an hour and a half, we headed back to Boston. In all, the tour took nearly 4 hours, but it was really cool to be able to see whales.

Aquarium

When we got back, we went to the aquarium which is right next to the dock. It was like most aquariums: lots of fishes and other water animals. One cool thing was the Penguins who were being fed while we were there. We also watched a sea lion and seal demonstration which was neat.

Science Museum

After the aquarium, we went to the Science Museum by subway (we really made our 7 day unlimited passes pay off). (The Science Museum is also part of our Boston Go Pass. We are getting our money’s worth out of that as well.) There were a bunch of displays, most of what you would normally expect in a science museum. One of the coolest things though was these displays where they had models of simple mechanical machines such as watch gears. There were also displays on mapmaking and sound waves. There was a spot where you could play with shadows and see how large the shadows were when you placed the object at different distances from the light source. I was able to use my Physics II knowledge to calculate the height of the magnification of the shadow given the distance from the light source to the object and the distance from the light source to the projection screen.

Prudential Observation Deck

From the science museum we rode the subway to the Prudential Center where there is an observation deck. It was difficult to find, you had to go inside of a mall and find the correct place then you had to go down an escalator to the basement and take an elevator up to the 50th floor. We got an audio guide which explained some of the things in the city that we were seeing. We could see downtown Boston, the Boston airport, Boston Harbor, Fenway Stadium, Central Park and a myriad of other sites. It was neat to get a bird’s eye (literally) view of the city.

Views of the Boston Skyline from the Whale Watching Boat (top) and the Prudential Center (bottom)
Views of the Boston Skyline from the Whale Watching Boat (top) and the Prudential Center (bottom)

Boston Cream Pie

At this point we were pretty tired so we went back to the hotel (by subway again) and found some dinner nearby. They we got Boston Cream Pie from the Omni Parker House cafe. The Omni Parker House is where the Boston Cream Pie was invented, so we had to at least try it since that was where we were staying. It wasn’t anything impressive. The outside was covered in coconut shavings and neither mom nor I are fond of coconut so we didn’t think it was amazing. But now we can say that we ate Boston Cream Pie from the place that it was invented.

The Omni Parker House has some really interesting history. It is the longest continuously run hotel in America and it has hosted some very famous people including Charles Dickens. Ho Chi Minh, founder of the Communist Party in Vietnam worked as a pastry chef at the Omni Parker House. If you get a chance, Google it, it’s an interesting place.

Anyway, that was about it for the day. Mom worked on settling a few details on a couple things at the tail end of our vacation and I worked on my blog. Tomorrow we board our cruise and set sail for Bermuda. The day after tomorrow is a sea day, so I will definitely have time to catch up on my blog.

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