Family fun for free in Boston

August 04, 1996|By HARTFORD COURANT

From the Freedom Trail, the Black Heritage Trail and the Women's Heritage Trail to the Public Garden, there are dozens of sights that don't cost a cent.

A free 48-page guide, "Kids Love Boston," available from the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, contains many free sights and events around the city and dozens of sights with admission fees. Call (800) 888-5515.

Some free sights and events:

The Mapparium at the Church of Christ Scientist is like stepping into the middle of a 30-foot-in-diameter glass Earth. Although the political boundaries are obsolete (they date to 1932), the time zones, ocean depths and land surfaces remain true. The brilliant colors inside the stained-glass globe are intensified by hundreds of small lights. And the acoustics are so amazing that a whisper on one side can be heard at the other.

The USS Constitution, launched in 1797, offers free tours of the ship at the Charlestown Navy Yard, 9: 30 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m.

Parks and playgrounds that are perfect for picnicking include the Esplanade, which runs along the banks of the Charles River.

Several play areas feature swings, slides and jungle gyms.

During the summer, the mayor's office will offer free outdoor concerts on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

On Wednesdays, it's '40s music at City Hall Plaza; Thursdays it's soft rock, Fridays it's jazz and Saturdays it's popular music.

Friday Flicks is a chance for families to enjoy a recent hit family movie on a giant screen in the river-front park where the Boston Pops play their outdoor concerts.

The famous rides on the swan boats are practically free -- 75 cents for children and $1.25 for adults -- in the Public Garden lagoon. Since the boats made their debut in 1877, the pedal-powered 12-minute ride on the swan boats has been a popular family treat.

Pub Date: 8/04/96

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