New England Aquarium & Boston Library

Trip Start Feb 17, 2012
Trip End Feb 19, 2012

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What I did
Boston Public Library
Read my review - 5/5 stars
New England Aquarium Boston
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Saturday, February 18, 2012

We awoke to a kind of a rainy, colder day on Saturday. We decided to plan a day indoors and keep an eye on the weather for potential outdoor activities.  The New England Aquarium would be our morning destination.  We jumped on the subway and headed for the "Thinking Cup" where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of Oatmeal with lots of toppings and their unique coffee. The ambiance was that of a college town vibe (duh! guess how many colleges are in Boston? – 52!).  Seating – not so much.  Hopefully, when you go, it will be a nice day and you can sit in the nearby Boston Common.

I had hoped to take a boat tour of Boston Harbor while we were there. Unfortunately, there are no tours or ferries that run during the winter months.  The only ferries that run are to support commuters during the work week.  The boat ride to Salem where I thought about spending a leisurely afternoon would have to wait for spring or summer.  The Aquarium is located on the edge of Boston Harbor, so we got a slight view of the waterfront.

At the Aquarium, there are more than 70 exhibits featuring aquatic animals from around the world. There were African penguins as we entered and we felt the smooth wing of a Cownose Ray in the “touching” pond.  We then wound our way around the four-story Giant Ocean Tank which is home to a huge Caribbean coral reef. We went out back to see the Northern fur seals in action in their open-air exhibit.  There was this crazy seal who grabbed this water hose and swam around the outside pool spraying water up in the air and trying to drink it!  Check out the video!  Casey loved the turtles.  I thought the sharks and rays were awesome.

After touring the Aquarium and working up a healthy appetite for some seafood (har har), we took the subway back to the North End area near where we left off our Freedom Trail.  The North End is a neighborhood of Boston which has the distinction of being the city's oldest residential community.  People have lived continuously there since it was settled in the 1630s. Although small, the neighborhood has approximately 100 eating establishments, and a variety of tourist attractions. It is known as the city's Little Italy.

Due to its high rating on Trip Advisor, we first tried to get in for lunch to “Neptune Oyster” where they took our cell phone number and promised to call us in about 30 minutes when our table would be available.  We went window shopping and I checked back 20 minutes later to discover that we had not yet advanced on the list –at all.  There is not much seating at the Neptune and we were hungry - lets go for Plan B.  By the time they called me, we were waiting on our appetizers at “The Daily Catch”.  This place was advertised as small and worth the wait.  Well, they got that right.  It was small.  It was expensive for what you got, food was not really all that special, and they only accept cash.  

With the weather still a bit bracing, we took the subway back to the hotel.  The Boston Public Library is located between the subway stop and the hotel.  So we dashed inside to view what some call “Beauty and the Beast”.

Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library (BPL) was the first large free municipal library in the United States. The BPL's first building of its own was a former schoolhouse that was opened to the public on March 20, 1854. The present Copley Square location has been home to the library since 1895, when architect Charles Follen McKim completed his "palace for the people" - now called the McKim building (Aka “Beauty”).  In 1972 the library expanded its location with the opening of an addition designed by Philip Johnson. Today, the Johnson building (Aka “The Beast”).  We enter “Beauty” and find an amazing treasure.  The pictures speak 1,000 words.  I took no pictures of “The Beast”.
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