If you’re visiting Boston with kids this summer, consider making the Omni Parker House your temporary home. Omni Hotels recently launched a new Camp Omni summer program that includes lots of extras for kids. I checked it out with my family last weekend and quickly learned that this program is a hit with kids …
Excellent location directly on the Freedom Trail and just a few blocks from Boston Common, the Public Garden and Faneuil Hall
When we arrived at the Ciao Bambino recommended Omni Parker House on Friday the staff greeted each child with a special Camp Omni backpack filled with snacks, hacky-sacks, Frisbees and lanyard beading sets. Also in the pack was an activity map with an easy-to-conquer scavenger hunt. After the kids found each item on the list (some were inside the hotel and others at nearby historic sites), they were rewarded with a Camp Omni stick-on badge and a worms-in-dirt (gummy worms in pudding) dessert cup.
Kids enjoy a free breakfast (buffet or off-the-menu) as part of the Camp Omni program
On Saturday, after the kids enjoyed a hearty breakfast (it’s free, thanks to the Camp Omni program), we joined a complimentary tour led by a local guide who shared fun stories about the hotel and fascinating guests like Charles Dickens, John F. Kennedy, President Clinton, and all-stars from the New England Patriots.
A funny thing about the Omni Parker House is that it’s a grand, luxurious, opulent hotel with an incredible history (it’s the oldest continually operating hotel in America), and yet it’s totally kid-friendly. The staff was always ready with a smile and seemed genuinely happy to accommodate my relatively large family.
Boston is filled with landmarks and events from the American Revolution, including this re-enactment of the Battle of Bunker Hill
The Omni Parker House has a primo location smack in the center of downtown Boston. Walk through its revolving doors and you’re standing on the painted brick pathway that is the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile brick-lined walk through historic Boston. Though my little one wasn’t quite ready to appreciate American history, my older ones got a kick out of seeing where the Declaration of Independence was signed, replicas of the Boston Tea Party ships and statues of figures like Paul Revere and George Washington scattered around the city.
My family loves big, open green spaces. (Whose doesn’t?) So it was totally convenient that the Omni Parker House was just a block or so from Beacon Hill, Boston Common and the Public Garden. After strolling around Charles Street and popping into a few shops for artisan chocolates and gelato, we all fell for the Public Garden, where the kids fed ducks, checked out the famous swan boats and climbed pint-size duck statues from Robert McCloskey’s classic book “Make Way for Duckling.” Then they tossed around a ball and frolicked around at the Common’s Tadpole Playground. It was great fun for all.
Later we popped over to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, a touristy Boston tradition that has street performers, shops and food that’s nice and close to the Omni.
But even better was the quick ride up the Prudential Building (locals know it as “The Pru”) to the 50th floor, where a Skywalk Observatory offers panoramic views of Boston from huge glass windows. We saw it all from here – 100-year-old Fenway Park, Boston Common, the Charles River and Harvard University in Cambridge.
Views of Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox) and beyond from Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Building (aka “The Pru”)
After these knockout views my family split up – my husband and son went for a tour of Fenway Park (usually running daily with no reservations necessary but call ahead to make sure they’re running that day) and my daughter, my preschooler and I walked to the Boston Children’s Museum. The giant milk jug at the entrance is always cool to look out but even better are the activities inside: a room devoted to bubble play, a gigantic three-story climbing apparatus and ball towers and slides.
A visit to the Franklin Park Zoo is a hit with kids of all ages thanks to an up-close experience with animals like giraffes, zebras and gorillas
On our last day in Boston we visited the Franklin Park Zoo. I’m not sure how they do it but they pack a whole lot of very cool animals (gorillas, zebras, giraffes, kangaroos, lions and wildebeest) into a relatively small area (which won’t exhaust the kids) and they’re all very close up.
Boston is a totally cool city – historic and modern at the same time. The food is good, the streets are walkable and the hotel we chose – the Omni Parker House – was just what the family needed.
Editorial Note: Kara received complimentary accommodations at the Omni Parker House. As always, the opinions expressed on Ciao Bambino are our own.
Kara Mayer Robinson is an award-winning writer published in Parents Magazine, American Baby, Pregnancy, Time Out New York and more. Photos by Kara Mayer Robinson
Mother-daughter family fun at Omni Berkshire Place Hotel New York City
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