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Out back, Northern fur seals and California sea lions cavort and Atlantic harbor seals swim out front.

Kids can actually hold sea stars and hermit crabs at the aquarium’s touch tank.

There was plenty of room for the crowds who came to hear speeches by everyone from Martin Luther King Jr.

to Pope John Paul II and for anti-war demonstrators.

Cattle once grazed on this green and British troops camped here.

In the 19th century Bostonians transformed the park with trees, statues, monuments and the 22-foot-tall ,bronze Brewer Fountain.

Colonel William Prescott’s famous command here, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” was to insure that each shot counted for the overmatched rebels, who bravely managed to repel two British assaults.

Three kinds of penguins, sharks, sea turtles and exotic lionfish and sea dragons are among the hundreds of varieties.

The show-stopper is the four-story Giant Ocean Tank showing off the colorful inhabitants of its Caribbean coral reef.

The Aquarium also shows nautical-themed films on New England’s largest I-Max screen. It introduced the first hands-on exhibits and Playspace, the first exhibit designed specifically for young children. There’s nothing quite like their New Balance Climb, a three-story enclosed vertical maze that challenges delighted kids to climb higher and find paths to climb out, all the while enjoying panoramas of downtown Boston through the wide windows. Live animal exhibits, an enclosed butterfly garden, planetarium shows and I-Max films are other offerings to fill out a visit. Families with younger children can come for the live animal story time for preschoolers held daily at am. Reviews Countless families have gotten a lively lesson in American history following the 2 1/2-mile, red-brick line of Boston’s Freedom Trail, where sites such as the Old South Meeting House,and Old State House bring to life the events that led to American Independence.

Other cultures can be explored with exhibits such as the walk-in Japanese House, an authentic two-story silk merchant’s home, a gift from the city of Kyoto. For young travelers,it’s probably better to do the trail in sections.

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