Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting the USS Constitution (or Old Iron Side) with Kids

The Freedom Trail is pretty well split into two parts, the city part, where everything is pretty close together - you can easily see many famous buildings in a short amount of time, and the monument part (I guess I'll call it?)...

To get to this second half/monument part you walk away from the main city, over a huge bridge and then are rewarded by seeing the USS Constitution and the Beacon Hill Monument, which are fairly close together.

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting the USS Constitution (or Old Iron Side) with Kids

The USS Constitution, or Old Iron Side, is the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy.  In order to keep her title she has to sail at least one nautical mile every year, so on Independent Day they sail her half a mile out into the harbor and half a mile back in. She was also named by President George Washington after the constitution of the United States.

USS Constitution (or Old Iron Side) plaque
The ship was incredible, and fierce.  It totally looked like a pirate ship, and you could walk onto it and see the different levels.  Mostly I just felt like barking orders and saying "Land Ho" which my husband might have found a little obnoxious.  :)

In any case being able to walk all over the ship and explore it's nooks and crannies was something I had been missing out on and is easily my new favorite part of the Freedom Trail.

Things to Note:

USS Constitution (or Old Iron Side) rigging
1) Price
Free... with a suggested donation.  This amazing ship is sitting in the harbor just waiting to be visited by you and yours at whatever price you fancy... or don't fancy.  You can walk through the gift/shop museum, then past the navy officers stations at the ship right onto the boat.  No charge, but an amazing chance to walk around a very cool ship.

2) Identification
Because this is still a navel ship they require some form of identification for anyone over 18.  This can be in the form of a passport, driver's license, or state issued ID, and you will have to pass through a security check.

3) Stroller Friendliness
You can bring your stroller through the gift shop, but not onto the ship.  We were able to leave ours with one of the navy people stationed outside the gift shop and we carried our son onto the ship.  It makes a lot of sense since once you're on the ship there is no space for a stroller and it would be impossible or at least very dangerous to try to bring one up and down the steep ship stairs.

USS Constitution (or Old Iron Side) boat ship
4) Child Friendliness
Yes!  They love kids and they love seeing children being able to explore the ship.  There are giant wheels to see, cannons, port holes and all sorts of interesting things to touch, but you will be on a ship so you'll want to keep an eye on your little ones to make sure they don't try to climb on anything to dangerous.

5) Parking
Off street parking is available at the Nautica Parking Garage, located at 88 Constitution Road, Charlestown, MA 02129 (Validation is available at the museum and the National Park Service Visitors Center). The Museum is few minutes walk from the garage. Street and metered parking are available around the area.

USS Constitution (or Old Iron Side) boat ship
Summary and Rating: ★★★★★

Five Stars. I thought this ship was amazing!  I loved being able to walk around and both touch and see it, and being able to do it all at the price I choose was great.  The ship was amazing and though my son was fairly little at the time I think he is only going to be more and more interested in seeing it as he grows older.  I would highly suggest walking the second half of the Freedom Trail to experience this gem.

Have you been here before?  If so I'd love to know more about your experience and any tips or tricks you have in the comments section below. 

USS Constitution, or Old Iron Side
Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 22
Charlestown, MA 02129

Phone: 617.426.1812

 Museum Hours 
 April 01 – October 31 Open Daily | 9:00 – 6:00
 November 01 – March 31 Open Daily | 10:00 – 5:00

USS Constitution Hours 
October 1 – October 28 Open Tuesday – Friday | 2:30 – 5:00 Open Saturday – Sunday | 10:00 – 5:00 Closed Mondays
October 29 – March 13 Open Saturday & Sunday | 10:00 – 4:00* Closed Monday – Friday, *Last tour leaves at 3:30