Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II with Kids

In addition to visiting the Plimouth Plantation I would highly recommend continuing the adventure by visiting Plymouth Rock (Free... though... not as impressive as I was expecting) and the Mayflower II.

Plymouth Rock is a fairly small rock, I feel like my toddler could have climbed it, surrounded by a monument and a bunch of fences.  It about a thirty second tour and then you've seen it and there is not much else to be done.

What to Know About Visiting Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II with Kids

On the other hand Plymouth Rock is located on the same beach as the Mayflower II, which is worth a tour.  The Mayflower II is a replica of the original ship (Mayflower).  It was also built in England and sailed to Plymouth.  The ship was tiny!  The original ship had 130 passengers and we learned that the pilgrims all had to stay below decks (100 or so of them) along with all the animals they brought (goats, chickens & dogs.) They ended up landing at Plymouth in December (brrr) and then dying off due to exposure.  Only two people died while sailing over, and half of all the passengers and crew members died after they landed. Yikes!  All in all they ended up trapped on the ship and below decks for 7 months, though sailing there only took 2 months... the rest of the hardship was finding somewhere to live and building shelters.

Plymouth Rock
I learned (probably relearned since I'm sure my history teachers covered it along the way at some point) this from the actors on the boat telling their stories, which were fantastic.  The sleeping space looked awful and tiny, and I am shocked only two people died on the way over... I would have suspected a lot more murders with them being confined to that tiny space.

After we walked around the Mayflower II we decided to take a short walk up the city hill to the local cemetery.  Along the way we were able to see some of the original house and the cemetery was where the first pilgrims were buried.   We ended our tour with a quick run through the grist mill and then we all needed some time off our feet, trying to see the Plimouth/Plymouth Plantation, Mayflower II and Grist Mill all in one day is a fairly exhausting endeavor...

Things to Note:

Mayflower II actors in costume
1) Parking
There are free and paid areas to park, and you can ask where they are when you buy your tickets.  When we went to see the Mayflower II we ended up parking by the Grist Mill and walking a 1/2 mile or so to the ship.  We were happy to do it because the trail was really scenic and we were able to drop by Plymouth Rock along the way.

2) Pricing
There are a bunch of options for pricing depending on how many of the Plymouth attractions you want to see.  They range in scope from about $20 - $30/Person.  You can find out more here:

3) Stroller Friendliness
This part of the Plymouth experience was not very stroller friendly.  We took our stroller on the 1/2 mile walk from our car to the Mayflower II, but from there on you will need to either have someone stay behind with your stroller/young child or you will need to give your stroller to the people at the desk to keep an eye on and carry your child onto the ship.

4) Child Friendliness
Again this part of the tour was not super baby/toddler friendly.  Seeing a lot of the ship requires you to be able to move up and down some fairly steep/narrow stairways and your child/children will likely need a fair amount of help to do it safely.

5) The Experience
The Mayflower II is populated with actors portraying people that actually traveled on the Mayflower.  They spend the time going about their daily business, talk in accents, and answer questions as if they were actually there.  I thought it was a really fun way to learn more about the Mayflower and what conditions on board were like.  I also really liked talking to the woman on the ship and finding out that her parents sent her away on the ship to find a husband... and mostly to get rid of her.  It was both horrible and fascinating learning about that kind of culture.

Summary and Rating ★★★★☆

Four Stars.  This was a fairly expensive history lesson, but one of the best and most engaging I've had.  Being about the see people dressed from the time period and interacting with them was a blast.  I loved being able to direct this history lesson and learn more about the things that I though were interesting in the form of personal conversation, rather than reading similar things from a information card.  Again the Mayflower II allows children, and mine really enjoyed being able to touch things and walk around, but they are going to need a fair amount of supervision while on the boat.

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. 

Plimouth Grist Mill
6 Spring Lane
Plymouth, MA 02360

Plimouth Plantation's Mayflower II
State Pier (across from 74 Water Street)
Plymouth, MA 02360

Phone: 508.746.1622