The Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, near Charles and Beacon Streets, is the Boston Public Gardens’ most famous attraction. The duck-size bronze statues of Mrs. Mallard leading Zack, Nack, Quack, and the rest of her brood is a must see attraction for children of all ages.
Inspired by Robert McCluskey’s book about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their adventures while finding a safe place to hatch and raise their offspring in and around the Public Garden, the sculpture depicts Mrs. Mallard and her 8 little ducklings.
The quaint story of the mallard family’s search for the perfect place to hatch ducklings. Once the ducklings learn to walk in a straight line, they stroll past famous Boston landmarks into the Public Garden. For 75 years kids have been entertained by this warm and wonderful story.
When Mr. and Mrs. Mallard need a proper home to raise a family, they scour all of Boston’s prominent spots. However, from Beacon Hill to the State House to Louisburg Square, nothing seems quite right — until they find a small island in the Charles River that is perfect. After settling in, they take a trip to the park, where they meet a very nice policemen who feds them peanuts.
“When they came to the corner of Beacon Street […] The policemen held back the traffic so Mrs. Mallard and the ducklings could march across the street, right on into the Public Gardens.” – Robert McCloskey Make Way for Ducklings
Designed by Boston-area sculptor, Nancy Schön, the bronze image of the entire family proudly walking in line is a classic.
But there’s a lot more to Boston Public Garden than just the duckling statues. The Boston Public Garden was established in 1837 as the first public botanical garden in the United States. Originally a salt marsh, it is now one of Boston’s most scenic attractions. Its 24 acres are home to numerous flowerbeds, fountains, statues, ponds and walkways. It is a great place to take a nice leisurely stroll, catch some sun, interact with wildlife, listen to music, and enjoy the city. The Public Garden is a great way to escape the city without actually leaving.
The Public Garden is also surrounded by other iconic Boston attractions including the Boston Commons, Quincy Market and Copley Square. It doesn’t take much to see most of the sites featured in Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s book.
Once you’ve seen the Ducklings statues, stroll over to the Public Garden’s Lagoon and go for a tranquil 15-minute Swan Boat ride. The Swan Boats have been in operation since 1877 and have since become a cultural icon for the city. They operate beginning the second weekend of April and ending the third weekend in September. On the ride you’ll see famous Mallard Island, populated by present day descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s brood.
The Boston Public Garden is located in the heart of the city so it is easily accessible by public transportation. A day in the park is a great free, family-friendly activity while in Boston.
Urban parks are great places for families to visit on vacation. They’re free, give children a chance to burn off energy, and adults a chance to unwind. An added bonus is often hidden gems like this sculpture that celebrates a beloved children’s story. Another example of this is Grant Park in Portland, Oregon.