Duckling Day Parade

Boston's Best Mothers Day Event

Boston's Duckling Day Parade - 2020

The Cutest Mother's Day Event in Boston!

Boston's Duckling Day Parade provides the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day when your child reaches a certain age - perhaps 18 months - and even younger if you're willing to carry your little duckling.

The Duckling Day Parade commemorates Robert McCluskey's classic children's book, Make Way for Ducklings, set here in Boston and made even more special by our Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden.

The parade begins in Boston Common and traces the path taken by Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their flock of 8 recently hatched ducklings as they search for the perfect place in the city to bring them up, which turns out to be Mallard Island in the middle of the Lagoon in the Public Garden.

As a doting mom or dad, you get to dress up your own offspring in something yellow and fuzzy, and parade with them.

For parents, there's no sweeter Mother's Day treat than seeing your own adorable baby duckling march - or toddle - in this annual parade.

More about Mothers Day Events in Boston

Make Way for Ducklings statues in Boston

You need to do the Duckling Parade while your children are still young because once they're old enough to realize what they look like while wearing yellow fuzzy outfits, they'll rebel and refuse to participate.

You'll probably have the best success in getting your children to dress like ducklings when they're about 5 or under - although you'll see plenty of 7, 8, and perhaps even 9 year olds gamely marching along with their younger siblings in the parade.  Once they reach that age, you might want to take pity and settle for letting them wear a yellow t-shirt.

More things to do in Boston on Mother's Day

What to Expect at the Duckling Day Parade

Duckling Day Parade - Harvard Brass Band leads the march

Duckling Day Parade participants assemble near the Shaw Memorial (across from the Massachusetts State House) on Boston Common, typically at 10:30am on Mother's Day (confirm the time and other details by checking the Boston Event Calendar for May). 

You need to register and pay a small fee, which covers the cost of music, snacks, and a goodie bag with duck-themed gifts for each child in the family.

While this is going on, you'll hear some great music by the Harvard Marching Band. 



Duckling Day Parade - Officer Michael greets the children

Be sure to look for Officer Michael (portrayed by a member of the Boston Police Force).  

Duckling Day Parade - ducklings and their parents start lining up for the parade

After you register, you can start lining up for the parade - although this usually takes awhile.

The parade begins its journey across Boston Common at about noon, led by Officer Michael and the band. 

Just like in the book, Officer Michael stops the traffic on Charles Street so that you can safely walk across to the Public Garden. 

Duckling Day Parade - Park Ranger on horsback and admiring fans

As an extra highlight, a police officer on horseback may join the festivities - always a huge hit!

The parade continues to the Lagoon, where Wheelock Family Theater actors read Make Way for Ducklings to the children, and everyone enjoys snacks.

Duckling Day Parade - Carousel on Boston Common after the parade

After the parade finishes, you can walk back over to Boston Common and go for a ride on the carousel.

Q & A:  Where to Buy Duckling Costumes for the Parade

Question:  I'm planning to come to the Duckling Day Parade.  Where can I get Duck outfits for my children?

Thanks, Sandy

Boston Discovery Guide's Answer:  Check out these adorable duckling costumes available on Amazon (#ad):

They make cute Halloween costumes too!  

Kids grow up fast - so enjoy the opportunity to dress them up like adorable ducklings while you still can. 

Hotels near the Duckling Day Parade on Boston Common & the Public Garden

Coming into Boston for the Duckling Day Parade on Mother's Day?  Turn it into a weekend celebration by staying at one of the luxury hotels overlooking Boston Common and the Public Garden, such as the beautiful Taj Hotel:

View from Taj Boston Hotel

Not only will you get some serious pampering along with gorgeous views, but your children will have the joy of playing in these beautiful parks just steps from your hotel lobby.

More luxury hotels across from the Public Garden and Boston Common:

More about hotels near Boston Common and the Public Garden

For hotels only a block away, where you typically may find lower rates, try these:

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More about how to save on Boston hotels

More Activities after the Duckling Day Parade

If you still have energy after the parade and no one has had a meltdown or needs a nap, try these fun activities:

1. Go for a swan boat ride on the Lagoon in the Public Garden and see Mallard Island up close

2. Walk over to the Make Way for Ducklings statues and take lots of photos

3. Take a spin on the carousel or spend some time at Tadpole Playground on Boston Common

4. Get something to eat - Good child-friendly choices nearby these fun restaurants in Boston's Chinatown

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