Visiting with Children

October 1, 2017
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Mount Auburn is a great place to explore with children of all ages. Our plants, trees, wildlife, and monuments offer plenty to see. There are many interesting people buried here, from the inventor of jellybeans to beloved children’s books authors. And everyone enjoys the panoramic vista of Boston from Washington Tower!

Below, find some tips and suggestions for enjoying this special place together.


Know Before You Go

Most of Mount Auburn’s visitor amenities, including our public restrooms and Visitors Center, can be found just inside our Mount Auburn Street Entrance. You can also find printed guides designed just for our youngest visitors at both the Visitors Center and the racks in our Entrance Gate.

Mount Auburn is not your typical park, and our Visitor Guidelines help protect all that makes Mount Auburn special. You can help us to preserve Mount Auburn by leaving your bikes and scooters at home, leaving your pets at home, and eating before you arrive. And, for your safety and their protection, don’t climb on the monuments or trees and keep a safe distance from all of our resident wildlife.

Reviewing the rest of our Visitor Guidelines and Visitor Amenities will help you know what to expect when you arrive. 


What To Bring

The best way to see Mount Auburn is on foot, so make sure you are wearing your walking shoes. It is also a great idea to bring your reusable water bottle, especially if visiting on a warm day.  

You’re very likely to encounter many different species of wildlife. If you have them, bring your binoculars and field guides to identify some of what you see. If you are coming in search of birds, make sure you check the Bird Sightings Board at our Entrance Gate to see what is being seen and where. 

Our grounds are picturesque and full of inspiration. Bring sketchpads, pencils, or crayons so that your children can capture their visit. Or encourage older children to document their visit with a camera or smartphone. 

Speaking of smartphones: If your itinerary includes exploring our gardens or locating a particular grave, our entire collection of trees and plants(more than 15,000 plants!) and all of our burial records (more than 100,000!) are available for searching right from your phone. 


What To See and Do

One of the best ways to explore Mount Auburn is to do so with an open mind and without a planned agenda. That said, the Cemetery is quite large (175 acres), and it is impossible to see everything in a single visit. Having a general idea of what you want to see will help you make the most of your time.

Involve your children in the planning of your visit to ensure everyone has a rewarding experience. Explore our online map together to learn more about what there is to see. Review the list of available family guides (below) for different ways to explore our many resources. Then ask them what seems most interesting.


Family-Friendly Guides

Printed guides and activities for our youngest visitors can be picked up from the Entrance Gate or at our Visitors Center whenever the grounds are open to the public.  

Seasonal Bingo Activities

No matter when you visit Mount Auburn, there is plenty to see, hear, and even smell. These activity guides (one for each season) invite you to use your senses while exploring our 175 acres. (Ages 2 – 6)

Family Nature Guide

Artist, naturalist, and educator Clare Walker Leslie shares some of her favorite spots at Mount Auburn and her secrets for observing, drawing, and writing about nature. (Ages 6+)

A Walk Through Mount Auburn

With this special map designed just for them, children can learn more about Mount Auburn’s historic landscape and some of its most popular landmarks. (Ages 6 – 10)


A Few Additional Suggestions

Looking for even more ideas? Here are a few other ways to provide some structure to your visit: 

Play “I Spy”

Mount Auburn is an excellent place for a great game of “I Spy.” Between plants and trees offering a rainbow of colors and buildings and monuments adorned with a myriad of shapes and symbols, there are plenty of things to “spy” and discover.

Practice Letter Recognition

The thousands upon thousands of monuments at Mount Auburn are perfect for a version of the alphabet game. Though it is very tempting for children to trace these letters with their fingers, many of the memorials are more fragile than they might seem. Please help us to protect them by not touching the monuments.

Practice Counting

Another fun activity for children is practicing their counting skills. For younger children, it might be counting the number of petals on a flower or the number of points on a leaf. For slightly older children, an extra challenge would be counting the number of steps it takes to climb to the top of Washington Tower.

Journal

Young naturalists, artists, and poets will find plenty of inspiration at every turn. Though there is no wrong place for this activity, any one of our ponds would make a great place to try journaling activities, as there are plenty of plants, animals, and insects to see. Plus, each of these locations has benches for sitting.

We hope that you enjoy your visit and that you’ll return soon. Each time you come, the Cemetery will look slightly different, and you are guaranteed to see new things!


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