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Swan Boats are back in the water for the 2017 season

Take a leisurely ride around the Public Garden lagoon in one of these iconic boats.
Swan Boats
Swan Boats at the Boston Public Garden. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Bill Damon


Rejoice, Bostonians, for here’s another sign that spring has officially arrived: The Swan Boats are back.

Saturday marks the start of the 2017 Swan Boats season at the Public Garden and the 141st year that the iconic boats have ferried tourists and locals alike around the lagoon.

Mayor Marty Walsh will host the first Swan Boat ride at 11:30 a.m. on April 15, joined by students from Boston Public Schools like Roxbury's Ellis Mendell Elementary School and Higginson/Lewis K-8 School, the city Parks and Recreation department announced.

The boats are owned and operated by the Paget family. Robert Paget, an Irish immigrant and shipbuilder, designed the Swan Boats after attending an opera in New York City called "Lohengrin." At the end of the opera, “the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan,” according to the parks department.

The first boats were originally constructed in 1877. The oldest boats still in operation are also the smallest and have been used for 106 seasons, according to the city. The newest boats were launched in 1993.

Each Swan Boat can carry up to 20 passengers and weigh 3 tons when fully loaded. Rides cost $3.50 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $2 for children between 2 and 15 years old. Children under 2 ride for free.

Boat rides last about 15 minutes around the picturesque Public Garden Lagoon and are powered by the pedalling of each boat’s driver.

The Swan Boats season will extend until Sept. 17. It will be open every day, weather permitting.