Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston’s First Lady, Angela Menino, will host the first ride of the season as the Swan Boats open at the Public Garden Lagoon at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 14.
“We had such a mild winter that spring is here ahead of schedule,” said Mayor Menino. “Come on down to the Public Garden and celebrate the warm weather with a ride on the Swan Boats.”
During the speaking program before the swan boats are launched, Mayor Menino is scheduled to unveil a family-friendly map of the Public Garden and Boston Common created by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The map highlights local sites to visit including the Frog Pond, Brewer Fountain, Tadpole Playground, the Museum of African American History, and a 200-year-old English Elm.
Mayor Menino will be joined on the first ride of the year with students from several Boston Public Schools including the Ellis Mendell Elementary School in Roxbury, the Conley Elementary School in Roslindale, and the John Winthrop Elementary School in Back Bay. The students drew pictures in art class of the swan boats and their work was randomly selected from all the drawings made. All of the artwork depicting the swan boats will be on display at Boston City Hall in the second floor corridors during the month of May.
This annual rite is made possible thanks to the Paget family, owners and operators of the Swan Boats first launched in 1877 by English immigrant and shipbuilder Robert Paget. Mr. Paget designed the Swan Boats after attending the opera Lohengrin in New York City. At the end of the opera, the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan.
2012 marks the 136th season for the Swan Boats. The oldest and smallest boat in the fleet just celebrated its 101st season, while the newest was launched in 1993. The swan on today’s boats is made from either copper or fiberglass, depending on the age of the boat, and encloses a paddle mechanism that is used to propel the boat through the water.
Fully loaded, each Swan Boat weighs three tons and carries up to twenty passengers. The Swan Boats are built on copper-clad pontoons that contain air tanks to keep them afloat. After being stored in a safe place for the winter, the boats are returned to the Public Garden Lagoon in the spring with Mayor Menino and his young guests celebrating the first ride of the season.
For more information, please visit the Swan Boats of Boston online at www.swanboats.com or call (617) 522-1966.