When they were little, my kids loved to go to the park with Grandpa to feed the ducks. They got such a kick out of watching the ducks clamor to get the bits of bread. It was a fun thing to do, didn’t cost a cent (except for the old bread), and gave everybody a reason to get a bit of exercise and fresh air.
Last week, we discovered that this innocent pastime is not on the approved list of things to do with kids at some New York parks.
On a gloriously sunny winter day, we strolled through a nearly empty Historic Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, NY, admiring the Victorian era architecture and the elaborate water spigots of the fabled mineral springs. At least that’s what I was doing. My son, on the other hand, was chasing the ducks. Or, were they chasing him?
The resident population of mallard ducks is a very friendly bunch, but I suspect they have ulterior motives. There are a lot of them, and as the winter progresses, the natural food supply is not enough to keep them in fine feathers. These fine fellows would love to encourage the kiddos to come on out for a spot of feed-the-ducks.
Park authorities have other plans, and have posted several warning signs stating:
PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE DUCKS. Due to overpopulation of ducks, we must cut the size of the flock in our park. Please help!
It’s hard to ignore hungry ducks, but we did our part by not feeding this flock. There was one sign, however, with a request that we did ignore:
More photos from Saratoga Springs’ Congress Park.
Albany Aqua Ducks & Trolleys – When the Hudson River thaws in Spring, the amphibious tours are a popular Albany attraction. Back in 2007, my Girl Scout troop had a blast on a pirate-theme splash adventure, but there are several themes available. During the Winter, you can also book trolley tours of Albany or Bethlehem.
Make Way For Duckling Tours – On your next day trip to Boston, consider booking the Make Way For Duckling Tour through the State House and Public Garden.
Or, read aloud Robert McCloskey’s Caldecott Award Book, Make Way For Ducklings, and take the kids to see the ducks in Congress Park. The children won’t care that it’s not the actual site of the storybook, they’ll just love following the ducks even if they can’t feed them.
Sandra Foyt | Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @SandraFoyt.