News & Events

A Summer Party — SOLD OUT!

July 23, 2014

A Summer Party July 23, 2014

The Friends of the Public Garden cordially invites you to attend
A Summer Party
to benefit our work in the Common, the Garden, and the Mall.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel • Bangkok Room
Wednesday, July 23 • 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Come celebrate summer with festive hors d’oeuvres drinks, and friends.

Tickets are not available at the door. This event is SOLD OUT.
Thank you to all who purchased tickets. We appreciate your support!

For questions, please call 617-723-8144.

Duckling Day

May 11, 2014

Duckling DayThank you to all who attended Duckling Day!  To view our photos on Facebook click here.

The Friends of the Public Garden would like to thank all of our partners who helped make Duckling Day a big success! Special thanks go to the sponsors listed below:

motor mart logo

Cambridge Trust Company
Next Step Living
Winters Company 
Media Sponsor
Boston Parents Paper

May 16, 2014

The Green and White Ball

For more information click here!


April 29, 2014

Annual Meeting


For more information and to RSVP call 617-713-8144 or email

The 44th Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Public Garden will take place at the First Church in Boston on Tuesday, April 29th at 5:00 PM.



March 29, 2014


Mass Historical Society and Friends to co-present special event

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) and the Friends of the Public Garden are co-presenting a special event of talks and exhibit tours related to the MHS Tell It with Pride exhibition. This event is open to the public and free of charge, but registration is required. If you are interested in attending, please register online at this link or call the MHS reservations line at 617-646-0560.



Young Friends on Ice: Night at the Frog Pond

February 26, 2014

Thank you to all our Friends — Young and young-at-heart — that came out and supported the parks with ice skating at the Frog Pond! Despite the cold temperatures, fun and hot cocoa was had by all.

Thank you also to Chynna Pope and Elin Shran for their great skating performance!

If you’d like more information on how to become involved with the Young Friends, please email us at





Members Reception

October 16, 2013

1456524_622145091160519_320601218_nThe Friends of the Public Garden hosted its annual Members Reception at the Union Club in Boston. More than 130 Members attended to hear speaker Tupper Thomas, former Administrator of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

View photos from the event

Podcast: Members Reception 10.16.13 with Tupper Thomas.mp3

Public Garden Ranks 7th Best in Park in Country

June 30, 2013

Public_Garden_Swan_Boat_Bridge_062313The Boston Public Garden is the seventh highest ranked park in the United States in the 2013 “Travelers’ Choice” survey published last week by the TripAdvisor website. The Public Garden is the only New England park among the top 25 in the country. Some reviewer comments:

• “You can’t beat it. With the beautiful landscaping and perfect location, there is nothing like a day at the Public Garden!”
• “It was very well-landscaped and maintained. Very pretty to walk through for a leisurely stroll with friends. There were many old statues there and a variety of flowers. Pretty!”
• “We love the Boston Public Garden. It is one of the most romantic places to be by far. The park is wide open and clean and then there are the swan boats in the middle of the park.”

Puppets on the Common Returned to Great Success in August

August 14, 2013

Rosalita's_PuppetsChildren of all ages enjoyed a performance by Rosalita’s Puppets directed by Charlotte Dore on Wednesday, August 14 at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common.

The event was organized by the Friends and was underwritten by the M. Holt Massey Charitable Trust.

The popular puppet show returned to the Common in 2011 after a 16-year absence.

Summer Social at Via Matta

June 12, 2013

Via_Matta_Group_061213Seventy-five Friends of the Public Garden gathered at Via Matta in Park Square for a cocktail reception on June 12th to celebrate the silver anniversary of The Heritage on the Garden and support the Friends. They included (l-r) Friends Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza, Heritage Developer Ron Druker, Christine Letts, and David Letts. The proceeds will support the work of the friends on Boston Common, in the Public Garden and on Commonwealth Avenue Mall. It was good to see old friends and make new ones.

Students Live and Learn History on the Common

June 3, 2013

Making_History_34thRegimentSome 650 students in grades 3-5 experienced the rich history and culture of Boston on June 3rd by participating in the Friend’s fourth annual “Making History on the Common.”

Activities included:Playing colonial games and learning about colonial crafts: watching a performance of Native American songs and dances; learning how to plant a Native American “three sisters” garden; viewing farm animals; watching a re-enactment of the valor of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment of African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War; viewing demonstrations of contra dances and the use of wooden pillories for punishment; learning about Native American flint tool making

“It was great to see kids experiencing our rich history in tangible ways,” said Elizabeth Vizza. “Making History on the Common works because it’s simple yet profound.” She thanked event sponsors Motor Mart Garage and Mass Humanities for their generous support.

Click here for more information about Making History on the Common.

 2013 Green and White Ball raises $393,00 for the parks

May 17, 2013

Kate Gilbane, Alli Achtmeyer, and Katherine O'Keeffe

Kate Gilbane, Alli Achtmeyer, and Katherine O’Keeffe

Two hundred guests attended the Green and White Ball on May 17th at the Taj. The annual gala raised $393,000 to support the work of the Friends in our three parks. We are grateful to all who contributed and for the leadership support provided by: co-chairs Kate Gilbane, Alli Achtmeyer, Katherine O’Keeffe and Annie Sacerdote; honorary co-chairs Anne Brooke, Barbara Hostetter and Nina Doggett, and the event committee. The majority of the proceeds from the event will support the final phase of the Brewer Fountain Plaza project.

The Friends also thanks the following partners for their generous support:The Taj Boston Hotel, Winston Flowers, Felix Doolittle and Roger Farrington Photography.



Swan Boats

April to September

Public_Garden_Swan_Boats5_crop_webThe Swan Boats are the enduring centerpiece of the Public Garden and the only boats of their kind in the world. They were launched in 1877 by shipbuilder Robert Paget, a lover of opera, who had been inspired by the finale of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, when the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan. He designed a new boat, with a foot-propelled paddle mechanism enclosed by the figure of a giant swan.

Only a year after the Swan Boats began, Paget died at the age of 42, leaving his wife, Julia, and four children. The young widow assumed full management of the new enterprise, persevering despite the prejudice against women business owners. Her descendants, the fourth generation of Pagets, still operate the Swan Boats, continuing a cherished tradition.

Seven days a week, from early April to late September, the Swan Boats glide in a serpentine course around the lagoon. The fifteen-minute ride, at about two miles an hour, goes around the rocky island made famous in Make Way for Ducklings, under the bridge, and back to dry land. Many famous people have made the quaint voyage, including child actress Shirley Temple, singer Judy Collins, and U.S. presidents Calvin Coolidge and John Kennedy.

For schedules, fares, and more information, check out the Swan Boats website:

Frog Pond

All Year

Common_FrogpondThe Frog Pond is the year-round heart of Boston Common. In summer, it provides an escape from the heat and a great spot for a picnic. Children splash in the spray pool, while grownups wade in or watch from the grassy slopes. Children also enjoy riding on the colorful carousel nearby. In winter, skaters of all ages stumble, glide, and twirl on the refrigerated ice as lively music fills the air. In spring and fall, the pond becomes a peaceful reflecting pool. The adjacent Tadpole Playground, installed in 2002, attracts a steady flow of youngsters, and the year-round café is a welcome respite no matter the temperature.

In 1995, after decades of decline throughout Boson’s parks, the city constructed a new skating rink and leased the facility to the Boston Common Frog Pond Foundation, created by Thomas Kershaw. Under governance of the Parks Department, the Foundation operated a winter skating program and managed other seasonal activities. This successful arrangement continues under a new operator, the Skating Club of Boston. Click here to learn more about Frog Pond activities.