Innovation Odyssey BusTour

By Mary Jo Kurtz, Westborough
Today's Parent

July, 2003

This celebration of Boston's great innovations is itself quite inventive.

The Innovation Odyssey Tour is a two-hour coach bus excursion through Boston and Cambridge highlighting the area's historic breakthroughs, including the Internet, smallpox vaccine, and the telephone.

It is hosted by a professional actor (on our tour was the talented and lively Frank Ridley) who transforms into more than a dozen inventors and shares real life tales with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how each came to his or her discovery.

My 12-year-old son and I were fascinated by most of the stories, and were especially taken with two featured stops. The first was to the Ether Dome in Mass General Hospital, preserved in its mid-19th century splendor and home to the discovery of anesthesia and modern surgery.

The second was the MIT Museum, so captivating with its creative interactive displays that we returned the following week to spend the afternoon there.

The is not a tour for all children, however. Save this for older kids with an interest in science, technology and invention. Tales of microwave ovens, the evolution of the computer, and the birth of mutual funds have the potential to bore action-seeking teens and even some adults.

But if you are looking for a new twist on Boston's history and enjoy the stories behind life-changing discoveries, reserve a seat on this bus. You will leave with admiration of great people and great minds.

The Innovation Odyssey Tour leaves from the Old State House each Saturday afternoon at 2p.m. Call 617.350.0358 for information or visit their web site at