Swans will soon be gliding through the lagoon of the Boston Public Garden as one of the city’s perennial signs of spring launches for the season.
The Swan Boats that offer rides to residents, families, and tourists around the Public Garden Lagoon are set to take their first rides of the season Saturday, April 14 when the city celebrates their launch.
“We had such a mild winter that spring is here ahead of schedule,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement announcing the planned launch for 10 a.m. Saturday.
The boats were first launched in 1877 by shipbuilder Robert Paget, who was inspired by the opera Lohengrin, in which the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan. The current fleet still includes one boat that has been used in the lagoon for 101 seasons.
Menino and his wife, Angela Menino, will take the inaugural ride on one of the 20-person boats with elementary school students from the Ellis Mendell Elementary School in Roxbury, the Conley Elementary School in Roslindale, and the John Winthrop Elementary School in Back Bay.
The randomly selected students drew pictures of the swan boats in their art classes and those drawings will be hung on the second floor of Boston City Hall through May.
In addition to welcoming back the swan boats, the city also plans to unveil new maps of the Public Garden and Boston Common highlighting popular destinations such as the Frog Pond and Tadpole Playground, the newly renovated Brewer Fountain, the Museum of African American History, and a 200-year-old English Elm.
Twitter: @YourBeaconHill, @JohannaKaiser