There is always plenty of family fun in and around Boston, but school vacation week adds special programming touches to our beloved institutions. HERE are some tried and true Boston’s February vacation week favorites with some bonus new ideas thrown into the mix!
MONDAY: FAMILY FUN OUTDOORS
Monday forecast promises an excellent day outdoors and there is no lack of family offerings near Boston.
The Franklin Park Zoo vacation week activities are offered 10-2pm Monday-Friday and are included in the admission price.
Beloved Boston Common’s Frog Pond offers free skating for all during school vacation week (February 20-24), thanks to Highland Foundation.
Twelve miles West of Boston, Weston Ski Track has trails, equipment rental and lessons for cross-country skiing (classical and skate skiing style). I have yet to try the place (and cross country skiing) so please share your reviews in comments if you have visited!
TUESDAY: SCIENCE DAY
Museum of Science Boston has special extended hours during school vacation week (great time to check out their Planetarium shows if you have not already). There are plenty of interesting permanent collections for explorers big and small but visiting De Vinci Exhibit is closing on Sunday February 26, so if you would like to discover or rediscover the legacy of the master in this most comprehensive touring exhibit, you may want to hurry in. Another special draw: Chocolate: the Exhibition from Chicago’s Field Museum. Both visiting exhibits are free for members.
Aspiring engineers will not want to miss National Engineering Week celebration at the February Festival at MIT Museum (pre-registration is required for workshops).
WEDNESDAY: FINE ART
Museum of Fine Arts Boston always puts together a week of special activities during school vacation weeks with plenty of opportunities for casual introduction to fine art. Being members of the museum, we get to visit many times during the year, but Wednesday is a special day to visit as the entrance is free (optional donation-based) and Museum stays open until 8 pm. This year’s February vacation week theme: Make Way for Animals.
Or, check out vacation week activities at the Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. (Free entrance for all on Monday February 20 in honor of the President’s Day). Art and architecture making activities await and the waterfront location is unbeatable.
THURSDAY: SHOW TIME
I love the story of overcoming the circumstances and going after your dreams, but if you think your kid is too young for this (there are some crude realities in the old mining town in England not to mention harsh language), there are some show time alternatives during this vacation week.
Boston Children’s Theatre has produced two special shows: Curious George and the Golden Meatball (musical adventure) for younger theatergoers and Miss Nelson Is Missing! (a musical mystery based on Harry Allard’s picture book) for older kids.
Brookline’s Puppet Showplace Theater‘s vacation week line-up includes the favorite classics Wizard of Oz and Hansel and Gretel.
Disney on Ice presents Follow your Heart on February 17-27 at Boston’s TD Garden.
FRIDAY: PLAY DAY
To celebrate February school vacation week, Lego Discovery Center Boston has added a new interactive City Builder space where little guests can add their own creations to the existing city infrastructure. I could not pull my 7-year old away. The Center will have special extended vacation week hours.
SATURDAY AT THE MOVIES
Annual Providence Children’s Film Festival is showing a selection of thought-provoking independent films from all over the world –with an opportunity to connect and discuss the film with other families post-show. Check their website for this year’s programming and special activities.
Cambridge’s Brattle Theater presents a lighter hearted animatic treats during their annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival (February 17-25).
SUNDAY: DAY TRIPS
It is not too late to get into the tourist spirit and plan a day trip to the nearby Rhode Island cities of Providence (see some activities ideas here) or Newport (have you taken the kids to the historic mansions?) or Massachusetts North Shore towns of Ipswich (check out Crane Estate) and Salem (Peabody Essex Museum is one of the oldest in the country).
For refreshing winter sea walks, choose any beach on the National Seashore on Cape Cod or try a Marginal Way coastal walk in Ogunquit, Maine – all within a 60-90-minute drive from Boston.
Massachusetts Trustees of Reservations have over 100 properties in their care all over the state and many are open for exploration during the vacation week. We already took the sea walk near the Crane Estate in Ipswich, but historic Bradley Estate in Canton is still in our plans (free admission).