Friday, February 17, 2006
Let's go! It's school vacation week
"Mom, I'm bored. There's nothing to do." Will you be hearing this complaint next week? School vacation week is usually a challenge for at-home parents and often a nightmare for working parents. To minimize the repetitive refrains of "I'm bored," here are some places in our area to visit with your children or grandchildren next week. The Gleason Public Library has free passes to some of these attractions. See the sidebar for a list.
Carlisle: School-aged children are invited to come to the Gleason Public Library to see the hit movie, Madagascar on Thursday, February 23, at 1:30 p.m. in the Hollis Room. It's free, so is the popcorn and a cold drink. The movie is rated PG and runs 86 minutes. For more information, call the children's department at 1-978-369-4898.
Acton: The Discovery Museums are open every day from February 18-26, with special programs in each museum. The Children's Museum offers "Build It Up!" each day from 9:30 to 11 a.m. with a different construction project each day. Lincoln Logs, Legos, and cardboard boxes all make terrific structures for creative minds. The Science Discovery Museum celebrates National Engineers Week on February 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students are invited to drop in, build a dome, discover the excitement of engineering, and create and test their own designs. Admission is $8 for children and adults for one museum, $12 for two. Go to www.discoverymuseums.org.
A two-session workshop for students ages 12 and up, sponsored by Musketaquid Arts and Environment, will create masks, banners and musical instruments. The workshop will be held February 21 and 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Concord Free Public Library. Led by Pam Bracco, art and craft activities will be combined with nature study of our local environment. Participation is free but registration is requested — stop by the Children's Room Information Desk or call the library at 1-978-318-3358.
TKO (The Kids Only Club) at the Thoreau Club in West Concord is a four-day, action-packed program for children from kindergarten to grade four. TKO offers aquatics, outdoor adventure, arts, social skill building, sports and games. Camp is held from February 21 to 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The leaders are educators and recreation specialists. The cost is $250 for four days or $70 per day. For more information and an application, call Camp Thoreau at 1-978-369-4095.
Lexington: The National Heritage Museum has a full program for kids during the week. On February 18 and 19, the Model Trains show is on display all day long. On February 20, from 1 to 4 p.m., it's Paper Bag Presidents Day, when grocery bags are outfitted with powdered wigs, stove-pipe hats and costumes to become familiar figures. The cost is $5 per family. On Tuesday, February 21, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, a Children's Workshop features stuffed toys and participants make their own no-sew sock monkeys, painted muslin people, "poppets," and more. $10 per child. Game Day is on February 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when children can play classic board games and visit "Made in Massachusetts" to see locally made games and toys. It's free. A workshop that transforms the lowly clothespin into airplanes, antelope, bats, birds, and action figures will be held February 23. $5 per family. For more information, call 1-781-861-6559, ext. 4101, or go to www.monh.org.
Westford: Whenever my grandchildren come to visit, they want to return to The Butterfly Place (www.butterflyplace-ma.com). The 27-foot-tall glass atrium is home to 500 butterflies representing 50 species from around the world, with colorful plants and shrubs that provide nectar. Educational exhibits include the life stages of butterflies and moths, and some truly spectacular (and huge) moths. Admission is $8.50 adults, $6.50 children 3-12 years, and $6.00 children two and under). And it's only 15 minutes from Carlisle.
Shirley: The Hands-On Art Museum is open Monday through Saturday next week, offering art supplies, projects, and activities for ages 3 and up. Admission is $6 per person, $5 for seniors, and children under two are free. For information go to www.handsonartmuseum.com.
Boston isn't really that far away, and you can take the T at Alewife, which excites little kids. The Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium have special programs and I-Maxes at both venues. The Boston Children's Museum (www.bostonkids.org) offers an arts camp and other special programs all week. The Museum of Fine Arts also has an art program for the vacation week called "Artful Elements." Students make clay objects, metal adornments, drawings and collages based on the museum's widely diverse exhibitions. Each day there are theatre performances by the Underground Railway Theater, African dancing and drumming, and Samurai Taiko Drummers. Programs are free with museum admission. For more information, go to www.mfa.org or call 1-617-267-9300.
If all this indoor activity gives you a headache, why not hit the slopes at Wachusett Mountain, Nashoba, or Blue Hills — all are kid-friendly. Or grab your x-country skis (or rent them) and go local — at Great Brook Ski Touring Center, which has some of the best trails around.
See? There's no excuse for being bored next week.
© 2006 The Carlisle Mosquito