April Vacation is here….and not a moment too soon if you ask me!!!
I made a crazy, long list of activities to do with children over February Vacation.
See here. http://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/holy-crap-i-asked-nichole-to-put-together-a-list-of-cool-february-vacation-things-to-do-and-boy-did-she-deliver/
While several of those activities focused on ice skating, tubing, or winter weather activities, many did not.
For this week’s April school vacation, I am going to start my list of activities by focusing on a few “stay-cations”…..so, either kind of long day trips, or quick over night getaways. Please, though, if you’re looking for more local activities, go back and check out February’s post for some awesome museums, indoor climbing, trampolining, etc. They all still apply as great things to do…some of the shows/exhibits offered may have changed, but the places are all still awesome!
Some of those choices were The Charlestown Navy Yard: https://www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org/
The Larz Anderson Museum (to see some pretty rad cars): http://larzanderson.org/
The Seacoast Science Center, NH http://www.seacoastsciencecenter.org/
The awesome smartphone based scavenger hunt in Boston called Stray Boots https://www.strayboots.com/locations/boston/tours
Some serious trampolining at SkyZone http://www.skyzone.com/everett
And some mad rock climbing at MetroRock http://www.metrorock.com/
Disclaimer: I’m not going to lie…most of my suggestions for this April Vacation post would be a wee bit better if the weather was warmer, but if this is your one week off for some FFF (forced family fun) then you may want to buck up and make some plans.
The first must do is in Nashua, NH. So, not too much of a hike…but a solid day trip. At SkyVenture New Hampshire you can do indoor sky diving, climb the giant rock wall, brave their awesome Fishpipe water slide or catch a wave in the Surfs Up indoor pool! So cool!! http://www.skyventurenh.com/index.php
Second on the list is an all-time favorite of the Schrafft family. The Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. My boys are literally counting the days until they are tall enough to chill with amazingly incredible beluga whales!!!!
Mystic is just over a 2 hour drive. Not bad….other than the yucky part of driving through Providence. For the record, I have nothing against Providence, but I’m kind of a horrible back seat driver and the stretch of highway through Providence (and Quincy, Ma) for that matter, brings out the worst of my door grabbing and fake break slamming.
This aquarium is really something special. Small, but not too small. Some really decent marine life (including the only beluga whales I’ve ever seen), several outdoor exhibits, a great opportunity to hand-feed the little rays, a bird aviary where the birds literally land on your hand/arm/shoulder to eat, a sea lion show, tons of crazy-adorable penguins (which you can sign up to spend some quality time with….not like that…that’d be weird) and a state-of-the-art indoor aquarium too. http://www.mysticaquarium.org/
We usually stay at the Hyatt Place. Modern, nicely appointed rooms…super clean. A small outdoor pool is a bonus along with a pretty decent free breakfast before heading off to the aquarium. Reasonably priced too…otherwise we wouldn’t be there!! http://mystic.place.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html?mckv=spp3JxBO5_pdv_c_pcrid_41084940502_pmt_e_pkw_hyatt%20place%20mystic%20ct&src=agn_pfx_ppc_Brand_Mystic_google_Brand_Mystic_HP+Mystic_Exact_e_hyatt%20place%20mystic%20ct_Brand
Banging in at third is actually a repeat. Forgive me if you actually went back and checked out February’s post, because this was on it, but I didn’t elaborate too much on how truly cool it is! The Roger William’s Zoo in Providence is truly perfect. I have only been there once, but plan on making it a frequent day trip from here on out. It was spotless and so beautifully manicured. The animals have fantastic habitats and it seemed to me as if there was a zoo volunteer around every corner! Only about 1.5 hours away….totally worth it. “A great take”…as Joey would say. We seriously watched the river otter for 30 minutes easy…never mind some of the amazing larger animals! AND…April vacation week happens to be Fairy House week. You can explore the botanical gardens to hunt for Fairy Houses. The week concludes with the Fairy Festival! https://rwpzoo.org/
Fourth in line is definitely an overnight trip. If all goes as planned, we’ll be hitting the road for this little getaway sometime next week…or one spring weekend. One word. Portland. Other than being super pretty and home to great shops, outlets, and restaurants, top on our list of things to do while there are: 1. Catch a Portland Sea Dogs’ Game at Hadlock Field (home games towards the end of vacation week). Super reasonable prices and small venue make seeing this Red Sox affiliate team a no-brainer http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t546 2. The Main Wildlife Park https://www.maine.gov/ifw/education/wildlifepark/ Again, crazy cheap…and crazy cool if you have nature lovers like my boys! 3. Hop on the ferry and spend some time on Peaks Island. The island can be walked in shortly over an hour or biked in less than 30 minutes…depending on the biker (obviously). Pack a picnic..grab an ice cream…enjoy the short scenic ferry ride. http://www.peaksisland.com/index.html
For some other destinations…some closer than others…check out Discover New England’s list of best day trips from Boston here: http://www.discovernewengland.org/about-new-england-usa/day-trips-from-boston/
For a shorter day, but not your average trip to the movies or bowling alley, head to Fenway Park. Not for a game….although CLEARLY that is a great option too…but for a tour. If you’ve never had a tour you are missing out. I think one of the best things about the tour is that you have the opportunity to be within those magical walls of Fenway without thousands of other fans. I’ve said this before, but one of my favorite times to be in the ballpark is when it is empty. Corny, I know, but the sense of reverence can take your breath away.
And, while in Boston, the opening day for the Swan Boats in the Boston Commons was on Saturday, April 19th!! http://swanboats.com/about
The Wheelock Family Theater is always a great option. They are family friendly and it is a nice venue for kids to take in a play! Over school vacation week they are offering performances of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. http://www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org/
The Arnold Arboretum is gorgeous! It is a must see if you’re into botany…or not. The last time I went I went to their website first and made a little booklet of trees and flowers for my children to hunt for during our visit. http://arboretum.harvard.edu/
ALWAYS check out the many, many properties belonging to the Trustees of the Reservation AND/OR the Massachusetts Audubon . So many great ways to spend the day!! With the weather getting a little warmer many of these are such a great way to spend 1/2 a day.
Some of my favorites are Drumlin Farm, Joppa Flats, obviously Ipswich River, and even the very close Long Hill Farm in Beverly.
If you’re like me, yard work is top of the list of this week’s activities too. No matter what you do this week, enjoy! Please feel free to add to this list by including activities that you are planning on doing in the comment section!! We are all always looking for new ideas!!!