“We’re so bored!”
Who hasn’t heard that refrain from their kids when school’s out and you neglected to plan something fun for them to do.
In case you forgot, school vacation week is Feb. 21-25. We understand; you’re busy, it happens.
Plan a school vacation experience they’ll remember. Kids can get down and dirty on a Southborough farm, plan a mission to Mars, learn to climb or ski, and explore the North and South Poles.
Teens can turn strong swimming skills into a summer job or test their skill at the track. Smaller children can learn to track wild animals or ski with a favorite Disney princess. And a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow is a bucket list adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
School vacation week::Nine smaller nearby museums you may have forgotten about
Be sure to book ahead for school vacation adventures. Below are a few out-of-the ordinary ideas to get you started.
Satisfy a need for speed at the Apex Center
Experience the thrill of racing — the mini-version. At the Apex Center, 21 Apex Drive, Marlborough, teens 16 and older can zoom around and navigate the hairpin turns of the multi-level indoor IC Credit Union Speedway track in an Italian electric Sodi RTX Kart. One race costs $25, three races is $60. Prices may be different during school vacation week. 508-251-8666 https://www.apexentertainment.com/attraction/go-kart-racing/
Get down in the muck at Chestnut Hill Farm
Kids can discover what a tough life farmers have during our cold New England winters at Chestnut Hill Farm, 5 Chestnut Hill Road, Southborough. Children in kindergarten through grade 5 will learn about livestock habitats for farm animals and the difficulties of growing food in a cold climate. Be prepared to discover, learn, hike, explore and enjoy the farmer’s life. Better bundle up and wear your boots, kids. This Trustees’ “Farmer for a Day” program runs from 3-5 p.m. on Feb. 21-24. $36/day for Trustees members, $45/day for non-members. Visit https://thetrustees.org/program/february-school-vacation/
Blast off on a mission to Mars at the Christa McAuliffe Center’s Challenger Learning Center
Take a one-day trip to the red planet from 1-4:30 p.m. on Feb. 24 at Framingham State University’s Christa McAuliffe Center’s Challenger Learning Center. A simulated space mission set in 2076 imagines scientists and engineers being carried to the planet to explore the Martian surface for signs of life and water. Students in grades 6-8 will be immersed in a simulated space environment, where they will manipulate equipment, conduct experiments, solve programs and work together in real-world scientific contexts. They’ll also see a full-dome film in the FSU planetarium and participate in science activities related to the James Webb Space Telescope mission. Cost: $35. Visit https://cm-center.org/event/febvacation or call 508-626-4050.
Learn to track animals at Fruitlands Museum
Kids love animals and what better way to learn about wildlife than “Winter Tracking on the Trails” at the trails at Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Road, Harvard. Families will join local naturalist Laurie Nehring and she’ll point out evidence of local animals that inhabit the fields and forests. $24 Trustees member families, $30 non-member families. https://thetrustees.org/program/february-school-vacation/
Explore the North and South Poles at the Brookline Arts Center
Brrrr! At the Brookline Arts Center, 86 Monmouth St., Brookline, the “Arctic Adventures” program for kids 8-11 will use art to discover the nature and beauty of the North and South Poles. Kids will create frozen-themed 2D and 3D projects during the program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day during February vacation week. $490 for the five-day program, before and after care is available, too. 617-566-5715; https://tinyurl.com/tf822d4j
Pump it up at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum in Watertown
Drop in at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum in Watertown any time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Feb. 25 and learn the science behind how pressure was used in the Waterworks’ steam-powered water pumps and how pressure is used in rocket ships. Make your own balloon and soda bottle rockets two totally different ways. Stick around for a 15-minute show, “It’s not Rocket Science! Or is it?” at noon and 1:45 p.m. to find out about the different ways pressure is used in rockets and to keep water pumps working. Suggested donation $5. https://tinyurl.com/4ws5pjer
Here’s how to train to be a lifeguard
Is your teen a strong swimmer, mature and reliable? They can train to be a lifeguard over school vacation week. The state Department of Conservation and Recreation needs summer lifeguards and is offering lifeguarding and CPR training at several locations and dates, including the Worcester YWCA at 1 Salem St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 20-24. Candidates must be 16 or older at the date they are hired. Potential guards must be able to swim 500 yards in under 11 minutes. Training is free if candidates work at one of the DCR’s beaches or pools; the job pays $20 an hour. And if they work the whole season, they may be eligible for a $500 bonus. Visit https://tinyurl.com/y95pr7t3 for more information.
Ski with a ‘Frozen’ princess at Wachusett Mountain
Elsa from the movie “Frozen” will be skiing on the beginner slopes from noon to 1 p.m. on Feb. 22 at Wachusett Mountain, 499 Mountain Road, Princeton. Then she’ll be in the main lodge for story time and photos from 1-2 p.m. Wear your favorite sparkly outerwear as we imagine many other princesses-in-waiting will be taking to the slopes to join her that day. Wachusett has several learn-to-ski packages for children, including Polar Kids ($102) that includes lesson and optional rental ($22). Visit https://www.wachusett.com/ for more information.
Learn to survive in the wilderness
Learn how to tackle any challenge Mother Nature might bring. You’ll build the best campfire, set up an emergency shelter and learn how find drinking water. Do you know the 10 things you need to bring to survive in case the worst happens in the forest? This class is perfect for any family that spends time together outdoors. REI’s wilderness survival class is fun for families with children ages 13 and older. Outdoors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 19 (Hingham) and Feb. 26 (Medfield). $69 REI members/$89 nonmembers. Sessions are currently sold out but you can sign up on the waiting list. https://tinyurl.com/2p8ry4mb
Here’s where you can go rock climbing
Need to get some of that energy out? Central Rock Gym, 1451 Concord St. in Framingham, is a bouldering-only facility and is family-friendly. There are no harnesses or belays required; climbers grab colored hand-holds and climbs on short walls are designed with different levels of difficulty so there is a climb for most everyone. Be aware that the welcome video states that falling is a part of climbing and gives instructions on the best way to fall onto the cushioned floor below. Parential supervision is required. On Monday through Friday, children 7-12 can climb 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. After that, the facility is for ages 13 and older only. On Saturday and Sunday, children 7-12 can climb 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.; after 2 p.m., it’s for 13 and older. A standard day pass is $25 per person; $22 for ages 22 and under, 65 and over, military and first responders. Call 774-777-5637 or visit https://centralrockgym.com/framingham/
Learn to cross-country ski at Weston Ski Track
Weston Ski Track, 190 Park Road, offers three-day ski lessons for kids ages 6-10 during school vacation week. Classes are from 2-3 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Three lessons costs $90; $144 includes instruction, trail pass and ski/boot rentals. There’s also a 75-minute beginner lesson to introduce kids to cross-country skiing for ages 6-10 that costs $25/$44 with equipment rental. Call 617-965-5110 or visit https://www.skiboston.com/lessons-for-kids for more information and other options for kids and adults.
Sleigh ride in the snow at Cornerstone Ranch
Make good use of this winter’s snowfall and cold weather. Glide along the trail through the snow at Cornerstone Ranch, 39 Dowd’s Lane, Princeton. If there’s no snow, the 30-minute adventure will be a wagon ride. Afterward, sit by the campfire and sip hot chocolate and eat s’mores. Other riding adventures and lessons are available. Visit https://cornerstoneranch.org/ or email [email protected].
Nancy Olesin is a Daily News staff writer. Contact her at [email protected].