The weather may be chilly, but February break is still a great time to get out a have some local fun exploring all the North Shore has to offer. We’ve rounded up some of most exciting options, including s’mores, otters, a mountain of board games, an immersive Disney experience, and plenty more.
1. Wellness week at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
Visit the museum as it relaunches its Being Well initiative with a week of events for children and families. from Monday through Friday there will be an ongoing schedule of drop in artmaking classes, movement workshops, and family-friendly museum tours. There will be opportunities to meet with artists whose work is displayed in the museum and even a chance to contribute to a mural about climate change action. The complete schedule is available on the museum website.
2. Animal action at the Wenham Museum
The Wenham Museum will be hosting five days of animal-themed fun throughout vacation week. Take an animal drawing class on Monday; squeal at adorable baby barn animals on Tuesday; cavort with alligators and hedgehogs and other curious creatures on Wednesday; learn about guinea pigs on Thursday; or walk inside a giant inflatable whale on Friday. Check out the whole lineup and reserve tickets at wenhammuseum.org/events.
3. Sweet stuff at Appleton Farms, Ipswich
Appleton Farms is the perfect local spot to indulge in the old-fashioned fun of maple season. take a guided stroll to learn about the art and science of syrup-making, visit the sugar shack to watch sap boiling, and sample maple treats at the farmhouse café. For complete schedule and details, visit the Appleton Farms events page.
4. Big day in Boston
Take a trip into the city to enjoy the cultural institutions and the exciting bustle of urban life. The Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art will both be running vacation week activities. The city of Boston is throwing a Children’s Winter Festival on Wednesday, February 22, including rides, treats, games, and even a giant inflatable slide. An on Thursday, February 24, Disney Animation: Immersive Experience opens to the public, letting you surround the family in the sights and sounds of their favorite movies.
5. History, culture, and fun at the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester
Children 18 and under, along with their guardians, will be admitted free to this hidden gem of a museum from Tuesday to Friday of February break. Kids will love the painted oars that pay tribute to Gloucester’s St. Peter’s Fiesta, the gleaming lighthouse lens, and the scale model of Gloucester’s working waterfront built for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. A scavenger hunt encourages visitors to look for a sea serpent slithering among the works of art and, in honor of Black History Month, special activities will encourage kids to try their hand and quilting, like local artist Doris , and learn about the history of the Juneteenth holiday in the region.
6. Fire pits and crafts at Long Hill, Beverly
On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Long Hill is offering the chance to warm up around a roaring fire, snack on s’mores, and complete a seasonal craft for groups of up to six. Fire pit rentals last for two hours, but be sure to spend some time before or after wandering the grounds – beautiful even in winter – or exploring the trails that meander through the surrounding woods. Reserve your spot online at thetrustees.org/place/long-hill.
7. Wild winter fun at the Stone Zoo, Stoneham
Even in the cold weather, the zoo can be a wild adventure, with snow leopards, bears, and even flamingoes out and about. During vacation week, check out mystery animal encounters, learn about barn owls and black bears, and complete the scavenger hunt. If you visit on Friday, you can join in the first birthday celebration for the zoos’ otter kits.
8. Explore the estate at Castle Hill and Crane Beach, Ipswich
With a stately mansion, expansive grounds, miles of wild trails, and a sandy, dune-edged beach, Castle Hill and Crane Beach are the perfect destination for outdoor adventures. During vacation the CraneExplorer series offers family-friendly guided experiences seeking out snowy owls and other winter birds, learning tracking skills, and investigating the human and natural history of the land. More details are available at the Castle Hill and Crane Beach websites.
9. Creative crafting at Hammer and Stain, Beverly or Create and Escape, Peabody
Let someone else handle the materials and the mess, while you and your kids focus on exploring your artsy sides. DIY Studios Hammer and Stain in Beverly and Create and Escape in Peabody will have open workshop hours during the week, allowing you to unleash your creativity.
10. Game night (or day) at The Castle in Beverly or Bit Bar in Salem
For old-school family fun, spend some time competing for Scattergories supremacy or duking it over Donkey Kong. At The Castle in Beverly, you can chose from a library of more than 1,000 board and card games, and enjoy fun favorites like burgers, mac and cheese, and milkshakes while you play. At Bit Bar, step up to a selection of vintage arcade and pinball games in between dining on pub food and flatbread pizzas.