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Talk about great timing: The kids get a week off just as the weather is starting to warm up, creating perfect opportunities for the family to get out and explore all the North Shore has to offer. From animal adventures to classic cinema, we’ve rounded up 10 ideas for how to make the most of the those five days of freedom:

Celebrating Yin Yu Tang, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem | April 15, 18, and 19

The Peabody Essex Museum will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the opening of Yin Yu Tang, the 18th-century traditional Chinese home that was rebuilt in the museum. Kid and adults are welcome to explore Chinese culture by touring the house, going on a dragon quest scavenger hunt throughout the museum, and learning the art of traditional Chinese paper cutting. More details at

Explore the Crane Estate, Ipswich | April 15-19

The Crane Estate is always a glorious place to wander, but you can also enroll in an in-depth program to learn more about the history, architecture, wildlife, and ecology of the property. Offerings during vacation week include a visit to the Crane Beach shipwreck, a navigation class and scavenger hunt, investigations of estuary water and animals, and behind-the-scenes tours of the Great House. Check out the full slate at

Photograph courtesy of Wenham Museum

Learn about bees, worms, and chickens, Wenham Museum, Wenham | April 16-18

The Wenham Museum will be hosting nature-themed programming throughout the week. Learn about beekeeping and make a beeswax candle on Tuesday, get hands-on with worms and compost on Wednesday, or seize the chance to hug a hen on Thursday. Details available at

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Cabot, Beverly | April 17

With Wonka making waves in the theater recently, now is the perfect time to expose the kids to the original. The Cabot will be screening 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder for just $1 on April 17. Break out the popcorn – and the candy, of course. Learn more at

Get wild, Stone Zoo, Stoneham | April 16-19

The Stone Zoo is planning a week of exciting programming for its vacation visitors. There will be a spring planting workshop on Tuesday, fairies and magic bubbles on Wednesday, an animal adventure scavenger hunt on Thursday, and fun with flamingoes on Friday. And, of course, all week there will be snow leopards, and gibbons, and more. You really otter go. More information available at

Photograph courtesy of Shriners Circus

Shriners Circus, Shriners Auditorium, Wilmington | April 18-21

The classic Shriners Circus is bringing its troupe of aerialists, clowns, and death-defying stuntpeople back to Wilmington for 10 shows during April break week. Animal lovers needn’t worry – the town of Wilmington has banned the use of exotic animals in performances in 2020. View schedule at buy tickets at

Taylor Swift party, Smolak Farms, North Andover | April 19

We know all too well that break can get boring. So shake it off, throw on a cardigan, and head to Smolak Farms for a Swift-centered evening of dancing, singing, pizza, surprise giveaways, and more. (I know, it’s exciting, but you need to calm down.) Tickets available at Get your tickets now before you’re left saying “I’m the problem, it’s me.”

Paint your own pottery, Art Haven in Gloucester or Clay Dreaming in Beverly | April 19 or all week

Customize you cocoa mug or personalize a plate by visiting Clay Dreaming’s studio throughout the week or joining in the fun at an April 19 workshop at Gloucester’s Art Haven. Check out the Clay Dreaming schedule at or sign up for the Art Haven event at

Halibut Point State Park | Photograph by Shutterstock

Go on a quarry quest, Halibut Point State Park, Rockport | All week

Come for the dramatic views, stay for the fascinating history and family fun. Stop in to the visitors center to pick up a Quarry Quest scavenger hunt before taking to the trails around a defunct granite quarry and down to the rocky shore. Smaller kids will enjoy the story walk set up close to the visitor center. Before you leave, make sure to climb the World War II-era lookout tower. Visit for more information.

Get roped in, MetroRock in Newburyport or It at Jordan’s Furniture in Reading All week

If you have a kid who won’t stop climbing trees and rocks, get to MetroRock in Newburyport or It in Reading to channel that clambering energy into elevated fun (literally). MetroRock offers rock-climbing walls, while It invites kids (and intrepid adults) onto a three-level ropes course including a zipline; a lower course is available for little ones under 48 inches. Learn more at or