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Family-Friendly Activities for April School Break in Massachusetts


Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst

With eight days of school vacation running from Saturday, April 13, until Sunday, April 21, parents may find themselves searching for plans to keep the kids busy and avoid hearing a declaration shared all-too-often: “I’m bored.”


For Bay Staters enjoying a staycation this April, there are several local attractions available to pass the time.


From tried-and-true attractions like The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, to such indoor amusement parks as Fun City Adventure Park, and APEX Entertainment, MassLive has highlighted a range of activities throughout the state.


Western Mass.


Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst


The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, located at 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, “collects, preserves and presents picture books and picture-book illustrations for audiences passionate about children’s literature”.


The museum was established in 2002 by late Massachusetts-children’s author Eric Carle in an effort to “delight, entertain, surprise, and educate,” everyone interested in the art of the picture book.


It features an array of colorful displays as well as some interactive exhibits.


“The Carle,” is hosting a series of events during April vacation week, featuring guest story-tellers, art-making activities and special programing, all free with admission to the museum, according to its website.


Admission is $8 per visitor ages 1-18 years, or age 65 and older. Students and teachers cost $8 each.


All other adults cost $15 per person, and museum members are free.


On Wednesday, April 17, “The Carle,” is participating in The Highland Street Foundation’s Spring Week program — offering free admission to the museum.


Hours:

Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday, 12 p.m. -5 p.m.


*Note: The museum will be closing early on Saturday, April 13, at 4 p.m. and will resume normal operating hours on Sunday, April 14, from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. The museum will also be closed on Monday, April 15, in observance of Patriots Day but will be open Tuesday, April 16, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.


Fun City Adventure Park, Springfield


Fun City Adventure Park | Kid playing

Fun City Adventure Park, located at 1277 Liberty St., Springfield, is an indoor trampoline and amusement park featuring more than 11 attractions including an arcade, bumper balls, wall climbing, zip lining and obstacle courses.

While some attractions may require an additional cost, general rates for admission and jumping are $25 for 90 minutes, $28 for two hours, $30 for a day pass and $3.50 for jumping socks.


For children 42 inches or shorter, rates are $18 for 90 minutes, $20 for two hours, $22 for a day pass and $3.50 for jumping socks.


Hours:

Monday through Thursday, 2:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Friday, noon - 11 p.m.

Saturday, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Sunday, 10a.m - 9p.m


Holyoke Heritage State Park, Holyoke


Holyoke Heritage State Park

source:flickr.com


Located at 221 Appleton St., offers guests an opportunity to walk along canals that once powered mills.


This location features a visitors’ center with exhibits showcasing Holyoke’s industrial history and culture, and is within a block of The Children’s Museum, the restored antique Holyoke Merry-Go-Round, and the Volleyball Hall of Fame.


As part of an April vacation programming initiative by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, children 6-15 years old will have an opportunity to gather at the state park and learn watercolor techniques.


On Wednesday, April 17, from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m., participants ages 6-9 will have a chance to “explore perspective, colors, leaf printing, brush strokes, and more,” with watercolor artist Christine Copeland, according to their website.


This group will focus on leaf printing and color usage.


Participants ages 10-15 will focus on learning brush strokes and perspective, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Attendees will have the option to display their finished artwork on the forest mural next to Copeland’s exhibited work inside the visitor center.


Supplies are provided and it is a free program, however, registration is required by calling 413-534-1723. It is asked that attendees specify their age.


Guests will meet at the Visitor Center. No dogs are allowed.


Central Mass.


Purgatory Chasm, Sutton


Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

Purgatory Chasm, located at 198 Purgatory Road, Sutton, is a state reservation offering visitors an opportunity to explore miles of trails and various rock formations.

The park is open from sunrise to sunset and is described as “unique natural landmark offering exciting adventure,” by Mass.gov.


Some portions of the park offer views of “granite walls rising as high as 70 feet,” according to Discovercentralma.org, and its formation is believed to be a product of a “sudden release of dammed-up glacial meltwater near the end of the last Ice Age, approximately 14,000 years ago.”

Some notable rock formations include The Corn Crib, The Coffin and Lovers’ Leap.


On Saturday, April 13, and Saturday, April 20, The Department of Conservation and Recreation is hosting an April vacation program that offer attendees a chance to learn about where native rocks have been and where they are going.


The program is from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. and is intended for guests age 4 and older.


On Sunday, April 14, and Sunday, April 21, DCR is hosting another program from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m., offering visitors a chance to study animal skulls to learn more about how animals live and survive.


The recommended age for this program is 4 years and older.


Also on Sunday, April 14, and April 21, DCR is hosting a Chasm Hike from 2-3 p.m. This program is recommended for participants ages 8 years or older and offers guests an opportunity to “scramble around boulders while taking in the mystery of Purgatory Chasm.”


The route is about 1 mile of moderate terrain.

Admission to these programs are free, though guests may be responsible for parking costs at a rate of $5 for visitors with Massachusetts license plates and $20 for out of state plates.


*Note: No dogs allowed. In case of inclement weather, programs are subject to cancellation. For more information, call 508-234-9610.


APEX Entertainment, Marlborough


Apex GoKart

APEX Entertainment, located at 21 Apex Drive, Marlborough, is an entertainment hub featuring 10 amusement categories: bowling, indoor bumper cars, go karts, mini-golf, a sports simulator, laser tag, bounce houses, a rope course, pool table and arcade.


APEX’s Kids Play is a 3,000-square-foot play space with an obstacle course, jungle gym, play scape, basketball hoops and bounce house. This area is open for children ages 2-12. A waiver is necessary for players using this facility and costs $11 per hour, according to the website.


Bumper cars: $6 per person, per ride. Players must be at least 44 inches to ride. Maximum weight to ride is 275 pounds.


Go kart racing: $30 per race. Racers must be aged 16 years or older to ride, and at least 58 inches tall. Racers must have a valid license or driver’s permit. Maximum weight to race is 258 pounds.


Ropes course: $12 per person, per session. Each session is 15 minutes long. Participants must be at least 48 inches tall or 42 inches tall accompanied by an adult, providing the safety harness fits. Maximum weight to participate is 300 pounds.


Hours:

Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Friday, 2 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Saturday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Sunday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Apex Kids, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Apex Mini Golf, 10 a.m. to close



Southwick’s Zoo, Mendon


Zoo

source:facts.net


Southwick’s Zoo, located at 2 Southwick St., Mendon, is kicking off the 2024 season on April 13.

Southwick’s Zoo spans over 200 acres and is New England largest zoological experience, according to its website.


According to the site, Southwick’s Zoo is home to more than 850 animals in “naturalistic habitats,” including lions, tigers, giraffes, chimpanzees, white rhinos, two-toed sloths, and more.


Guests have the option of participating in other attractions including a Skyfari Sky Ride, a Woodland Express Train, a zip line, a 35-acre petting zoo and more.


Tickets costs are $29 per adult, $23 for children age 3-12 and seniors 62 and older. Children under the age of 3 are free admission.


Hours:

Open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.


Eastern Mass


Ringling Bros. Circus, Worcester


Ringling Brothers Circus

From Friday, April 12, until Sunday, April 14, Bay Staters will have an opportunity to watch the ”reimagined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey,” at the DCU Center in Worcester.


According to the DCU Center official website, attendees will “witness daring and never-before-seen acts on a highwire, trapeze, bicycle, and much, much more.”

Ticket prices start at $27 each.


Guests have the option of ordering online via Vivid Seats or Stubhub.


Showtimes:

Friday, April 12, 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 13, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sunday, April 14, 12 p.m., 4 p.m.


Battleship Cove, Fall River


Battle Cove

Battleship Cove, a naval ship museum located at 5 Water St., Fall River, offers visitors an opportunity to explore authentic aircrafts, ship, exhibitions and war memorials while learning about turning points in U.S history.

Five ships are on display at Battleship Cove.


According to the official website, visitors have a chance to “experience firsthand what it was like to serve on board a Navy warship in WWII and the Vietnam War era.”


Tickets may be purchased online or in-person at a rate of $25 per adult, $15 for children 12 and younger, $23 for seniors 65 and older, and free admission for children 0-3.

Free parking is available at the DCR Fall River Heritage State Park lot adjacent to the museum. Parking for people living with disabilities also is available.


Hours:

Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Boston Duck Tours



Boston Duck Tours offer guests an opportunity to explore historic Boston this April School Break in a “DUCK,” — a WWII-style amphibious landing vehicle that travels on land and water.


According to its official website, visitors will “cruise by all the places that make Boston the birthplace of freedom and a city of firsts,” — including the state House to the Boston Common, North End to Newbury Street, Quincy Market and more.


While the tour starts on land with narrated, sight-seeing around Boston, it concludes with the DUCK wading in the waters of the Charles River.

Guests have the option of departing from the Museum of Science, the Prudential Center or New England Aquarium.


Tickets cost $49.99 per adult, $41.99 for seniors and active military, $35.99 per child ages 3-11, and $10.99 per child age 2 and under.


The tour is approximately 80 minutes long. Guests have the option of ordering tickets ahead, with an additional 5% convenience fee.


Parking is a separate cost. The Museum of Science offers the most-affordable parking of any tour departure locations, according to Bostonducktours.com.


Hours:

Open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. until one hour before sunset.



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