Parenting

7 things to do over April school break

Hang with dinosaurs, go hiking, or join a virtual Earth Day celebration.

T. Rex Adventure at Stone Zoo in Stoneham. Zoo New England

April break, which for many Massachusetts schools runs from April 19-23, brings opportunities for outdoor fun, day trips, and virtual adventures.

Ahead, check out seven ways to fill your days during school vacation week. As always, when attending in-person events visitors should follow all safety measures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Join a Revolutionary-themed scavenger hunt

Kids can show off their clue-solving skills during this free, socially-distanced Revolutionary-themed scavenger hunt in Lexington, part of the Lexington Historical Society events celebrating Patriots Day. The self-guided hunt will take place April 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is plenty of other programming scheduled throughout the week to celebrate the 246th anniversary of the opening battles of the American Revolution in Lexington and Concord, but they are mostly virtual. Another idea: Follow the historical events of April 18 and 19, 1775 as they unfold in real-time on social media using the hashtag “RevolutionInRealTime.”

Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22 and Harvard Museums of Science & Culture is celebrating with free virtual events all week long. Join an Earth Week story time for families of young children on April 19, discussions about animal encounters on April 20, a live screening of the short video “Movement without Muscles: The Sensitive Fern” followed by a Q&A with video creators Ben Goulet-Scott and Jacob Suissa on April 21, a discussion about innovations in agricultural practices on April 22, and a roundtable focusing on ecology and spirituality on April 23. Advance registration is required.

Save money at area museums and attractions

Your family can wander a museum or tour a wildlife sanctuary for free during vacation week thanks to a partnership between Highland Street Foundation and the Patriots Foundation. Many of the activities have limited capacity and require advance registration. Venues that still have tickets, as of this writing: New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford on April 19; a self-guided tour and family-friendly Bingo game with the Charles River Watershed Association at Herter Park in Boston, the Frog Pond Carousel at Boston Common, and Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester, all on April 20; Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline and Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, both on April 21; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln and Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, both on April 22. Or visit 10 different Boston parks for multilingual storywalks. Get the full schedule of events and registration information here.

Enjoy science overload with the Cambridge Science Festival

School may be out, but your little scientists don’t have to miss out on their favorite subject. The Cambridge Science Festival, primarily offered online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will provide more than 160 free exhibitions, demonstrations, tours, workshops, and more from April 1-30. As the festival website puts it: “From culinary creations to comedy, from astrophysics to artwork, we’ve got your science needs covered. Meet a scientist! Tour a lab! Talk to an eel!”

Go on a prehistoric adventure 

Animatronic dinosaurs have taken over Stone Zoo in Stoneham and you can join the prehistoric fun by hanging out with a moving, roaring 42-foot-long Tyrannosaurus Rex, a 20-foot long plant-eating Plateosaurus, and more. Kids can also check out realistic dinosaur skeletons. The experience is included in your admission price, but tickets must be purchased online in advance. Other events taking place at Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo over vacation week include virtual animal breakfasts, animal encounters, and crafts.

Take a hiking challenge

If your family enjoys hiking, here’s an opportunity to win prizes for the miles you hike with The Trustees of Reservations’ Hike Trustees program. The program is a free contest that challenges hikers of all levels to record their hikes at the nonprofit conservation organization’s properties around Massachusetts for a chance to win monthly prizes. After signing up, take the whole family to explore the hundreds of miles of trails across 120 natural and historic properties across the state.

Check out musical storytelling

Fill your vacation days with the sounds of the flute, bassoon, harp, and trumpet during the New England Conservatory’s annual Musical Storytelling Showcase, offered online for free from April 19-23. The events will feature a mix of “meet the instrument” and musical storytelling sessions by Musical Storytelling Fellows, who are training as teaching artists in preschools and early elementary classrooms through NEC. The videos run 20-30 minutes and are geared towards young children and families. View the complete schedule.

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