Boredom can be one of (if not the biggest) school vacation killers. Kids like to stay busy and parents much prefer it when their kids are happy and engaged.
Nobody knows that better than the folks who run the Cape's many nature centers and museums. It may be Presidents' Day, the but the focus this February school vacation is on animals, nature and all things nautical.
Ahoy! The Cape Cod Maritime Museum will be open during February school vacation from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is a different nautically-inspired children's class each day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and other fun things to do each day. The Cape Cod Maritime Museum is at 135 South Street in Hyannis, 508-775-1723.
From sea creatures to shipwrecks, you and the kids will find plenty to explore during the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History's Ocean Waves of Nature program. During school vacation week the museum is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to the many cool exhibits, there will be a different topic each day courtesy of the museum and the NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. There will be talks and fun programs and a walk through an inflatable whale. See the calendar for a complete list and visit the museum's website for more information. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is at 869 Route 6A in Brewster, 508-896-3867.
If you and your family aren't afraid of getting a little cold, head on up to the Cape Cod National Seashore for some outdoor fun during February school vacation week. Park rangers have all kinds of fun things planned including tours and guided walks. Be sure to bundle up and enjoy the chillier side of Cape Cod. All events are free. The Cape Cod National Seashore Salt Pond Visitor Center is just off Route 6 in Eastham, 508-255-3421.
What kid doesn't love snakes and turtles? Okay, turtles? At Mass Audubon's Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary experts will be on hand on Tuesday and Thursday to talk about all things scaly and shelled. On Tuesday, February 18 at 1 p.m., Herpetologist Joe Martinez will present "Is It a Snake, or Isn't it?" Examine skins, skulls and bones and touch some real snakes! On Thursday, February 20 at 1 p.m., Long Pasture Director Ian Ives will present "The Turtle Whisperer". Registration is required for both programs and can be done online. The sanctuary's trails will also be open. The Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary is at 345 Bone Hill Road in Cummaquid, 508-362-7475.
If your child loves turtles, seals and other assorted sea creatures, you'll want to head on over to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay during February School Vacation. Closed in the winter, the center opens up for the school holiday to offer kids an insider's look at the world of marine science. The week starts with the For the Love of Turtles Open House on Saturday, February 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and continues through the week with fun, informative programs like the Little Flippers Club, Get Inside the Fish and Marine Animal Medical Mystery. There is a different theme every day like turtles, sharks/rays and manatees. The center is open all week (even Sunday) with programs scheduled on Saturdays and Monday-Friday. The National Marine Life Center is at 120 Main Street in Buzzards Bay, 508-743-9888.
During February school vacation, Plimoth Plantation poses the thought: "imagine what you could do if you mastered the skills of the 17th century". All week, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids are invited to sign up and become a 17th century apprentice at the living history museum. Learn about being a painter or a weaver, a baker or a sailmaker. Kid-friendly films will also be shown all week in the Plimoth Cinema with the added bonus of free admission for the children of members. Plimoth Plantation is at 137 Warren Ave., in Plymouth, 508-746-1622.
The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has three events planned for the whole family, "Seasons and Cycles in Nature", "Winter Greens Walk" and "Weather Wise" (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.). You'll be outside for most of the time, so it is important to dress appropriately. Visit their site or the CapeCodToday.com calendar of details about each event. The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is at 131 Waquoit Highway (Route 28), Waquoit/Falmouth, 508-457-0495.
The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is offering three February Vacation Adventures per day, one catered to 5- to 6-year-olds, one for 7- to 8-year-olds and one for 9- to 11-year-olds. Search the program catalog for the best fit for your family. The sanctuary's trails and nature center will also be open during the week. The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is off Route 6 in South Wellfleet, 508-2615.
Cape Codders, be sure to check with your town's recreation department and library to see what kid-friendly events they have planned to stave off boredom during school vacation.
Even though you may already live on Cape Cod, you can still enjoy the facilities including heated indoor pools at many local resorts. Some, like the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis, offer daily pool passes for a fee. The Cape Codder has the Cape's only indoor wave pool--a real treat in the middle of the winter.
When you can't find something for the kids to do, you can always rely on the usual favorites including bowling alleys, entertainment centers (arcades) and movie theaters, like Entertainment Cinemas at Patriot Plaza in South Dennis where they will be showing Lego® the Movie--sure to be an instant hit with kids--on two screens.