April vacation is fast approaching, and once again parents must think about what to do to entertain the kids. As we did for February school vacation, we have developed a list of 10 great things to do during April school vacation.
Of course some of the things from February vacation may still apply so you may want to check out Top 10 Things to Do During 2012 February School Vacation Week for some “leftover” ideas. But we also spent a lot of time thinking about things to do that can take advantage of the warmer spring weather…
1. Airplanes Anyone?
If you are an aviation buff then there are a few air museums that you may wish to check out:
- The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT
- The Quonset Air Museum in North Kingstown, RI
- The New Hampshire Aviation Historical Society-Aviation Museum in Londonderry, NH
2. Check out the American Revolution
The opening battles of the American Revolutionary War, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, MA, were on April 19, 1775. What better thing to do during April vacation than visit where it all started? Visit Minuteman National Historic Park that preserves numerous sites from those first battles. Better yet, every year on Patriots Day the Town of Lexington has a reenactment of the 1775 battle in Lexington. For details on that reenactment and other Patriots Day weekend events see Patriots Day on the National Park Service website.
3. Ride an Antique Carousel
A great time for the whole family is riding on one of New England’s antique carousels. To learn more about the antique carousels in New England see New England’s Antique Carousels and New England’s Antique Metal Carousels. Now all of these will not be open during April school vacation, but we did some research to find the ones that are:
- Flying Horses Carousel (1876), Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, MA – This is the oldest platform carousel in the United States so it is well worth a ride. The carousel opens on Saturday April 7, 2012 and is open weekends and the week April 13 to 21.
- Heritage Museums & Gardens Carousel (1911), Sandwich, MA – Open daily as of April 14, 2012.
- Holyoke Merry-Go-Round (1927), Holyoke Heritage State Park, Holyoke, MA – Only open weekends at this time of year.
- Paragon Carousel (1928), Hull, Massachusetts – Only open weekends at this time of year, weather permitting.
- Carousel at Quechee Gorge Village (1930s), Quechee, VT – This carousel is open all of April vacation week.
You may also want to check out the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol, CT.
4. Go Dinosaur Crazy
If you have kids who like dinosaurs (what kid doesn’t like a dinosaur?) you may want to check out Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT. They are actually sponsoring a series of animal demonstrations, track talks and guided nature walks during April school vacation week.
5. Go for a Hike
With the small amount of snow-fall this year, and unseasonably warm temperatures, what there was of mud season is pretty much over in southern New England, and very manageable in most of northern New England. So get out there and hit the trails for a nice spring walk. There are plenty of state parks with trails. Check out these state park websites for specifics:
- Connecticut State Parks and Forests
- Maine State Parks
- Department of Conservation and Recreation Parks in Massachusetts
- Parks & Recreation New Hampshire
- Rhode Island State Parks
- Vermont State Parks
6. Visit a Lighthouse
While it might be too cool to go to beach in April, and the water is certainly too cold for all but the most intrepid, visiting any of New England’s lighthouses is a great way to enjoy the seashore…
7. Visit a Mansion
Want to see the summer cottages of the rich and famous of the gilded age? Then head to Newport, RI and take in the Newport Mansions. The mansions are so spectacular that it is a good time for old and young alike.
8. See Some Living History
Living history museums are great fun for the entire family, and the kids might learn something without even realizing it… The New England living history museums that will be open during April school vacation include:
- Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield MA
- Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT
- Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA
- Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA
9. Museums, Museums, and More Museums
We admit it. We did suggest museums for February vacation as well. This time, however, we are going for some more unique museums, such as:
- The American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, VT
- The Butterfly Place – Westford, MA
- Ecotarium in Worcester, MA
- The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art in Amherst, MA
- The Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, MA
- The Military Museum of Southern New England in Danbury, CT – be sure to check our their open turret days
- The New England Ski Museum in Franconia, NH – just in case the weak winter of 2011/2012 has left you wanting for more…
- Salem Witch Museum in Salem, MA – while in Salem you may also want to consider checking out the House of Seven Gables and the Peabody Essex Museum
10.Ships, Ships, and More Ships
Another excuse to end up near the seashore is visiting any of the number of ships that are open to the public around New England. Ships you may want to check out include:
- Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA where you can see the battleship Massachusetts, the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., and the World War II submarine USS Lionfish
- Charles W. Morgan, the last surviving wooden whaling ship in Mystic Seaport, CT
- Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth in Plymouth, MA
- Schooner Ernestina, an 1894 fishing schooner in New Bedford, MA
- Sherman Zwicker, an original Grand Banks fishing vessel in Bath, ME
- USS Albacore, a retired US Navy research submarine in Portsmouth, NH
- USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship in Boston, MA
- USS Salem, the only preserved U.S. Navy heavy cruiser in Quincy, MA
- USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered submarine at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT
Also check out: