Your Guide to February School Vacation Week 2017

Celebrate a local goat’s birthday, build a better mousetrap, and take in a play about monkeys and meatballs—all in one week.
actual_final_blue_main

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BLUE MAN GROUP BOSTON

For many Boston kids, February School Vacation Week is an opportunity to spend a whole nine days glued to their TVs, phones, and video games. Need to pry your kids off the couch? Consider these family-friendly Vacation Week events.

Make Way for Animals at the MFA

There are animals hiding everywhere on the walls of the MFA—and your family is invited to track them down this week on a 30-minute family tour of the galleries. Afterward, sit by the Guardian Lion to listen to all kinds of animal stories, or make your way to the Alfond Auditorium for a 40-minute puppet show. Plus, the kids will get the chance to make some art of their own as well: a collage creature, a dinosaur diorama, or paint your favorite animal in ink.

Free admission for youth 17 and under all week, Monday-Friday, February 20-24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., (to 8 p.m. on Wednesday), Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, mfa.org.

Disney on Ice Presents: Follow Your Heart

Whether you have little Frozen or Finding Dory fans, you and your kids can see all their Disney favorites as Disney on Ice skates into TD Garden this week. Watch the emotions from Inside Out help Riley win her hockey game, the Toy Story crew learn the meaning of friendship, and of course, Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel, and the rest of the Disney Princesses follow their hearts to make their dreams come true.

$15+, February 17-26, showtimes vary, TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, disneyonice.com.

Bugs Bunny Film Festival

Take a trip down memory lane this week and head to the Brattle Theatre for the 22nd annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival, honoring Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck, and of course, the wascally wabbit himself. The festival kicks off with the “All Bugs Revue,” and the “Daffy Duck and Friends” and “Looney Tunes Revue” will round out the week.

$8+, Friday-Saturday, February 17-25, showtimes vary, Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, brattlefilm.org.

Marketplace Movie Nights at Faneuil Hall

If you’ve already watched your way through the kids’ section of Netflix, then bring the family to Faneuil Hall for free movies in Quincy Market. With a lineup of family favorites including Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, and discounts on snacks and dinner options all over the market, you won’t miss your living room movie night one bit.

Free, Monday-Thursday, February 20-23, movies begin at 6:30 p.m., Quincy Market Building, 4 South Market Building, Boston, faneuilhallmarketplace.com.

Family Fun with the Blue Man Group

Ever wondered what it’s like to be blue? Now’s your chance to find out. For School Vacation Week, the Blue Man Group is offering day-glow face painting before select shows, in “true Blue Man style.” And that’s just the start of the fun in store—attendees are also invited to enjoy the lounge before and after the show, which features a full bar and the Blue Man Group’s latest musical invention, the “Lounge-U-Lum.” And of course, the Blue Men themselves will be available after the show for photo opportunities.

Free activities for ticketholders; tickets starting at $39, Saturday-Sunday, February 18-26, activities and showtimes vary, Blue Man Group Boston, 74 Warrenton St., Boston, blueman.com.

goat_2

PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIC KILBY

February Vacation Week at the Franklin Park Zoo

The Franklin Park Zoo is kicking off Vacation Week on Saturday the 18th with a wild party—Nigerian dwarf goat Chewbacca is celebrating her first birthday, and your kids are invited to wish her well by signing her birthday card. Then, starting Monday the 20th, the Animal Academy is rolling out the Spotted Carpet to honor their best and brightest. Convinced that the lions deserve Vocalist of the Year or that the leopard gecko is obviously Best Dressed? Cast your votes for the Spotted Carpet Awards Monday through Friday at the voting table in the Tropical Forest. Then, celebrate the nominees at the Awards Party on Saturday the 25th with crafts, zookeeper talks, and animal encounters.

Events included in admission price: youth ages 2-12 $12.95, children under 2 free, Monday-Saturday, February 18-25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston, zoonewengland.org.

Performances by Boston Children’s Theatre

This Vacation Week, catch two special shows by Boston Children’s Theatre. Young theatregoers can catch their favorite little monkey in Curious George and the Golden Meatball, a laugh-out-loud, musical adventure in which George helps Chef Pisghetti master his meatball recipe and enter the world-famous Golden Meatball Contest in Rome. Older audiences will love Miss Nelson Is Missing!, a hysterical musical mystery based on Harry Allard’s wildly popular picture book of the same name.

Miss Nelson Is Missing!: $10+, Sunday-Sunday, February 4-25, showtimes vary, Roberts Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston, bostonchildrenstheatre.com.

Curious George and the Golden Meatball: $10+, Saturday-Sunday, February 18-26, showtimes vary, Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington, Saturday-Sunday March 4-19, showtimes vary, Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis St., Beverly, bostonchildrenstheatre.com.

Art and Architecture Adventures at the ICA

The ICA invites families to tour the galleries for inspiration, then design and create their own small-scale architectural models. The brand-new Band of American Art Lab installation will also be open for even more hands-on fun.

Free with museum admission; youth under 17 admitted free, Monday-Wednesday, February 20-22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., ICA Boston, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, icaboston.org.

Winter Party at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

At this year’s Winter Party, the Gardner Museum is offering activities for artists of all kinds. Guest actress Black Venus will present an interactive theatre experience for the whole family, dancer Nadine Martinez will perform in the Courtyard, and guests are invited to take inspiration from the winter chill and create icy-hued art in the Bertucci Education Studio. Pop-up talks and gallery games will focus around the many shades of blue on display in the museum.

Free with museum admission; youth under 18 admitted free, Monday, February 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, gardnermuseum.org.

AAAS Family Science Days

If your little scientists are ready to upgrade from the baking soda and vinegar volcano, kick off Vacation Week by attending AAAS’s Family Science Days at Hynes Convention Center. Your kids will be able to explore interactive exhibits, chat with real scientists, and learn all about careers in the science field.

Free, Saturday-Sunday, February 18-19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston, aaas.org.

thumbnail_City Builder LDC Chicago

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF LEGOLAND

Lego City Builder: Legoland Discovery Center Boston

Lego lovers, rejoice—Legoland Discovery Center will open their brand-new Lego City Builder area just in time for Vacation Week. The City Builder will be a highly interactive display that includes skyscrapers, police and fire stations, cafes, suburban streets, beaches, and more. In honor of Vacation Week, there will also be photo stations with Lego characters, building challenges, and some exciting Lego City prizes.

$15+ online, $23+ in store, special Vacation Week hours, February 18-26, Sunday-Thursday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday-Saturday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Legoland Discovery Center, 598 Assembly Row, Somerville, legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

Kids in the Kitchen: Cooking Camp at the Boston Public Market

Taking a class during Vacation Week might sound like an elementary schooler’s nightmare—but with hands-on cooking lessons, vendor demonstrations, crafts, and storytime, the Boston Public Market kitchen campers will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re learning. In each half-day session, 6- to 10-year-olds will learn all about local food and what farm-to-table really means, munching on seasonal snacks every step of the way.

$60 per day, including lunch and snacks, Monday-Wednesday, February 20-22, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St., Boston, bostonpublicmarket.org.

Untold American Stories at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

This February Vacation Week, the Mary Baker Eddy Library will honor black history with programming that promises to be both educational and fun. Each day features two interactive workshops (pre-registration required) as well as drop-in arts and crafts and tours of the Mapparium. With guests like slam poetry champion Regie Gibson, the Harvard University Stepping Team, and artists Ashley Bryan and Selma Burke, your family will want to stop in every day of the week.

Free with museum admission; youth ages 6-17 $4, children 5 and under admitted free, Tuesday-Friday, February 21-24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Mary Baker Eddy Library, 200 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, marybakereddylibrary.org.

Feb Fest 2017: Assembly Required

Vacation Week is also National Engineers Week—and what better place to celebrate than the MIT Museum? The museum’s popular workshops return again this year (pre-registration required), focusing around chain reactions, kinetic sculptures, paper circuits, and more. Engineer wannabes can also take guided tours of the galleries, watch daily showcases led by MIT students and researchers, and take part in drop-in, hands-on engineering projects, like building elaborate mouse traps.

Free with museum admission, youth under 18 $5, Monday-Saturday, February 20-25, program times vary by day, MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, mit.edu.

Free Ice Skating at the Frog Pond

Cabin fever is a common side-effect of Vacation Week. The cure? Bundle up, lace up your skates, and head to the Frog Pond. Thanks to the Highland Street Foundation, admission, skate rentals, lockers, and even those cute, seal-shaped skating aids are all free this week, making the Frog Pond one of the best places for hours of active, outdoor fun. It’ll be family naptime before you know it.

Free, Monday-Friday, February 20-24, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Frog Pond, Boston Common, 139 Tremont St., Boston, highlandstreet.org.


Alyssa Vaughn Alyssa Vaughn, Editorial Intern at Boston Magazine avaughn@bostonmagazine.com