With kids out of school for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, many families will be looking to finish their holiday season with some fun. Here’s a roundup of some of the many family-friendly events happening around central and western Massachusetts.
Old Sturbridge Village – Christmas by Candlelight
New England’s largest living museum, Old Sturbridge Village, is transformed for the holidays during its annual “Christmas by Candlelight” celebration. Horse-drawn carriage rides, a nightly lighting ceremony, a bonfire, demonstrations about classic holiday traditions and visits with Santa Claus are just a few of the events for visitors to experience.
New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill – Night Lights
In the summer, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill in Boylston is home to numerous species of plants and flowers. However, during the holidays, the garden is still full of color with a “Night Lights” display, which turns the 171-acre public garden into a winter wonderland of twinkly lights, colorful displays and seasonal sweet treats.
Ecotarium – Wild About Winter Vacation Week program and Noon Year’s Eve
The Ecotarium in Worcester is running its “Wild About Winter Vacation Week” program, designed to educate and entertain children with a week of winter-themed experiments and activities that include “Snowflake Symmetry,” “Afternoon Astronomy” and “Animals in Winter.”
The children can also celebrate the launch of 2023 with “Noon Year’s Eve,” complete with a family-friendly New Year’s countdown and time capsule creation.
Southwick Zoo - Winter Wonderland and the Festival of Illumination
Southwick Zoo in Mendon is home to more than 850 animals and during the zoo’s “Winter Wonderland and the Festival of Illumination,” the park is transformed with the help of Christmas lights and handcrafted lanterns. The Acrobats at the Cirque D’Illumination, Queen of Arrendelle and the Spirit Queen and Santa Claus all make special appearances throughout the festival.
Berkshire East Mountain Resort
Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont is one of several ski mountains in the area for families looking to spend some time outside. The mountain features 45 trials of all difficulty levels serviced by six lifts, while their Snow Tubing Park is perfect for little ones who are not ready for the thrill of the mountains yet.
Ventfort Hall – The Very Late Christmas Present
The Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox was built in 1893, and while the museum preserves the architecture of the Gilded Age, its creative events give new perspective on the past. On Dec. 28 and 30, the museum presents a marionette show entitled “The Very Late Christmas Present.” On the night of Dec. 30, local author Robert Oakes will give a ghost tour of the mansion.
Norman Rockwell Museum – Prime Time Me
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge is celebrating the holidays with “Prime Time Me,” a series of events featuring creative activities geared toward children. Inspired by the artwork found in “Eloise in Hollywood,” Hilary Knight’s Broadway posters and fashion designs, kids will be able to design their own “passport,” complete with a self-portrait, then relax with some holiday snacks.
Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum – Grinch’s Grotto
The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, located in Springfield Museums, is taking guests inside a beloved holiday classic. The “Grinch’s Grotto” gives visitors a rare glimpse into world of Whoville, with interactive activities and photos opportunities.
Holyoke Heritage State Park – First Night Junior
Ring in the New Year at “First Night Junior” at Holyoke Heritage State Park. The festivities include unlimited merry-go-round rides, live entertainment and a family-friendly ball drop in the afternoon.