14 Community Highlights: Corn Mazes to County Fairs. 19th Century Games to Gallery Tours.

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

This is a great time of the year to go on a bug hunt with your kids. Search for these Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars in the leaf folds of sassafras, or the emerald green, gold studded chrysalis of the Monarch butterfly on the stems and leaves of milkweed. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Corn Mazes to County Fairs.  Beavers to Estuaries.  19th Century Games to Gallery Tours. These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Get out into your community and learn while you play!  And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week.  Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library!

LOCAL AGRICULTURE

For Labor Day weekend families can get a strong dose or two of local agriculture. The 145th annual Blandford Fair takes place Friday-Monday, Aug 31-Sept 3, as does the 195th edition of the Three County Fair in Northampton. Visit to learn about animals, local agriculture, local history, and local culture – and see magic shows, live music, and more! And all weekend long families can get lost in a corn maze at Warner Farm  in Sunderland. Mike’s Corn Maze offers a fun and challenging outdoor adventure (of the best kind!) for families of all ages.

HISTORY

Saturday, Sept 1st through Monday, Sept 3rd, families can visit Old Sturbridge Village for Family Fun Days!  This special long weekend program offers families a chance to play numerous games – as they were played in the 19th century!  Families can try a game of French and English, play baseball, watch a fire balloon fight, and do 1800’s crafts.  There will also be chances to see craftsmen at work on various projects, tour the village, and learn about 19th century life.

On Friday evening, Sept 7th, older students interested in local history can participate in a program at the Great Falls Discovery Center to learn about the settling of Turners Falls, the development of industry, and cultural changes within the community.  This talk will focus on the immigration of a specific group, and the changes that occurred during the time when that group came to the area. It’s a free talk and best for teens and older.

ASTRONOMY

Arunah Hill Days take place this weekend in Cummington, bringing with them a host of astronomy activities and outdoor adventures for families!  On Saturday afternoon, Sept 1st, families can visit the nature center for a GPS treasure hunt, nature walks of the grounds, and rocket building and launching!  Evening will bring telescopes, and stargazing!  Master gazers will help families with telescope use and will teach visitors to find and identify stars, constellations, and more.  Activities take place throughout the day.

Then Friday evening, Sept 7th, the Springfield Museums host Stars Over Springfield.  Visit the museum to take a peek at the stars through a rooftop telescope!  In case of clouds or rain, a planetarium show will be presented instead.

NATURE & ANIMAL ADVENTURES

Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls will be exploring habitats of the Connecticut River watershed using their investigation stations over the next few weeks, starting with estuaries on Sunday afternoon, Sept 2nd.  Park interpreters will be on hand to help families with children of all ages understand exhibits and will focus shared information on a particular habitat found in the watershed.  Then on Tuesdays mornings the center hosts an environment-themed program for kids ages 3-6yo called Kidleidescope, and interactive learning opportunity with crafts. All programs are free.

On Wednesday morning, Sept 5th, families with preK kids can take a hike at Mt. Greylock in Lanesborough!  Their “Nice and Easy” family-friendly hike is about two hours long and will cover 1-2 miles of trail. Then in the evening in Lenox, families with slightly older kids can visit Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary’s beaver ponds to learn about beaver habits and local habitats.  The program will also teach visitors information on animals that are attracted to beaver-created ponds, and the changes that beavers have caused to landscapes since their reintroduction to the area over 80 years ago.

ART ADVENTURES

On Wednesday morning, Sept 5th, the Norman Rockwell Museum hosts, “Creating Together: A Parent-Child Experience,” an art workshop featuring a gallery tour and hands-on art making in Stockbridge, and in the afternoon, the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls hosts open studio hours where families can visit to experiment with art materials and try out new forms of expression – or just to work on perfecting skills.

On Friday evening, Sept 7th, Pittsfield host First Friday art walk, which means families will have a chance to explore galleries, shops, and restaurants, all featuring beautiful artwork by a variety of artists, mediums and styles.

Bucket ListFind out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.  And don’t forget about our Bucket List of 60 recommendations of things to do and places to see in Western MA in the summer by Hilltown Families readers (and add you’re own recommendation too!)

SUPPORTING BOOK TITLES:

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