Rhubarb to Butterflies. Bedrock to Marble. Turtles to Trolley… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!
There’s fun stuff happening over the next few days! Down in the Pioneer Valley, families can check out the Amherst Town Fair on the Common all weekend, and take in a concert with Mister G at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday. Also in the Valley, Look Park in Florence turns on all their amenities too, including their water park and paddle boats! In the Hilltowns, the Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair happens all weekend at the at the Cummington Fairgrounds with loads of hands-on learning opportunities, fiber arts, and animals. Out in the Berkshires, there’s a Community Bike Ride in Pittsfield, Rhubarb Festival in Lenox and HoorWA’s annual Riverfest in Williamstown. Then on Monday are Memorial Day Parades in various town across the region! Check out our short list of parade highlights!
History ♦ Transportation ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Science ♦ Entomology ♦ Geology ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Parent Workshops
We’re starting off the weekend with David Grover who will be our Guest DJ for the Hilltown Family Variety Show with a History Through Stories & Songs Episode. As you’re heading out for your fun adventures tune in on your FM dial from 9-10am (103.3FM Northampton), or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from 6 years of archived shows!
During the 19th century, sheep shearing was one of the most important of all springtime chores! Shearing sheep meant warm wooly clothes for all. Learn about wool (from sheep to mittens!) this weekend at Old Sturbridge Village during Wool Days! Wool Days brings demonstrations of sheep herding and shearing, as well as spinning, carding, and weaving, to the village. Families can learn while being immersed in 1800’s culture and participating in hands-on activities! Happens all day Saturday, May 25th thorough Monday, May 27th.
Learn about the history of the art of table setting at Ventfort Hall Guilded Age Museum in Lenox on Saturday afternoon. A unique lens to view history through! Older students and parents can attend a tea and talk lead by Tjasa Sprague. Titled, “Splendid Tables,” the talk will discuss types of table settings, and the ways in which they have evolved throughout changes in American culture.
Celebrate Sojourner Truth and the important role that Northampton played in the history of the Underground Railroad on Sunday afternoon in Florence – the Sojourner Truth Statue Committee and Enchanted Circle Theater bring a special presentation to Florence! This free program will include music, song, and dance, and an optional walking tour.
While the communities in the Swift River Valley were being dismantled in order to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir (Boston’s source of clean water), the state hired photographers to document the process. On Sunday afternoon, families can visit the Quabbin Visitors Center in Belchertown to see a selection of these photographs. An important part of local history, the history of Quabbin opens the door for many important family discussions about fairness, ownership, and natural resources. Free.
Visit the Westhampton Historical Commission’s Blacksmith Shop Museum on Monday afternoon to celebrate the opening of a new free exhibit on the Loudville Lead Mine, an important part of local history. Visitors can see old maps, mining tools, photographs, and other artifacts.
The Amherst Historical Society invites families to learn about Amherst past at the historic West Cemetery, final resting place of Emily Dickinson and other notable locals. This free walk happens on Monday afternoon and is lead by Bob Drinkwater, past president of the Association for Gravestone Studies. Learn more about the history of the place you live in at this family-friendly tour.
Learn about how the Civil War affected New England communities on Tuesday evening, May 28th, at Storrowton Village in West Springfield! Interpreters host, “Storrowton and the Civil War,” a storytelling tour that highlights the changes that took place in small villages while the men were away fighting during the Civil War.
Chesterwood, a National Trust Historic Site, host their Vintage Motorcar Festival on Sunday, May 26th in Stockbridge. Families can get a glimpse into history by viewing vintage vehicles on display. Kids can join in a car scavenger hunt and put their STEM skills to practice in LEGO car racing. Youth ages 15yo+ can also participate as judges of displayed vehicles. There will be live music, local foods and a nice afternoon at this national treasure!
The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum opens for the season on Memorial Day! Stop in on Monday, May 27th to learn about the historic vehicles once used to transport people up and over the hills surrounding the village.
Take a step back in time with the Wistariahurst Museum and Holyoke Parks and Recreation on Friday evening, May 31st in Holyoke. Classic Cars and Classic Music brings vintage automobiles, 50 cent root beer floats, live music from The Memories and The Dreamtones to the lawn at Wistariahurst. Car enthusiasts can see 40+ antique cars! Free.
Looking for more educational opportunities with a transportation theme? Mark your calendars for Saturday & Sunday, June 1st & 2nd for the Old Sturbridge Village antique car show, part of their Historic Transportation Weekend! Over 50 pre-1946 automobiles will be on display and there will be a procession of these cars at 3:30pm. This is a fun way to learn about transportation history, especially how cars looked in their earlier days.
Join the Hoffman Bird Club for an early morning of birding at the base of Mt. Greylock in New Ashford on Saturday, May 25th! Families with older children can participate in a free 4-mile walk along a marsh to limestone cliffs – the variety of habitat seen will mean a wide variety of bird species will be seen!
It’s all turtles, all day long at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday in Hampden for Turtle Day! Visit to meet a real, live turtle and to learn about the species of turtles native to Massachusetts. Then, visitors will be able to go on a natural history walk of the sanctuary’s grounds to learn about how the landscape was formed and to learn about turtle habitat. Free.
The Hadley Falls Fish Lift in Holyoke, a specially designed way to help fish move over a dam, is open for visitors! Families can visit the lift to learn about how it works, and to learn about the species of fish that make their way upstream in order to spawn in the place where they were born. Older students can use the visit as a way to examine the affects of humans on natural populations. The lift is open Wednesday-Sunday. Free.
During the spring, anadromous fish (those who live in the ocean but spawn in freshwater) make their way to their breeding grounds – watch them make their way down the Connecticut River at the Turners Falls Fishway! The fishway offers kids a chance to see directly into the river through a special viewing window, an experience that can serve as the foundation for building an understanding of the life cycle of fish and/or river ecosystems. Open Wednesday-Sunday. Free.
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield hosts Kitchen Ka-Boom on Saturday morning, May 25th, a fun hands-on science event for families! This monthly event features a different activity each month, and kids will get to play with everyday materials in order to learn about basic principles of biology, physics, and/or chemistry.
The Springfield Museums’ newest exhibit, “Amazing Butterflies,” opens on Saturday, May 25th! Fun and engaging for all ages, the exhibit teaches visitors about the life cycle of butterflies, adaptations, and even includes a Butterfly House, filled with live specimens of native species.
The Sunderland Library hosts A History of Honeybees in the US on Wednesday evening, May 29th with Warm Colors Apiary’s Dan Conlon. Learn about the history of beekeeping and its changing role within American society at this free presentation.
Visit Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke on Sunday afternoon, May 26th for Mt. Tom Rocks: Bedrock, Rock Quarry, Stone Structures, a free program all about the geologic history of the park. Visitors will learn about the rocks that form the mountain, as well as the stone structures (standing and not standing) that have been created in the park over the years.
Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams opens for the season on Memorial Day! Families can visit daily through Columbus Day weekend to see the only natural white marble arch and man-made marble dam in North America. Trails take visitors past a former marble quarry – it’s a beautiful park, and a visit can help support studies of local history, too!
Visit the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls for Kidleidescope, a science learning program for kids ages 3-6 and their parents. On Tuesday morning, May 28th, the center will offer stories, hands-on activities, and games focused on a common theme – kids will learn about their environment while having lots of fun! Free.
How does technology use align with child development? Are children’s motor and thinking skills affected by use of technology while they are young? The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a workshop titled, “Tech for Tots,” on Wednesday evening, May 29th at the Ware Family Center. Parents can learn about appropriate use of technology with children at this free workshop, as well as the effects of technology on child development!
Want an alternative to disposable diapers but don’t know where to begin? Protect your budget and your baby’s bottom with cloth diapers. Join Jessica Montagna from Simple Diaper & Linen for a free hands-on interactive workshop, Low-Impact Cloth Diapering Workshop, at River Valley Market Co-op in Northampton on Thursday, May 30th. She will cover all the ins and outs of cloth diapering, discuss the eco-costs and benefits, and help you find a system that works for your family. It’s the smarter, planet-friendly way to care for your newborn!
Find out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.