24 Community Highlights: Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark.

Bald Eagles to Beavers. Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark… These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community-based educational highlight this week: Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 5 at 1pm, gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Native FaunaNature-Based LearningNative American CultureMusic StudiesLocal HistoryHikingCircus ArtsOutdoor ConcertsAnimalsArt StudiesFire SafetyCartooningSTEMArts & Crafts

Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:

Native Fauna

Saturday, July 4. 9am-12pm — Few symbols evoke a sense of patriotism as strongly as the bald eagle! Take a morning paddle on Independence Day along the Connecticut River in search of these incredible birds. Bald eagles were first seen building a nest on Barton Cove Island in 1989 and continue to nest there today. Perhaps an eaglet will be ready to fledge and you’ll get to witness it! Hosted by the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environment Center. Appropriate for ages 12 and older; registration required. 800-859-2960. Barton Cove, Gill, MA. (< $ if bringing your own boat; $$ to rent one)

Wednesday, July 8. 7pm-8:30pm — From afar, a beaver dam looks like a big pile of sticks, but a closer examination reveals careful construction and cool inner architecture! Through the creation of dams, beavers have had profound effects on plant, animal, and microbial communities across the country. Learn more about our country’s largest rodent at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, a Mass Audubon property. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and a hat, and bring binoculars if you have them. Suitable for children 3-12 years old. 413-637-0320. 472 W Mountain Road, Lenox, MA. (< $)

Nature-Based Learning

Saturday, July 4. 10:30am-11:30am — Explore the Canal-side Rail Trail by foot with a DCR Park Interpreter in this engaging program by the Great Falls Discovery Center. Participants will try to find all of the natural objects on their bingo cards after learning to use a field guide and binoculars to examine the fantastic world that exists along the canals. Children of all ages are welcome, but each should be accompanied by an adult. Sunscreen and insect repellent recommended. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Monday, July 6. 2pm-3pm — Young naturalists (ages 8-11) can become Junior National Rangers this summer through a four-part workshop at the Great Falls Discovery Center. Over the course of the month, participants will become experts on the Connecticut River watershed. Sessions meet Mondays through July (6, 13, 20, 27). All children should be accompanied by an adult; friends and siblings welcome, too! Registration requested. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Native American Culture

Saturday, July 4. 11am-2pm — The Nipmuc are one of North America’s First Nations, and for thirty thousand years, they lived in a region that included parts of southern NH, central MA, northeastern CT, and northern RI. Today the Otis Cultural Council presents a Native American Culture Exhibition which will be enriched by the participation of members of the Historical Nipmuc Tribe. 413-269-0100. Mountain View Campground, 1858 North Main Road, Otis, MA. (FREE)

Music Studies

Sunday, July 5. 1pmTanglewood‘s Watch and Play program gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Local History

Sunday, July 5. 1pm-3:30pm We usually think of buttons as functional items (if we think of them at all!) but like so many everyday objects, there exist specimens that are true works of art, and which carry unique stories. The Keep Homestead Museum has one of the largest displayed collections of antique and vintage buttons in the Northeast! Spend a lovely summer afternoon touring the museum and its local history riches, and fix yourself an ice cream sundae while you’re there, too! In case of rain the event will be held in the barn. 413-267-4137. 35 Ely Road, Monson, MA. (FREE)


Monday, July 6. 4:30pm-5:30pm – Get outside, meet other parents, caregivers and kids, get some exercise, and enjoy a local trail on this Hike it Baby hike along the Norwottuck Rail Trail! Participants may ride bikes, trikes, wagons, strollers, or scooters, and everyone is invited to bring bubbles to blow. Bring your helmet, too! 413-262-1146. Norwottuck Rail Trail parking area, Damon Road, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Circus Arts

Monday, July 6. 6:30pm — Can you juggle? Walk on stilts? Stun crowds with your plate spinning? If not, have no fear! Just make your way to the Erving Public Library for Marvelous Marvin’s Circus Arts workshop. You’ll be wowing yourself and others in no time! 413-423-3348. Erving Senior Center, 1 Care Drive, Erving, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, July 7. 4pm — The Traveling Rhubarb Circus Show will be at the Whately Library to perform their amazing acrobatic show with a fun storyline. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Outdoor Concerts

Monday, July 6. 7pm – 7:45pm — The Tilton Library presents outdoor Monday Night Music performances throughout the summer months, featuring local musicians! This week, John Blunt will play his unique folk music. 413-665-4683. 75 North Main Street, South Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, July 7. 10am — Every Tuesday morning through the summer, Look Park features children’s shows in the beautiful Pines Theater (or the Garden House Tent in case of rain). Today, Grammy-nominated musician Mister G will get kids singing and dancing along to his fun, energetic music, at this CD release concert for his new album, Los Animales! 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (< $)

Tuesday, July 7. 6pm Whether you bring your own picnic dinner or plan to partake of the tasty BBQ offerings on site, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to spend an evening on the grounds of the Clark Art Institute, dining and being entertained by some fine live music! This week features five-piece honky tonk band, Girl Howdy, with its blend of legendary covers and inspired original songs. 413-458-0471. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, July 8. 6:30pm — The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum‘s Wednesday Folk Traditions performances give concertgoers the opportunity to experience a wide range of folk music from around the world. Tonight’s concert features The Kevin Sharpe Group, a high-energy, modern gospel ensemble. Those interested in picnicking on the grounds beforehand or securing a prime spot may arrive as early as 5pm to do so. 413-584-4699. 130 River Drive, Hadley, MA. ($)

Thursday, July 9. 6pm — Every Thursday through the summer, the Angel Park Quiet Reflections Garden will host concerts for all to enjoy on its peaceful grounds. A wide array of talented local musicians will be featured. 413-575-9707. 23 Main Street, Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)


Friday, July 10. 11am — As a part of their annual Summer Spectacular Family Series, the Springfield Museums will be presenting featured performers every Wednesday through Friday in the Davis Auditorium. On Friday, July 10, Animal Adventures brings its premium live animal show to the stage! 413-263-6800 x 459. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($)

Art Studies

Tuesday, July 7. 10am-12pm You and your children can practice self-expression and enjoy being outdoors when you participate in the Norman Rockwell Museum‘s Summer Sketch Club together. Participants should bring a sketchbook or drawing pad; other art supplies will be provided. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and water bottle recommended. Ages 7 and up. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (< $)

Wednesday, July 8. 1pm — Families with children ages 8-12 are invited to the Mead Art Museum to experience the museum through engaging art adventures in their “Around the World” program. Registration required. 413-542-2295. 41 Quadrangle Drive, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Fire Safety

Tuesday, July 7. 11am-12pm — As a part of its summer reading program, the East Longmeadow Public Library invites children (with their caregivers) to a fire safety presentation with firefighter Chris Beecher and his fire truck. 413-525-5400 x 1506. 60 Center Square, Suite 2, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)


Wednesday, July 8. 2pm-3pm — As a part of its summer reading program, the East Longmeadow Public Library invites children ages 8-14 to a special introduction to cartooning workshop. Registration required. 413-525-5400 x 1506. 60 Center Square, Suite 2, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)


Thursday, July 9. 1pm-2pm — Visit the East Longmeadow Public Library for a gigantic LEGO build! The Library LEGO Lady has thousands of LEGOs to share. Stop by and see what amazing creations you can make! Ages 5 and up. Registration required. 413-525-5400 x 1506. 60 Center Square, Suite 2, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Friday, July 10. 5:30pm — Giant bubbles! Glow-in-the-dark-slime! Science offers so much to explore and so many ways to learn using engaging materials. At the Berkshire Museum‘s WeeMuse Science Night, children of all ages are invited to participate in science activities throughout the Museum. This night of wonder, discovery, and fun is not to be missed! 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Arts & Crafts

Friday, July 10. TBA —  Fairies and trolls need new summer abodes, and the Goodwin Memorial Library is setting out to create some with the help of crafty kids. Bring any nature materials you might have (or find) such as pinecones, seed pods, shells, and small pebbles, and get ready to create some fabulous homes for the fairies and trolls in your town! 413-584-7451. Corner of Route 47 & Route 9, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Friday, July 10. 9:30am – 12:30pm — Teachers interested in book cover art and design won’t want to miss “Creative Book Covers”, a workshop hosted by the Eric Carle Museum. Participants will explore artwork from the covers of picture books, discuss how covers inform the experience of reading a book, and learn engaging ways to share this information with their students. Registration required. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA ($$)

[Photo credit: (cc) MOTT]

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Buckland, Colrain, Cummington, Deerfield, Hadley, Longmeadow, Montgomery, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Sunderland, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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