Easter Events in Western MA, 2015

Easter Events in Western MA 2015

During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Check our list of Easter events for an egg hunt nearest you, along with Easter craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances.

Community events that celebrate Easter take place over the next few week.

We’ll be adding to this list as events come in, so be sure to check back: Easter Events in Western MA 2015.

Easter Events in Western MA, 2014

Easter Events in Western MA 2014

During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Check our list of Easter events for an egg hunt nearest you, along with Easter craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances.

Community events that celebrate Easter take place through April 20th. We’ll be adding to this list as events come in, so be sure to check back: Easter Events in Western MA 2014.

Volunteer with Gray House in Springfield

Support Neighbors in Transition
Volunteer with Gray House in Springfield

Looking for community service opportunities to do as a family? Whether you’re hoping to fill a few free afternoons with an engaging activity or are planning to make a long-term commitment to lending a hand with a community organization, opportunities for service learning abound at The Gray House! Located in Springfield’s North End, The Gray House offers a thrift shop and food pantry twice a week, along with after school programming and a place-based summer program for Springfield students.

Families can spend time sorting donations at the thrift shop or food pantry on Mondays and Wednesday-Friday. Volunteers on these days help to sort donations, prepare distribution bags, and fill displays of food, household items, and clothing – activities that are all necessary to keep the services running smoothly. Both the shop and the pantry are always in need of volunteers, but families don’t have to commit to regular visits – perfect for busy families, or those with regularly changing schedules.

If you’re hoping to become involved in a long-term service learning project, volunteers are also always needed to help out with The Gray House’s Community Education Support Program (CESP) and the Kids’ Club after school and summer programs. Best for teens and parents, these programs offer valuable education-related resources to the community. People from more than 16 countries utilize the English language and literacy skills classes that CESP offers, and the Kids’ Club provides a fun, safe, and engaging after-school environment for students (not to mention that participants also get free dinner!). No experience with education is necessary in order to volunteer for either program, but volunteers must make at least a 4-week commitment and will receive training before beginning.

Volunteering for a community organization is a great hands-on, experiential way for families to learn about supporting their community. Kids old enough to participate will learn valuable lessons about helping their neighbors and giving back. There are many powerful lessons that can be learned through community service!

The Gray House is located at 22 Sheldon Street in Springfield. Contact Katie Manning at 413-734-6696 for information on volunteering and the services offered.

Easter Events in Western MA, 2013

Easter Events in Western MA 2013

During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Find an egg hunt nearest you, along with Easter craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances.

Community events that celebrate Easter take place through April 13th. We’ll be adding to this list as events come in, so be sure to check back.

Saturday, March 16th

In Great Barrington at 3pm, earn to make naturally-dyed eggs with the Berkshire Co-op! Families will learn how to use food, flowers, leaves, and more to create beautifully decorated, all-natural holiday eggs. You’ll get to take the eggs that you dye home, and make sure to wear clothes that can get messy. 413-528-9697. 42 Bridge Street. (FREE)

In Otis at 10am, the town of Otis will host an Easter Egg Hunt and Games event. BYO basked and arrive at the town hall. For more info call 413-269-4541. (FREE)

In Whatley at 12noon, Marion Abrams will be leading a Family Batik Ukrainian Egg Workshop at the Whately Library. Children ages 8yo+ will learn basic skills for beautiful traditional Ukrainian Pysanky. 413-247-9807. (FREE)

Saturday, March 23rd

In Adams from 10-11:30am, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum will host an Old Fashioned Easter Egg Hunt with hard boiled eggs colored by Daisy Troop 40054 for kids up to ages 12yo. 413-743-7121. 67 East Road.

In Amherst from 12noon-3pm, Atkins Farms hosts an Easter Egg & Candy Hunt with the Easter Bunny.  Photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny. BYO basket.  Under the pavilion. 413-253-9528. Corner of RTE.116 & Bay Rd.  (FREE)

In Easthampton at 10am, there will be an Egg Hunt at Daley Field. Bring a camera for photos with Easter Bunny. BYO basket. For kids ages 10yo and younger. Easthampton High School. Williston Ave. (FREE) – Rain/Snow Date: 3/30

In Great Barrington from 10-11:30am, Berkshire South Regional Community Center will host an egg hunt. Toddlers to age 6yo are welcomed. BYO basket. Pre-register. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. (>$)

In Huntington at 2pm, the Huntington Recreation Committee will host an Egg Hunt at Pettis Field for Huntington kids (& grandkids) 10yo and younger. BYO basket. 413-667-3500. (FREE) – Rain/Snow Date: 3/24, 2pm.

In New Marlborough at 10:30am, the New Marlborough Library will host a Spring Egg Hunt at the New Marlborough Central School for children up to 11yo.  BYO basket and camera to take photos with the Easter Bunny. 413-229-6668. – Rain/Snow Date: 3/24, 1pm

In Northampton at 1pm, Marion Abrams will be leading a Family Batik Ukrainian Egg Workshop at the Forbes Library. Marion will teach basic skills for beautiful traditional Ukrainian Pysanky. Children ages 8yo+ are welcomed. 413-247-9807. (Free/>$)

In South Hadley at 12noon, the Odyssey Children’s Department will be hiding 100 eggs in store for an Epic Easter Egg Hunt! Two simultaneous Egg Hunts will happen, one on each floor, divided according to age. Spring Storytime follows hunt. BYO baskets. All ages welcome. 413-534-7307. 9 College St. (FREE)

In Wendell from 10am-12noon, Diemand Farm hosts their annual Easter Egg Hunt. There will be egg coloring, crafts and an egg hunt for your children to enjoy. A variety of baby animals including rabbits, goats and lambs will be there to pet–and maybe even feed! 126 Mormon Hollow Road. (FREE)

In Westfield at 11am, the Mayor’s Easter Egg Hunt happens at Shaker Farms Country Club. Kids can search for eggs filled with treats – BYO basket! The Easter Bunny will visit at 11:30am, and kids can get their faces painted. 413-572-1260. 866 Shaker Road. (FREE) – Rain/Snow Date: 4/1, 11am.

In Wilbraham from 10:30am-1pm, the Wilbraham Children’s Museum will host an egg hung for kids ages 5yo and younger. BYO baskets and come hunt for over 400 eggs, enjoy indoor crafts and story time. Hunt begins promptly at 11am. 678 Main Street. (>$) – Rain or Shine.

In Williamstown at 10am, Sweet Brook of Williamstown Rehabilitation and Nursing Center hosts their 3rd annual Easter Egg Hunt. Children up to 10yo can join in. There will be Easter baskets and plastic eggs filled with candy to hunt for on the grounds. 413-458-8371. 1561 Cold Spring Road. (FREE) – Rain/Snow Date: 3/24, 2pm.

Sunday, March 24th

In Ludlow at 12noon, Randall Boys and Girls Club host an Easter Egg Hunt for kids ages 3-11yo. Pictures with the Easter Bunny at 12noon. Hunt begins at 1pm. Must register by 3/22. Rain date: April 7. 413-583-2072. 91 Claudia’s Way. (>$) – Rain/Snow Date: 4/7.

In Sunderland at 2pm, Sunderland Recreation host their 14th annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Sunderland Elementary School. 413-665-1439. 1 Swampfield Dr. (FREE)

Friday, March 29th

In Health from 10:30-11:30am, the Heath Library will host an Egg Hunt on the Town Common in lieu of their weekly story hour. They ask that all participants RSVP. 413-337-4934 x7 (FREE)

Saturday, March 30th

In Agawam at 10am, the Great Easter Egg Hunt happens at the Bethany Assembly of God. Kids ages 1-12yo can join in an Egg Hunt, win prizes and enjoy a performance by the TNT Puppet Team. 413-789-2930. 580 Main Street. (FREE)

In Cheshire from 11am-6pm, Whitney’s Farm Market hosts their Annual Easter Egg Hunt.  Kids ages 5yo and under search at 11am.   Kinds ages 6yo and older search at 3pm. 413-442-4749. 1775 S. State Rd. (FREE)

In Chicopee from 10am-12:15pm, the Chicopee Parks Dept hosts their annual Easter Egg Hunt at Szot Park. Kids are invited to make a silly pair of bunny feet during the event and prizes will even be awarded. In the upper fields at the park, thousands of eggs will litter the field, with good luck eggs sprinkled throughout! Call to register: 413-594-3481. Upper Szot Park. (>$) – Rain site: Chicopee Academy.

In Dalton, the Dalton CRA host an Easter Egg Hunt on the CRA Memorial Lawn. Open to kids 11yo or younger. Easter Bunny visit too. BYO basket. 413-684-0260. 400 Main Street. (FREE) – Rain site: CRA gym.

In Florence at 9:30 & 11am, Look Park hosts two seatings for families to have a breakfast buffet with the Easter Bunny at the Garden House. Tickets sold first come first served. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main St. ($)

In Florence from 1-2pm, the Northampton Rec Department host their annual EGGstravaganza Egg Hunt at Look Park for children ages 10yo and younger. With over 10,000 eggs with goodies inside, kids can scramble for eggs according to age group. BYO basket, get your photo taken with the Easter Bunny, and even win prizes. Be sure to arrive early! 300 North Main St. (FREE/>$ Parking)

In Granby at 11am, the Granby PM Club hosts an Egg Hunt for kids 12yo and younger at the Dufresne’s Park Gazebo. BYO basket. (FREE) – Rain Cancels.

In Hadley from 10:30am-12noon, Hadley Park & Rec. to host an Easter Party at the Hadley Elementary School. Pictures with the Easter Bunny, crafts and fun activities. BYO basket to collect eggs! 21 River Dr. (FREE) – Rain or Shine.

In Holyoke at 10am, Holyoke Parks and Recreation hosts an Egg Hunt and Spring Celebration at the Holyoke Heritage State Park. Easter egg hunts for four age groups, great prizes, face painting, gift bags and a t-shirt decorating station (t-shirts and gift bags included for the first 500 children), pony rides, craft stations and of course a chance to meet the Easter Bunny! BYO basket. 413-322-5620. 221 Appleton Street. (>$) – Rain or Shine.

In Ludlow at 11am, the Hubbard Library host their annual egg hunt. Kids of all ages are invited to the Library’s egg hunt, sponsored by the Friends of the Library! Children will search the grounds for colorful eggs, and a chance to win prizes. Kids who have food allergies can swap for non-candy eggs. BYO basket. 413-583-3408 x3. 24 Center Street. (FREE)

In Pittsfield at 10:30am, the Annual Eggstravaganza Egg Scramble will be held at Pittsfield’s Morningside Community School. Five different age categories beginning at 10:30am-11:25am, open to all Pittsfield children. One winner in each age group who finds the golden egg will receive a special prize! BYO baskets. Easter Bunny will make a special appearance. 100 Burbank Street. (FREE) – Rain or Shine.

In Springfield from 11am-1pm, The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center hosts a Spring “Egg”stravananza. Collect eggs along the “bunny trail.”  Meet live animals that all come from eggs, and bring your camera for a photo with the Easter Bunny. 413-733-2251. 302 Sumner Ave.

In Stockbridge at 11am, the Stockbridge Library host an annual Easter Egg Hunt to follow a spring story time and book giveaway. 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street. (FREE)

In West Springfield at 9:45am, West Springfield residents are invited to join the search for over 7,000 eggs at the West Springfield Park and Recreation Department annual Easter Egg Hunt at Mittineague Park. Children ages 7yo and younger are invited to meet the Easter Bunny and receive a candy treat between 9:45-10:30am in the tennis court area and then the Easter Hunt will begin sharply at 10:30am. Children will be divided into three color-coded age groups. 413-781-3020. Mittineague Park. (FREE) – Call if rain/snow.

In Worthington at 10:30am, Worthington Easter Egg Hunt takes place at R.H. Conwell School.  Kids hunt followed by teen/adult hunt.  All are welcomed. 413-238-5500. (FREE)

Sunday, March 31st

In Deerfield from 10am-3pm, celebrate Easter at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle! There will be delicious food (some from local farms!) and the Easter Bunny will stop by to visit! Reservations suggested. 413-665-1277. 25 Greenfield Road. A ($$)

Saturday, April 13th

In Turners Falls at 1pm, the 8th Annual Peter Cottontail’s EGGstravaganza takes place at Unity Park. Children ages 4-12 are invited to take part in this great community tradition. Activities include face painting, egg coloring, pictures with Peter Cottontail, and a 5,000 Egg Hunt! BYO basket. Unity Park, First Street. (FREE) – (Originally scheduled on 3/23)

[Photo credit: (ccl) Jose Chavarry]

Teen Volunteer Opportunity with Habitat for Humanity & Zoo in Forest Park

Springfield Non-Profits Working Together!
“Habitat Goes to the Zoo!” Volunteer Event
Saturday, Sept. 22nd

Laura Browne of Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) chats up a friendly camel during her site visit to the Zoo in Forest Park. (Courtesy photo)

Teens ages 16yo and older and their parents are invited to participate in the volunteer opportunity event, “Habitat Goes to the Zoo!” on Saturday, Sept. 22nd!

The Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) and The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center, two cherished Springfield non-profits, are working together to improve the public grounds at the Zoo for the community to enjoy by organizing this volunteer opportunity.

Jennifer Schimmel, Executive Director of GSHFH says, “Our primary mission is to provide decent, affordable housing to families, usually human families,” she laughs. “Although this project falls outside of our typical mission, we are Springfield neighbors with the Zoo and the animals that live there need a little help with their housing as well.” Schimmel adds, “GSHFH is very adept at mobilizing and managing volunteers and we are glad to be leveraging that talent on behalf of the Zoo.”

John Lewis, Executive Director of the Zoo in Forest Park says “We have spent much of this season recovering from big property damage from the storms of last year. We are so grateful that we were able to connect with Greater Springfield Habitat to put the finishing touches on many of our exhibits. Habitat volunteers will focus on painting fourteen of our wooden buildings & animal sheds which will really look great when finished.”

The date for the “Habitat Goes to the Zoo!” event is Saturday, Sept. 22nd from 8:30am-3pm (rain date: Sunday, Sept 23). Teens ages 16-18yo are welcomed as volunteers along with an adult chaperone. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit habitatspringfield.org or call 413-739-5503.


The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center is more than 80 years old and located in Forest Park in Springfield, MA. They depend on the support of the community, memberships & educational programs to thrive. They have approximately 175 animals with over 85,000 annual visitors. Forestparkzoo.org

Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through homeownership opportunities. HabitatSpringfield.org

Springfield Museums Offer a Summer Finale of Educational Fun

Last Days of Summer at the Springfield Museums

We’re down to those last, bittersweet weeks of summer before fall routines gets re-established and school begins, and most of us have had that week’s vacation away elsewhere. So it may be a good time to plan a family day trip. Here’s my thoughts about what’s fun and educational at the Springfield Museums during these last few weeks of summer. For adults there’s the Tiffany Trail and for kids, a toys and games and Seuss trail.

The Tiffany Trail, which coordinates exhibits at 3 of our 4 museums, has been our main summer show. It’s a great opportunity to view the variety of work produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his New York Studio. At the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts you can see “Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art.” Enter a cool, low-lit gallery full of his lamps in botanical shapes, unexpected textures and glorious colors – all made from glass. One thing I like is that right away you’re oriented to the craft involved; two cases at the beginning of the show feature samples of the glass used in the pieces and the process of joining those pieces together to make beautiful and useful objects –not unlike a jigsaw puzzle. Large format photos show the Tiffany Company workshops and sales rooms in New York, period newspaper advertisements show how much the lamps cost in their heyday, and there are pictures of some of the botanical inspirations used in the work. This show closes on Sept. 9th.

As you cross the Quadrangle on the way to the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, you can visit the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden and sit in the Story Teller’s chair. Kids can check out some of their favorite Seuss characters, including a life-sized Horton. It’s a great spot for taking family pictures, so bring your camera.

Why Seuss in Springfield? Theodor S. Geisel – and yes, the S is for Seuss, his mother’s maiden name – was born in Springfield in 1904 and he grew up here. His dad ran the zoo in Forest Park and the family lived in that neighborhood. Dr. Seuss went to high school right across the street from the Museums, on State Street. The big building called Classical Condominiums used to be Classical High School, where he graduated in 1920 and a half! He starting his drawing career in high school and you can see his cartoons in his high school newspaper if you go to the Wood Museum of Springfield History and look at the Seuss exhibit there in the Great Hall.

In the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum you can check out the newly restored Tiffany windows commissioned by the Smiths themselves. They toured Europe and brought back many beautiful things, including a world-class collection of Asian art. Then they built their own museum in 1895 to share with the citizens of Springfield. They used to live in a house across the Quadrangle, where the D’Amour Museum is now, so they could walk over every day to be with their collections. Up the stairs on the second floor is another Tiffany treasure, a stained glass window called “The Light Bearer,” taken from the Church of the Unity across the street. It was given by the Bowles family, who started the Springfield Republican newspaper that many of us read today. On the second floor there’s also a Hasbro Discovery Center which is wondrously painted, and where kids can try on Asian inspired clothing and do activities and crafts.

Back outside, head toward the Science Museum and if you haven’t already, check out the big, big stick-work sculpture by artist Patrick Dougherty calledRoom by Room.” It’s made of nearly 8 tons of saplings, all woven together, and you can walk through the different “rooms.” It reminds me of some of the domed buildings that Dr. Seuss drew in his books, so it’s a perfect partner for his characters in the Seuss Sculpture Garden!

This summer, the Science Museum has a LEGO Castle Adventure interactive exhibit for kids, which is open until Sept. 9th. It’s on loan from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in partnership with LEGO. There are opportunities to build castles with LEGOs in age-appropriate settings, astonishing castles created by master-builders to view, and interactive exhibits which provide a chance to learn about medieval life. No reason not to check out the life sized dinosaur or the planetarium or the animal exhibits while you’re there. Just saying…..

Finally, you should go over to the new Wood Museum of Springfield History to see the silver Tiffany engraved firearms on the second floor. There are lots of great wall-sized photos of Springfield in the early 20th century to take you back to the heyday of Tiffany himself, and you can see the kinds of industrial innovations, and neat luxury cars, that were the capstone of his era. For children, it’s a great chance to see how innovations co-exist with what came before, especially in the realm of transportation. Photos show street life with horses, wagons, bicycles and electric streetcars all moving along at the same time.

In the Great Hall you can see Gee Bee racing planes suspended from the high, domed ceiling and learn about their 1930s history. Did you know that Springfield female flyer Maude Tait Moriarty bested Amelia Earhart’s speed record by 10 mph in 1931? That Indian Motorcycle, which begin in 1901, and was as popular as Harley Davidson in its heyday, marketed motorcycles to women in the nineteen teens and twenties, which you can see in their advertizing art in the Indian Motorcycle exhibit? That Milton Bradley began making games for soldiers to ease the boredom of camp life during the Civil War? You can see those early games and read about the Civil War from an original Springfield Republican newspaper from 1862. Then you can see later games made by Milton Bradley Co. in the Made in the Valley exhibit, and then follow up with a history of games on the wall which leads into the state-of-the-art Hasbro GameLand where kids and adults can play their own contemporary games of chance and skill and memory. Oh, and don’t forget to look at the Friendly Ice Cream exhibit on the second floor – you can see the original sign and counter from the first shop, started in July 1935 by the Blake brothers. We even have their first ledger where they kept their fledgling accounts – cool!

And don’t leave without looking at the Dr. Seuss exhibit I mentioned earlier – it’s in the Great Hall. You can see what inspired his art from photos of his surroundings in Springfield as he grew up.

But don’t just take my word for it – go and get the scoop at www.springfieldmuseums.org.

– Maggie Humberston


Maggie Humberston is the Head of the Library and Archives at the Wood Museum of Springfield History. She is on the board of the Pioneer Valley History Network, which works with its members to make everyone in western Massachusetts aware of our wonderful local history. She lives in the Springfield area with her family, including her Golden Retriever, Emma.

April Vacation Week at the Springfield Museums

April Vacation Week at the Springfield Museums

While visiting the Springfield Museums, check out one of the newest installations, GameLand, an exhibit that teaches visitors about the history of games in American culture and also the thinking and learning behind the basics of many classic games. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Springfield Museums’ usual array of family activities is broader than ever during school vacation week!  Along with the museums’ many family-friendly exhibits and galleries, there will be several performances, special events, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and more!

The museum is currently hosting an exhibit titled, “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors,” which will be open throughout the week – families can learn about the habitat of many different types of frogs and how their adaptations reflect where they live.

Daily at 1pm, there will be kids’ concerts and performances, featuring interactive music from Brian Gillie, an artistic hip-hop dance performance by Poetry in Motion, and a concert of Indonesian gamelan music.  Families will also be able to participate in scavenger hunts, see planetarium shows, create art projects related to current exhibits, and learn about science from the museums’ Roving Scientist!

Daily performance schedule includes:

  • Monday, April 16 – Song, Dance, and the Possibilities by Brian Gillie.
  • Tuesday, April 17 – Fascinatin’ Rhythms by Cornell “Sugarfoot” Coley.
  • Wednesday, April 18 – Hip Hop Dimensions by the Poetry in Motion Crew.
  • Thursday, April 19 – The Bramble Jam.
  • Friday, April 20 – Music, Masks and Dance of Bali, Indonesia by Triple Shadow.

And ongoing activities happening throughout the week include:

  • 10am-4:45pm: Scavenger Hunts in the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and the Wood Museum of Springfield History
  • 10:30am-1:30pm: Art Activities
  • 11am-2pm: Gallery Science Demonstrations with the Roving Scientist
  • 12noon-3:35pm: Art Discovery Center Activities
  • 11:15am, 12noon, 1pm & 2pm: Planetarium Shows ($)

For a full schedule and admission information, visit the museum’s website at www.springfieldmuseums.org or call 800-263-6800.

Springfield Libraries Celebrate National Library Week

Open House Day at All Springfield Library Branches: April 10th-15th

Springfield City Library writes:

A visit to Springfield City Library opens many doors, literally and figuratively, and “You Belong at Your Library,” theme of this year’s National Library Week, will be celebrated with Open House Days at all branches. Each branch will welcome visitors to their unique spaces and show off their extraordinary resources; in fact most have been open since the very first National Library Week in May 1957, when the theme was “Wake Up and Read!” During the week of April 9-15 special demonstrations, programs, and entertainment are planned. Stop in to any branch to sign up for a library card, check out materials and resources, and enjoy free refreshments! Through the generosity of the Friends of the Springfield Library as well as funding from the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, we are able to offer these Open House dates:

  • Tuesday, April 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Forest Park Branch, 380 Belmont Avenue, 413-263-6843. Please join us at 11 a.m. for Robert Rivest’s “Laughter Yoga”; and at 1 p.m. Manager Reggie Wilson will highlight resume and job search resources.
  • Wednesday, April 11, 1-8 p.m., East Forest Park Branch, 122 Island Pond Road, 413-263-6836. From 2:30-4 p.m. join professional photographer Suzanne Larocque and learn how to use your digital camera. Suzanne will help you figure out what all those buttons are for and teach you when to use the different settings! Bring your camera and your questions!
  • Wednesday, April 11, 1-8 p.m., Pine Point Branch, Boston Road. 413-263-6855. From 3:30-5 p.m. watch author/artist Dean Nimmer create original artwork, and talk to him about his “Library Collage” series, opening today in our new Gallery Space!  At 6 p.m. join us for “Healthy Cooking with Michele,” a talk and cooking demonstration with nutritionist Michele LaRock.
  • Wednesday, April 11, 1-8 p.m., East Springfield Branch, 21 Osborne Terrace, 413-263-6840. You’re sure to meet your neighbors when you stop in for snacks and fun at this cozy branch! Friendly faces are ready to welcome you.
  • Thursday, April 12, 1-8 p.m., Brightwood Branch, 359 Plainfield Street, 413-263-6805. Join us at 1 p.m. for One Story, One Poem / Una Historia, Un Poema  by Poet Perfecta Oquendo; at 2 p.m. swing to the music of Carol R. Daggs, blending jazz standards and hip originals in her solo jazz concert; plus during open hours you may view the Art Exhibit, “Paper Mosaic,” by the Riverview Senior Center.
  • Thursday, April 12, 1-8 p.m., Mason Square Branch, 765 State Street. 413-263-6853. Celebrating the first anniversary of our Grand Reopening, we’ve planned a full day of activities and programs, beginning with tea and sandwiches hosted by our Branch Advisory Committee from 1-3:30 p.m.; from 3:30-4:30 p.m. we’ll highlight literacy and book activities; from 4:30-5:15 p.m. all ages are sure to enjoy listening to master storyteller Onawumi Jean Moss; again from 5:30-6:30 p.m. we’ll highlight literacy and book activities; and from 6:30-8 p.m. will be Part 3 of “So You Want to Get Published,” with Keshawn Dodds and Crystal Senter Brown. We’ve had a very successful year and look forward to many more.
  • Saturday, April 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Indian Orchard Branch, 44 Oak Street 413-263-6846. Join us for a concert featuring the Eric Bascom Jazz Trio, performing in the rotunda of our 1909 Classical Revival style library, made possible through the generosity of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In fact, the Indian Orchard Branch was the first fully staffed suburban branch library in Springfield.
  • Saturday, April 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Liberty Branch, 773 Liberty Street, 413-263-6849. Eighty years ago, in May of 1931, this branch opened to the public. Stop in to see what current materials and modern technology are housed inside this historic exterior! We’d love to see you.
  • Saturday, April 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sixteen Acres Branch, 1187 Parker Street, 413-263-6858. At this always busy branch you don’t need an appointment to check out library materials, but to enjoy the free concert by “Shave and a Haircut,” a local Barbershop Quartet, you’ll need to be here at 1 p.m.!
  • Sunday, April 15, 12 p.m.-4 p.m., Central Branch, 220 State Street, 413-263-6828. The historical and architectural details of the building, celebrating its Centennial year, will be highlighted at 1:30 p.m. by Ed Lonergan, who’ll be leading a free guided tour. We believe that “you belong at your Library!”

Easter Events For Families in Western MA

Easter Events in Western MA 2012

During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Find an egg hunt nearest you, along with Easter craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances.

Community events that celebrate Easter begin this weekend. We’ll be adding to this list as events come in, so be sure to check back.

Saturday, March 31st

In Easthampton at 10am, an annual Egg Hunt of 18,000 eggs (many with prizes) happens at Millside Park. Hunt begins promptly, so arrive early and BYO basket! Easter Bunny will make an appearance too. Great photo opportunity. 413-529-1440. 2 Ferry Street. (FREE)

In Granby at 11am, the Granby PM Club hosts and Egg Hunt for kids 12yo and younger at the Dufresne’s Park Gazebo. BYO Basket. Rain cancels. (FREE)

In Huntington at 2pm, the Huntington Recreation Committee will host an Egg Hunt at Pettis Field for kids 10yo and younger. 413-667-3500. (Rain Date: April 1st, 2pm). (FREE)

In Lenox at 10am or 12noon, families can learn to make beautiful decorated Easter eggs in the traditional Eastern European style at Ventfort Hall!  The process includes drawing intricate designs with wax on eggs and dying with colored dyes.  Kids must be 12+ and accompanied by a parent.  The workshop is a great opportunity to learn about Czechoslovakian cultural traditions!  Registration required.  413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  ($)

In Monson from 1:30-3:30pm, kids ages 3-10yo can gather at Veterans Field for spring activities.  An Egg Hunt begins promptly at 2pm. BYO basket. (FREE)

In Wendell from 10am-12noon, Diemand Farm is hosting an Easter celebration.  There will be egg hunts, egg dying, and more holiday-related fun!  Celebrate both Easter and local egg production.  Bring a donation for Operation Touch of Home for care packages being distributed to overseas soldiers. 978-544-3806.  126 Mormon Hollow Road.  (FREE)

In Westfield at 11am, come hunt for eggs at the Mayor’s Easter Egg Hunt at Shaker Farms Country Club!  Kids can search for eggs filled with treats – BYO basket!  The Easter Bunny will visit, and kids can get their faces painted.  413-572-1260.  866 Shaker Road.   (FREE)

In Williamstown from 10am-12noon, Sweet Brook of Williamstown Rehabilitation and Nursing Center hosts their 2nd annual Easter Egg Hunt. Children up to 10yo can join in.  There will be Easter baskets and plastic eggs filled with candy to hunt for on the grounds. 413-458-8371. 1611 Cold Spring Road. (FREE)

Sunday, April 1st

In Ludlow at 1pm, kids can hunt for Easter eggs with the Easter Bunny at the Ludlow Community Center!  The Easter Bunny will meet egg hunters at the center’s pavilion and will be available for pictures afterwards.  Open to kids in preschool through fifth grade.  Registration required.  413-583-2072.  91 Claudia’s Way.  (<$)

In Southwick from 12noon-2pm, the Southwick Park & Rec will host an Easter Egg Hunt at Prifti Park. Activities include arts & crafts, sweet treats, display from the fire dept., Easter Bunny, and an egg hunt divided into age groups. 454 College Highway.  (FREE)

Friday, April 6th

In Heath from 10:30-11:30am, the Heath Library will host an Egg Hunt on the Town Common in lieu of their weekly story hour. They ask that all participants RSVP by April 2nd. 413-337-4934 x7 (FREE)

Saturday, April 7th

In Agawam at 10am, The Great Easter Egg Hunt happens at the Bethany Assembly of God. Kids ages 1-12yo can join in an Egg Hunt, win prizes and enjoy a performance by the TNT Puppet Team. 413-789-2930. 580 Main Street. (FREE)

In Chicopee from 10am-12:15pm, the Chicopee Parks Dept hosts their annual Easter Egg Hunt at Szot Park.  Kids are invited to make a silly pair of bunny ears during the event and prizes will even be awarded.  In the upper fields at the park, thousands of eggs will litter the field, with good luck eggs sprinkled throughout! Rain site: Chicopee Academy. Call to register: 413-594-3481. Upper Szot Park.  (>$)

In Conway from 10am-1pm, the Conway’s Annual Thelma French Easter Egg Hunt happens on the Town Field. 413-625-0041. (FREE)

In Dalton from 1-2pm, the Dalton CRA lawn will be filled with eggs for their annual egg hunt!  Kids can scour the grounds and look for eggs filled with treats.  413-684-0260.  400 Main Street.  (FREE)

In Florence at 1pm, there will be eggs galore at the Northampton Rec Dept. annual Easter Egg Hunt at Look Park!  BYO basket for egg collection- you might find a lot!  There are scheduled times for different age groups, so check the schedule.  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  (FREE)

In Greenfield at 11am, kids can come hunt for eggs at the Rotary of Franklin County’s annual egg hunt!  The event takes place at Beacon Field, and kids will be divided into three different age groups for hunting.  Beacon Street.  (FREE)

In Hadley from 10:30am-12noon, the Hadley Park & Rec Dept host their Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Kids can hunt for eggs at the Hadley Elementary School, and along with the egg hunt, there will be crafts for kids, a visit from the Easter bunny, and other activities!  BYO basket for eggs.  413-586-6375.  21 River Drive.  (<$)

In Holyoke from 10am-12Noon, is an Egg Hunt and Spring Celebration at the Holyoke Heritage State Park.  There will be many fun activities for the family, including pony rides, t-shirt decoration, prizes, and the Easter Bunny will be visiting too. Egg Hunts are on the half hour from 10-11:30am, and divided according to age group. Allow time to register for the egg hunts. 413-322-5620. 221 Appleton Street. (>$)

In Lenox at 11am, Lenox Community Center Easter Egg Hunt happens at Lilac Park.  BYO baskets and come visit the Easter Bunny.  Egg hunt begins promptly at 11am, so arrive early! Rain location: Lenox CC Ballroom. (FREE)

In Pittsfield at 10:30am, the Pittsfield Parks & Rec host their annual Easter Egg Scramble at Morningside Community School for kids 2-9 years old. 413-499-9370. 100 Burbank Street. (FREE)

In South Egremont from 11am-1pm, Blue Rider Stables will host an Easter Egg Hunt at their barn. There will be pony rides, face painting, hay bale maze, refreshments and Easter sweets. 413-528-5299. 15 Farm Lane. (>$)

In South Hadley at 11am, the South Hadley Rec Dept is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt & Hat Parade at Buttery Brook Park.  Kids are invited to come with creative Easter hats for the parade (prizes will be awarded!).  Following the parade at 11:30am will be an egg hunt (BYO basket!).  (FREE)

In Springfield at 11am-1pm, kick off Forest Park Zoo’s season at the annual Eggstravaganza!  Kids can collect treats along the bunny trail, and bunnies will be distributing extra treat-filled eggs around the park.  413-733-2251.  302 Sumner Avenue.  (FREE)

In Stockbridge at 11am, the Stockbridge Library hosts an Easter Egg Hunt for pre-school-elementary school aged kids. 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street, (FREE)

In Turners Falls at 1pm, the Montague Parks & Rec Dept invites kids to hunt for eggs at Unity Park!  There will be a visit from Peter Cottontail, and kids can get their faces painted, dye eggs, and do other fun activities!  BYO basket for collection.  413-863-3216. First Street. (FREE)

In West Springfield from 9:45am-10:30am, the Annual Easter Egg Hunt takes place at Mittineague Park for kids ages 7yo and younger. Easter Bunny will be handing out candy treats and an egg hunt begins sharply at 10:30am (BYO basket),  413-781-3020. (FREE)

Sunday, April 8th

In Cheshire at 12noon, 12Noon, kids up to 10yo are invited to an Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Cheshire Police Association at the Cheshire Elementary School.  BYO baskets! Cheshire, MA (FREE)

In Florence at 9:30am or 11am, have breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Look Park!  Enjoy delicious breakfast foods and celebrate Easter.  Reservations strongly suggested!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  ($)

In South Deerfield from 11am-3pm, celebrate Easter at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle!  There will be delicious food (some from local farms!) and the Easter Bunny will stop by to visit!  Reservations suggested.  413-665-1277.  25 Greenfield Road.  ($$)

In Whately from 12noon-2pm, learn to make Pysansky, a traditional Ukranian decoration made from egg shells, beeswax, and dye!  The Whately Library is hosting the workshop, which is open to kids ages 7+ and their adults.  BYO eggs and paper towels and learn about a holiday tradition from a unique culture.  Regsitration required.  413-665-0054.  218 Chestnut Plain Road. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (ccl) Jose Chavarry]

“Frogs: A Chorus of Colors” Exhibit Comes to Springfield

Frogs: A Chorus of Colors
Springfield Museums
January 21st – May 13th, 2012

Borneo Eared Frog featured in "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors." (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Springfield Museums will be hosting the exhibit, “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors,” January 21st through May 13th, 2012.  This is a new exhibit of live frogs that teaches visitors about the many different types of frogs found around the world and the habitats in which they can be found.  The exhibit holds fifteen different habitats filled with plants, waterfalls, rocks, ledges, etc., each of which is filled with frogs and toads.  Museum visitors can learn to identify frogs by reading about specimens, watching videos of frogs, and listening to recordings of frog calls.  Kids can even learn why each frog looks the way that it does by comparing the frog’s size and coloring to the habitat in which it can be found.

Opening Day: Saturday, January 21st from 10am-5pm. The exhibit’s opening day features exciting events including live animal demonstrations from 11am-12:45pm and a puppet performance of “The Frog Prince” at 1pm.

A visit to the new exhibit is a great opportunity to learn about amphibians that live outside of your backyard!  To learn more, call the Springfield Museums at 800-625-7738 or visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

To find out more about this exhibit, read our review from the summer of 2009 when it came to the Berkshire Museum: Frogs Educate and Fascinate Museum Goers in Pittsfield, MA.

Cold-blooded Creatures Invade the Springfield Science Museum

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly

Come see a tree-dwelling Veiled Chameleon with a tongue longer than its body! (Submitted photo)

The Springfield Science Museum will have the special exhibit Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly, on view from January 15 through May 22, 2011. The world’s largest traveling reptile exhibition, Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly is an interactive zoological exhibition bringing visitors face to face with living reptiles from around the world. Colorful lizards, bizarre turtles, deadly snakes, alligators and crocodiles are exhibited in naturalistic habitats.

Families will encounter a giant seven-foot Monitor Lizard, a strange-looking Alligator Snapping Turtle, a deadly Cobra, a tree-dwelling Veiled Chameleon with a tongue longer than its body, a Diamond-back Rattlesnake, a Gaboon Viper which has the longest fangs of any snake, and many more exotic reptiles from the four corners of the Earth.

The exhibition is loaded with stunning images, cool facts about reptiles, and plenty of hands-on action. A push of a button and “venom” drips from the tip of a model rattlesnake’s fang. At another interactive station a model viper skull opens and closes, exposing the long fangs and folding them against the roof of the mouth. You can also hear recorded crocodile “conversations” and learn what they mean. At other stations, children can flip boards and push buttons to discover interesting facts about these cold-blooded creatures.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Day at the Springfield Museums

Heat Wave

The crew with The Grinch in the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museum. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

When we moved an hour north, I thought it might be snowier in the winter, but I didn’t think it’d be hotter in the summers. Here in Northampton we have been victims of several faker summer thunderstorms. The skies cloud over, we get ready to go do our rain dance of joy in the streets, the wind picks up, we hear a distant rumble, a few drops fall and then it all drifts away. Somebody else gets our rain, I suppose. A mother could go crazy like this, but instead we went to the Springfield Museums in Springfield, MA.

The Springfield Science Museum is a moderate sized natural history museum. As we’d been melting in the heat for days, the air-conditioning was like a shot in the arm. Am I the only mother at museums trying to slow my kids down enough to soak in a little information? The Dinosaur Hall, the African wing, the aquariums downstairs put us through our paces. For younger kids, there are plenty of eye-level exhibits and buttons to push. The Dinosaur Hall and African wing have a pleasant dark & quiet museum exhibit feel, with low lights and tall ceilings. Four year old Theo enjoyed being frightened by the life size replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Photo credit: Isaac Bayne)

All the kids enjoyed a pretend safari through the African animals exhibit. The sound effects were quite realistic. The lion’s roar rumbled in the kids’ chests. Their eyes went big like saucers, and they hid behind me. Apparently, if approached by roaring lion, all my boys will try to hide behind my linen skirt and wait for me to put the big cat in timeout.

My children are deeply impressed by rocks; in fact, I can hear their voices now: Not rocks, mama, meteors! Meteors from outer-space! The boys spent a full 30 minutes comparing meteorite samples while we waited for the planetarium show. There were bits you could touch and other bits you could look at magnified. There were meteorite bits with amino acid in them, bits with water from space, and bits from meteorites to big to be moved without getting chopped to pieces.

Springfield is the birth place of Theodor Seuss Geisel and inspired many of his works. Sculptures of Dr. Seuss characters are in the corner of the Quadrangle green. Sculpture groups include Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat (pictured in part here), Horton Court, and The Storyteller. You'll also find the Lorax in another corner of the quad. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

The basement of the museum contains a live animal center, featuring fish and critters from our native New England rivers and coastline and forests. We will have to return to the animal tracks exhibit because all four of us proved incapable of accurately determining whether the tracks over the woodpile were made by a rabbit or a fox. We made several guesses and were quite wrong at least four times.

We made our way out to the quad for a snack time. It was hot but that did not stop my boys from rushing to the Dr. Seuss sculpture. The pictures say it all. If Theo could have crawled up on Seuss’ lap, he would have.

I was just about ready to tear us all away, when I decide to brave one of the art museums, all alone with three boys on a hot day. GWV Smith Art Museum’s first floor promised Samurai stuff. We had to see it, but I was nervous that the museum staff be visibly annoyed. The boys bounced in as quietly as they could. The Arms and Armor of Japan are directly opposite the door. The museum guide took one look at us and knew what we had come to see. It then took us each a while to pick our favorite samurai. The boys then decided they loved all the swords the best as there was no way to pick a favorite samurai sword.

In the Art Discovery Center, families are invited to try on costumes, play games, explore Asian culture, hear stories and participate in craft activities. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

Henry, who is six, was completely taken by the Sculpture Hall, which was full of plaster casts of original classical works. When asked what he liked so much about the statues he replied, “I was thinking I could be one.” The staff invited the kids upstairs to the Art Discovery Center. Isaac spent his time photographing the walls, which are beautifully painted. Henry and Theo enjoyed the puppet theater, toys and books. Then they tried on some costumes which proved to be hilarious. At the very far end of the room, some very young staff members were hosting arts and crafts time at the the tables. Our afternoon of fun was winding down. We were sent home with pretty fancy coloring sheets that helped to soften the blow when I decided to pack us back in the van and drive north.


Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Museums to Join Public Reading of Frederick Douglass Speech

Springfield Museums to Join Public Reading of Frederick Douglass Speech
Wednesday, June 30th at Noon

The communal reading and discussion of abolitionist Frederick Douglass's 1852 speech, "The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro" would be a great supplement to America history curriculum for older students. Younger students can discover Frederick Douglass at home in David Adler's book, "A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass."

The Springfield Museums are participating in a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’s fiery 1852 speech, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro.” The shared reading will take place at noon on June 30th in Court Square in Springfield and will be followed by a discussion at First Church.

On July 5, 1852, Douglass, a former slave and leading abolitionist, addressed the “race question” at an event in Rochester, NY, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “Fellow-citizens,” he began, “why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” The full text of the speech is available online at the Mass Humanities website, www.masshumanities.org.

The program is intended to take up the challenge leveled by Barack Obama at Constitution Hall in Philadelphia: “I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle. Race is an issue this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. To work for ‘a more perfect union’ we need to start to understand complexities that we’ve never really worked through. [This] requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point.”

The event is part of a state-wide series of readings which is partially funded by a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Local collaborating organizations are Mass Humanities, the Springfield Cultural Council, Art for the Soul Gallery, and the Springfield Museums. Additional sponsors are The Brethren, Olive Tree Books and Voices, PAHMUSA, Springfield NAACP, and the Teaching American History Program of the Springfield Public Schools.

What’s Living in Forest Park?

Bioblitz in the Pioneer Valley
Saturday, June 5th in Springfield, MA

What’s Living in Forest Park? Forty seventh-grade students and a dozen local experts/scientists will try to answer that question on Saturday, June 5th, 2010 in a first-ever attempt at a bioblitz in Springfield’s beautiful Forest Park.

What is a Bioblitz? A bioblitz is a 24 hour event to find, identify, and record as many species as possible, from microbe to mammal, at a given location. Bioblitzes provide valuable information to park managers and get kids excited about science and the natural world.

During the weekend students will head out on various themed nature walks to explore, investigate, and record what is found. About a dozen local area experts have been recruited to lead these walks. For example, John Foster, of the New England Naturalist Training Center will lead an ecology exploration walk, and Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney, authors of Tracks & Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates, will help students identify insects and more in the park.

According to Ms. Cesan, science teacher at Duggan Middle School, the United Nations Program for the Environment has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity to draw attention to the rapid loss of biodiversity the planet is experiencing. The Forest Park Bioblitz is a small, local action that we can undertake to increase awareness and appreciation for the biodiversity in our own backyard. In addition, the event applies and reinforces several state science standards that students have been working on this school year. Students are creating a booklet about the ecosystems in Forest Park and the data collected during the event will be included.

The event will not be all work and no play as kayaking lessons, a zoo tour, and campfire s’mores are also scheduled. Joining students around the campfire will be their entire team of teachers. Students and teachers are excited about this event. Consider coming to the park on Saturday and visiting our “base camp” near the grandstands to view student work and check in on our data as students collect and report it. The event runs 8am-3pm on Saturday June 5th.

For more information contact Duggan Middle School Science Teacher, Kerry Cesan at cesank@sps.springfield.ma.us.

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