February Vacation Week Free Family-Friendly Programs

Park activities and programs February 18 – 26, 2023

Fresh air and family fun are the perfect combination for your February Vacation Week plans. Come out and play in your Massachusetts State Parks and enjoy a fantastic array of family friendly programs and experiences for all ages. Enjoy guided experiences or create a park adventure on your own. There is so much to enjoy and explore in your state parks. Come for a visit!

Visit Adaptive recreational programs and events for the complete schedule of adaptive programs during February Vacation week.

Table of Contents

Things to know before you go

  • All programs are free unless noted. 
  • Please be aware parking fees may apply – visit the park web page for applicable parking fees at Massachusetts State Parks  or to learn how to borrow a ParksPass from a community partner.
  • Be season smart and safe. Dress for the weather by wearing sturdy footgear and dressing in layers for maximum comfort.
  • Carry drinking water and snacks.
  • Have a map and cell phone.
  • Seasonal weather including extreme cold temperatures and storms affect parks and trails.  All events, programs and activities are subject to change.  Please take a moment to call ahead to confirm.
  • February Vacation Programs are listed by geographical region, date and time.

Greater Boston

Roxbury Heritage State Park 183 Roxbury Street, Eliot Square/Roxbury

Central Massachusetts

Wachusett Reservoir, Gate 8, Parking near intersection of Cross Street and Route 70, Boylston

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation  345 Mountain Road, Princeto

Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park   287 Oak Street, Uxbridge

Quabbin Reservoir  100 Winsor Dam Rd, Belchertown

Wendell State Forest, 392 Wendell Rd, Millers Falls 

Additional Resources

Northeastern Massachusetts

Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, 1399 Bennington Street, East Boston, MA

Halibut Point State Park, Gott Avenue at Rte 127, Rockport, MA 0196

Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden Street, Concord, MA 0174

Southeastern Massachusetts

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton

Blue Hills Reservation, Houghton’s Pond Playground, 840 Hillside Street, Milton

Fall River Heritage State Park, 200 Davol Street, Fall River 

Waquoit Bay Reserve, 131 Waquoit Highway, East Falmouth

Western Massachusetts


Mount Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough 

Mount Holyoke Range State Park, 1500 West St, Amherst 

Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls 

DCR Visitor Centers and Exhibits

Winter should never stop you from enjoying our State Parks! The Massachusetts’ State Park system, managed and operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, provides many year-round opportunities to learn about our rich natural and cultural history, a heritage that tells fascinating stories of the past. Recreational opportunities also abound. Below is a list of our Visitor Centers by region. Please note, some visitor centers are closed for holidays and hours can vary based on staffing and weather emergencies. Please call ahead.

Boston Region

Roxbury Heritage State Park, 183 Roxbury Rd, Boston

Roxbury Heritage Visitor Center

Open Daily, 10:00am-5:00pm

Roxbury Heritage is home to the c1750 Dillaway-Thomas House, one of the oldest structures in Roxbury. This building served as the headquarters of the Continental Army in 1775 during the Siege of Boston. The house is now a museum with exhibits of Roxbury's past and present history. Landscaped grounds also provide visitors with an excellent view of Boston's skyline. For more information, please call 857-399-1225 or email roxbury.heritage@mass.gov.

Northeastern Massachusetts

Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden St., Concord

Walden Pond Visitor Center

Open Daily, 10:00am - 3:00pm 

Henry David Thoreau’s legacy has rippled across the globe and is tastefully presented in exhibits and displays. Get a look at our Gold LEED-Certified, earth-friendly, energy efficient building constructed from sustainable materials. A replica of the cabin he built and lived in from 1845-1847 is located near the visitor center for public viewing. No pets are allowed within the reservation. Daily parking fee: $8 per vehicle with MA plates, $30 per vehicle for out-of-state plates. Accessible. For more information, please call 978-396-3254.

Storywalk (R) at Walden Pond

Daily, 7:00am- 4:00pm

“Of Walden Pond” by Lisa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by Ashley Benham-Yazdani.

Enjoy a story, fresh air and exercise! Step into the excitement of the 1846 Walden Pond ice harvest. Join us on the Woods Path for a self-guided StoryWalks® featuring this children’s picture book. Follow the path to book pages posted along the route. A wonderful story awaits! The Woods Path Universally Accessible Thoreau House Site Trail, an easy 1/2-mile, wheelchair and stroller friendly, crushed stone surface. All ages. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. No dogs or bikes on trails.

Thoreau’s Stay at Walden

Daily during February Vacation Week, 11:00am- 12:00pm

Peek inside the Thoreau house replica, by the main parking lot, to learn about the poet/naturalist’s life in the woods during this 10-minute chat with a park interpreter. In bad weather relocates to Visitor Center. All ages welcome.

Topics include: 

• Thoreau’s experiment in simple, deliberate living 

• Debunking Thoreau myths 

• Former Walden Inhabitants

Halibut Point State Park, 4 Gott Avenue, Rockport

Open Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00am - 3:00pm 

Quarrying History at Visitor Center

Investigate working on the edge of Halibut Point! We have artifacts, photographs, the “Uncut Block” video, and quarry tools to share the Park’s history. Bring your questions and curiosity!

Military History at Halibut Point—Climb WWII Tower!

U.S. Military for coastal defense in 1944 built a watch tower and barracks—now serves as a Visitor Center. Climb the tower ladder!

Central Massachusetts

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, 345 Mountain Road, Princeton

John Hitchcock Visitor Center

Open daily 8:00am – 3:30pm (Hours may vary based on winter staffing and weather conditions).

The Visitor Center features exhibits detailing the mountain’s unique geologic history, including the effects of the last glacial period. Exhibits also highlight Wachusett Mountain’s human history, from the Native Americans living in the area who gave the mountain its name, to the European colonists who settled the area. The Visitor Center features displays explaining the ancient trees found on the mountain, the only old-growth forest east of the Connecticut River. There is also an antique collection of preserved birds that are found in the area. Hiking trail information is available in the Visitor Center, and park staff can provide advice on routes and trail conditions; winter hikers should be equipped for snowy and icy conditions. The Visitor Center features a magnificent stone fireplace with a crackling fire to warm winter visitors. Restrooms are available in the Visitor Center during open hours. Portable toilets are available in the parking lot if the Visitor Center is closed. Free parking and admission during the winter. Accessible. For more information, please call 978-464-2987.

Quabbin Reservoir, 100 Winsor Dam Rd, Belchertown

Open every day except Wednesdays, 8:30am - 4:30pm 

Visitor Center & Exhibits

Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest unfiltered water supplies in the United States. Along with the Wachusett Reservoir and Ware River, it is the source of high quality water for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority water supply system. The 412 billion gallon reservoir covers 39 square miles with 181 miles of shoreline.  Come learn about the history of the Quabbin Valley and how the reservoir was built.  Also, learn about wildlife at the Quabbin and some of the research being done there.   Visitors may request viewing one of several short videos about the area as well. For more information, please call 413-323-722.  

Southeastern Massachusetts

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Ave, North Easton

Open Daily, 8:00am - 4:00pm 

Visitor Center "Ames Family History Gallery" 

Borderland is one of the most historically significant tracts of publicly owned land in the Commonwealth. Created in the early 1900s by artist and suffragist Blanche Ames and her botanist husband Oakes, Borderland offers many of the same pleasures that the Ames family enjoyed.  Learn about the family through the park’s exhibits. Then enjoy the winter recreational experiences once enjoyed by this famous family at their “Borderland.” A variety of self-guided walk brochures are available in the Visitor Center vestibule. Accessible. For more information or directions, please call (508) 238-6566. There is a $5.00 per vehicle parking fee; $20.00 for out-of-state vehicles.

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Ave, North Easton

Daily, 8:00am - 4:00pm 

Self-Guided Architectural Tour

Visit the visitor center at Borderland State Park and grab a self-guided Architectural Tour brochure. Follow the brochure and learn the history of the building of the Borderland Mansion, while walking around the exterior of the mansion.

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Ave, North Easton

Daily, 8:00am - 4:00pm 

StoryWalk®, “Whose Been Here?” by Fran Hodgkins and illustrated by Karel Hayes

Take a walk-in nature while reading, “Whose Been Here?”, by Fran Hodgkins. Start on the Pond Walk Trail, behind the visitor center and head towards the stone lodge.  The StoryWalk® is approximately 0.6 miles along a mostly flat trail. At the end of the walk, please scan the QR code to take a brief survey. Self-guided.

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Ave, North Easton

Daily, 8:00am - 4:00pm 

Winter Trip Tips: Tree Identification Challenge

Before you visit Borderland State Park, visit: https://www.mass.gov/doc/dcr-trip-tip-winter-woodland-wanders/download to download your Winter Trip Tips and learn about different trees and simple tricks to identify trees in the winter. Suggested 3-mile hike that accompanies this Winter Trip Tip.  Self-guided.

Fall River Heritage State Park, 200 Davol St., Fall River

Open Daily, 8:30am - 3:30pm

The Visitor Center at Fall River Heritage State Park offers insight into the City’s unique past as a thriving textile center and confluence of cultures. Sit back in the comfort and warmth of the park’s movie theater and watch a marathon of four films about Fall River’s past from its role as the leading textile hub in America, to its critical role in the Underground Railroad leading up to the Civil War. Enjoy the majesty of the luxurious Fall River Line ships that sailed here from New York. Re-live the fun days of locals at play at everyone’s favorite local amusement park. Try your hand at crafts. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while you enjoy the beautiful views of Battleship Cove and the waterfront. Linger in the galleries for historic photos and an exhibit on African Americans in the Civil War. There is something for everyone and it’s all free! Parking is free at the adjacent DCR Lot at 5 Water Street. ​Accessible. For more information or directions please call (508) 675-5759, ext. 0.

Fall River Heritage State Park Exhibit


Daily, 8:30am – 3:30pm

Time to celebrate the creative genius of a local hero: Joseph Guilherme Raposo, the son of Azorean immigrants who was born in Fall River, went to Harvard College, studied music, and became one of the creators of Sesame Street®. Drop in and take a photo with an image of Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster or many of their friends. See our exhibit on the life of Joe Raposo with his friends Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Nancy Reagan and so many more! The Visitor Center will host sing-a-long StoryWalks® of his books “Sing” and “Imagination Song.” Fun activities for the whole family. 

Fall River Heritage State Park Exhibit


Daily, 8:30am – 3:30pm

The photography of Lewis Wickes Hine focused on the harsh labor conditions in the textile industry and the exploitation of child and women workers. When those black and white images are colorized and enhanced, it adds an entire new dimension to these remarkable photos.   Experience the world of Lewis Hine’s Fall River with new eyes.  This is an exhibit in progress, and we invite you to witness an exhibit as it evolves. Savor the insightful captions from the Library of Congress. Hine created over 200 images of Fall River and we are just getting started!

Fall River Heritage State Park Exhibit


Daily, 8:30am – 3:30pm

The “right of free petition,” where any citizen of Massachusetts can petition the state legislature, is one of our state’s most cherished political traditions. As this exhibit reveals, from abolition to desegregation and voting rights, the Commonwealth has shaped American society.  This special exhibit is on loan from the Commonwealth Museum in Boston, courtesy of the Secretary of State

Fall River Heritage State Park Park Film


Daily, 10:00-10:40am

Discover the true story behind the theatrical hit film “Devotion” and the amazing friendship of Fall River’s own Captain Thomas J. Hudner and his navy partner Ensign Jesse Brown, the first Black naval pilot. We are honored to offer five featurettes that go behind the scenes and tell their story. Join us in our comfortable theater. For ages 12+ years. Total running time of the films: 40 minutes. Accessible.

Fall River Heritage State Park Park Film


Daily, 11:00-11:20am and 3:00-3:20pm

Discover the hidden history of Fall River and its role in the Underground Railroad. See the houses and streets that welcomed escaped formerly enslaved people. Learn about the abolitionists of Fall River, especially the women, who opened the gates of freedom and their homes in this 20-minute film. Shown in our warm comfortable theater. For ages 12+ years. Accessible. 

Fall River Heritage State Park Park Film


Daily, 11:45am-12:20pm and 1:45-2:20pm

Discover Fall River’s rich past through this classic documentary that showcases the history of Fall River from the First People through the cotton mill era, to the needle trades of the 1980s. For ages 8+ years. Run-time: 34 minutes. Accessible.

Fall River Heritage State Park Park: Activities

Daily, 9:00am – 3:30pm

Get creative! Stop by the Visitor Center, grab one of our unique coloring sheets of moments in Fall River History.  Learn about textiles and calico and help us complete our calico stamp wall or even weave a row on our community loom. If you complete an entire row, you too can add your name tag! Origami, anyone? This is a drop-in program. Stay for the duration or drop in for a few moments. For all ages. 

Fall River Heritage State Park Exhibit

Faces of Fall River

Daily, 8:30am – 3:300pm

Meet the people of Fall River’s past through a gallery of classic black and white photographs from the textile era. Featured are photos by labor activist/sociologist/photographer Lewis Hine of the immigrant women, men and children who worked the mills that made Fall River the premiere textile city in America. These are the photographs that inspired change in American labor laws and helped abolish child labor.

Fall River Heritage State Park Exhibit

Tracing the Threads

Daily, 8:30am – 3:00pm

Explore our comprehensive permanent exhibit which celebrates the cultural, ethnic, and industrial history of Fall River. Learn about the waterfalls that shaped the city, enabled its industries, and even gave it its name. Share the stories of the many ethnic groups from around the world who called this city home.

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 131 Waquoit Hwy (Rte. 28), E. Falmouth

Tuesday and Wednesday, 10:00am - 4:00pm 

Come in from the cold and explore our exhibits along with a host of self-guided, hands-on activities including animal puppets, leaf rubbings, crafts, animal life cycles and more. To interact with our newest visitor center exhibits, bring your smart phone or tablet to try out the interactive QR codes which let our researchers answer your questions about what we do here.  Families with children will be able to explore the headquarters property with a scavenger hunt and will also be able to pick up a “Grab and Go” bag (while supplies last) with a surprise project to do on your own. Can’t make it Tuesday or Wednesday? You’re welcome to come visit the Reserve any day to enjoy the grounds and the view. Accessible. For more information contact Joan Muller, joan.muller@mass.gov.

Western Massachusetts

Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls

Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Explore the natural, cultural and industrial history of the Con- necticut River Watershed in our dynamic exhibits. Next to the Canalside Rail Trail, the center includes the Great Hall exhibit gallery, restrooms, and drinking water. Wheelchair accessible. Open Presidents’ Day Monday, February 21.

Great Falls Discovery Center

Turners Falls Canal Investigation Station

Why is there a canal in Turners Falls? Think flatboats, cutlery, and turbines! During our February School Vacation Week open hours, visit with Department of Conservation and Recreation park interpreters to explore the three reasons for the canal, including a few glimpses of life here before the canal was built.  Learn how the canal has changed over 200 + years at this interactive display. For ages 6 and up.

Great Falls Discovery Center

Crossroads: Change in Rural America

In 1900, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas. By 2010, less than 18% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. Massive economic and social changes led to massive growth of America’s cities. Through a partnership with the world’s largest museum complex, the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center proudly hosts “Crossroads: Changes in Rural America,” a traveling exhibit produced by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program in partnership with Mass Humanities. The exhibition offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Crossroads will be on display in the Great Hall of the Great Falls Discovery Center Feb. 5 - March 18, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the town of Montague’s RiverCulture, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Montague Public Libraries, and New England Public Media. For ages 6 and up

Holyoke Heritage State Park, 221 Appleton Street, Holyoke

Open Tuesday through Sunday, 12:00pm to 4:00pm

Explore Holyoke’s industrial history. Exhibits celebrate the city's rich blend of cultures and people. Special programs are offered year-round. Also located within the park are The Children's Museum, the restored antique Holyoke Merry-Go-Round and the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Visitor information available. Wheelchair accessible. For more information or directions, please call (413) 534-1723.

Mount Greylock State Reservation Visitor Center, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA

Open daily, 9:00am-4:00pm

The Visitor Center is the primary information and orientation site for visitors to Mount Greylock State Reservation. Located within a mix of open fields and woods and offers a spectacular panoramic view south across the Berkshire Hills and the Taconic Mountains. Dynamic exhibits and an orientation film explore the history and nature of the highest point in the Commonwealth. A recreational opportunity here includes an easy 1.8-mile loop hike along the Bradley Farm Interpretive Trail. Visitor information available. Wheelchair accessible. Call 413-499-4262 for more information.

Mount Holyoke Range State Park Notch Visitor Center, 1500 West St, Amherst 

Open Thursday through Monday 9:00am-4:00pm 

The Visitor Center features park orientation information, exhibits, restrooms, and drinking water. Try our Visitor Center Scavenger Hunt! Take a walk or hike in the park. Accessible by PVTA public transit (Amherst R38). Wheelchair accessible. 

Mount Holyoke State Park 

Sun, Feb 19, Thurs, Feb 23, Sun Feb 26, 9:00am-12:00pm 

Range Reveals 

For ages 7 and up. Three self-guided exploration stations reveals wonders of the Range. Park staff is on-hand to help uncover the story. 

Mountain Building- A better understanding of how the Range was made. 

Dinosaur Tracks- Dinosaurs were once here! Let’s look closer at fossilized tracks. 

Animal Tracking—If you look carefully you can see what animal has been here. 

Mount Holyoke State Park 

Sun, Feb 19, Sun Feb 26, 1:00-3:00pm 

Winter Wonderland Challenge 

For ages 10-Adult. Ask the park staff for the “trail of the day” and try these self guided exploration challenges as you hike along. 

Come back and share with park staff: 

Animal Tracking Excursion—who’s been here? 

Tree Bark Challenge— how many trees can you ID? 

Mount Holyoke State Park 

Daily during February Vacation, 9:00am-4:00pm 

StoryWalk: Under and Over the Snow by Kate Messner 

For families with children. A children’s picture book story about who lives over and under winter’s snow. Walk a short route near the Visitor Center to read this wonderful story. 

Ongoing Resources

Public Skating

Ice skating is a great winter activity for people of all ages and abilities. Many ice-skating rinks have skate rentals and snack concessions. During school vacation week February 20- February 24 public skating hours are 10:00am - 2:50pm. 

Self-Guided Opportunities

Visit DCR Programs & Events to find a list of:

  • Self-Guided Hikes
  • Recommended Hikes
    • Introductory hikes for families and children and Signature hikes of that highlight the best park features
  • Trip-Tips
    • The DCR Trip-Tip provides families with information and fun ideas to explore the great outdoors at DCR Massachusetts State Parks and Watersheds. With a little preparation and a sense of adventure, people of all ages can safely enjoy our beautiful outdoor spaces during the coldest months. Whether at one park, two parks or a multi-day adventure, Trip-Tip family adventures offer a variety of opportunities and activities to explore wildlife, woodlands, mountainsides, and the shore! 
  •  Fun in Nature Series
    • Downloadable activities to enhance your experience at any DCR park!  Fun and engaging activities include seek and find scavenger hunts to awaken all of your senses, a conversation starter set to encourage talks along the trail and creating your own story cube to inspire story- telling!
Last updated: February 1, 2023

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