- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR Announces Family-Friendly School Vacation Programming
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BOSTON — The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced that the agency will offer more than 90 family-friendly programs throughout the Massachusetts state parks system during the traditional February school vacation week. Programming starts on Saturday, February 15, 2020. Children and their families will have the opportunity to enjoy guided experiences or to create a park adventure on their own. The wide-ranging selection of programs include guided hikes, wildlife observation opportunities, crafting activities, games, stories, and more. A full list of activities and programming can be found on the DCR’s website.
“Winter is an excellent time for individuals and families to get outdoors and experience the programming DCR has to offer across the Commonwealth,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “The Baker-Polito Administration continues to increase both access within our state parks system and opportunities for the public to enjoy the many resources available to them.”
In addition to the school vacation week programming, DCR will continue to offer its normal recreational and interpretive programing, as well as adaptive programming through the agency’s Universal Access Program. Furthermore, during school vacation week, the agency will extend public skating at DCR managed rinks from 10:00AM to 2:50PM. In total, 94 programs will be offered in state parks across all five regions of Massachusetts with 13 Visitor Centers open and fully staffed. Some programming highlights include:
Adaptive Winter Sports Program
Location: Wendell State Forest, 392 Wendell Road, Millers Falls
Date/Time: Saturday, February 15, and Saturday, February 22, from 11:00AM-3:00PM
Enjoy adaptive outdoor winter recreation with All Out Adventures. Experience the winter woods with outdoor ice skating, gentle hockey games, sit-skiing, cross-country skiing, kick sledding, hiking, snowshoeing, and snowmobile rides (as weather conditions permit). Meet us at the Wendell State Forest Headquarters when you arrive! Bring a lunch and warm up next to the wood stove before heading out on the groomed trails for a group excursion!
Cost: Suggested $5 per person donation
Roxbury Icons A-Z
Location: Roxbury Heritage State Park, 183 Roxbury Street, Eliot Square/Roxbury
Date/Time: Wednesday, February 19, 12:00PM-1:00PM; and Friday, February 21, 12:00PM-1:00PM
What do you know about Amos Adams, Ruth Batson, or Melnea Cass? Learn about these and other Roxbury “icons”, A to Z, who have a place in Roxbury’s history and community, during this fun, interactive program. For all ages. For more information, please call 617-445-0062.
Location: Quabbin Reservoir and Visitor Center, 100 Winsor Dam Road, Belchertown
Date/Time: Sunday, February 16, 2:00PM-3:00PM
Before the Swift River Valley was cleared and flooded, 23,000 acres were taken along the Ware River in Barre, Oakham, Rutland, and Hubbardston in a project designed to supplement the waters of the new reservoir. 350 people lost their homes in this project and three villages were removed. Join us to learn more about the other lost valley, why it was cleared and the role the Ware River Watershed plays in protecting the water supply of 3 million Massachusetts residents. Program is best for adults and families of older children. Meet in the Quabbin Visitor Center, snow or shine. Pick up a Quabbin Park map in the Visitor Center and explore trails before or after the program. The program is free and open to the public. No parking fees apply. For more information, call 413-323-7221.
Winter Birding for Beginners
Location: Halibut Point State Park, Gott Avenue at Rte 127, Rockport
Date/Time: Sunday, February 16, 8:00AM-10:00AM
Winter brings birds and ducks to the seashore that escape freezing ponds. You’ll see harlequin ducks and loons among the winter visitors at the rocky coastal water’s edge. Join us for a short, leisurely walk while learning about their sounds, habits, and flight patterns. Wear sturdy, warm footwear/boots, clothing layers, and wear sunscreen on your face to protect you from the very windy coastal edge. For all ages. Program is free and open to the public. No parking fees apply. Meet at the parking lot. Heavy rain or snow storm cancels—if so, will leave cancellation message by 3PM the day before at 857-268-6024.
A Presidential Mansion Tour
Location: Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton
Date/Time: Saturday, February 15, 10:00AM-10:45AM
Celebrate Presidents Day Weekend at Borderland State Park on this adapted tour. Learn about all the presidents whose stories intertwined with the Ames Family. Did you know that Blanche and Oakes Ames are related to many politicians and military war heroes? Having a family with a lot of political connection, naturally they crossed paths with presidents. The Ames Family and their relatives played an intrinsic role in shaping the state of Massachusetts and the Nation. Join the Park Interpreter for a 45-minute guided tour learning about the Ames family involvement in war and in politics. For adults and older children. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet in front of the Ames Mansion. Rain, snow or shine. This program is free and open to the public. Parking fees apply: $5.00 per MA-plate vehicle and $10 per out-of-state-plate vehicle. For more information, call 508-238-6566.
Kid Friendly Mountain Mindfulness
Location: Mount Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough
Date/Time: Wednesday, February 19, 10:00AM-11:00AM
Explore healthy mind-body techniques such as various meditations, breathing exercises, yoga or a Forest Bathing “Fox Walk” along the Bradley Farm Interpretive Trail! Program starts at 10:00AM and may last from 20 minutes to 90 minutes, taught by local certified teachers, as well as our own multi-talented Mount Greylock staff. Beginners welcome. No previous experience is necessary. Meet at the Visitor Center. Please dress warmly, programs such as walking meditations, and Forest Bathing will be held outdoors, weather permitting. This program is free and open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 413-499-4262.
Due to the unpredictability of the weather, such as low temperatures, precipitation, or wind, the DCR asks that all visitors call ahead to confirm that the scheduled program is able to take place. Proper outerwear, including coats, boots, hats, and gloves, is encouraged for all participants of outdoor programs to ensure an enjoyable and safe outing. Additionally, parking fees may apply at some locations.