The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will offer free and low-cost family-friendly programs during the upcoming April school vacation week.
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced that it will continue to offer free and low-cost family-friendly programs this year during the upcoming April school vacation week. Programming begins on Saturday, April 15, 2023, and is available across the Massachusetts State Park system. Visitors will be able to participate in a variety of programming, including scavenger hunts, wildlife tracking, fishing, trail hikes, and more. A full list of activities and programming can be found on DCR’s website.
"Springtime provides more opportunities for people to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and nature, and take advantage of the diverse Massachusetts State Park system,” said DCR Commissioner Doug Rice. “April school break week coincides with Earth Week this year, and we encourage families to visit their local parks, take part in these special programs, and finish off the week by volunteering for Park Serve Day.”
In addition to the week’s events, DCR will hold the 17th annual Park Serve Day on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Volunteers can register for events throughout the state on the agency’s website. During spring break week, DCR will continue to offer its normal recreation and interpretive programming, as well as adaptive programming through the agency’s Universal Access Program.
Visitors are encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR. DCR asks visitors to park in designated areas only, and to come back another time if parking lots are full. Dogs are required to be on a leash in state parks unless signage designates otherwise. Dogs are not permitted on DCR Water Supply Protection area. To find a dog-friendly park, visit the DCR website.
In total, 57 programs will be offered in state parks across all five regions of the Commonwealth. Some programming highlights include:
Archeology Pop-Up Labs at Roxbury Heritage State Park
183 Roxbury Street, Boston
Wednesday, April 19 and Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 10:00AM to 4:00PM
Drop by for a hands-on experience in archeology! Help us clean, classify, label and photograph artifacts from DCR sites, guided by one of our state archeologists. Children ages 7 and up and adults may participate. Schools and other groups should call in advance to schedule a more formal visit. For more information, please call 857-399-1224/1225 or email [email protected].
Kaleidoscope at Roxbury Heritage State Park
183 Roxbury St., Boston
Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 10:30AM to 11:30AM
This program for children, ages 3 to 5, includes a story, nature exploration, and hands-on activity. In Jayden’s Impossible Garden, a boy notices nature all around his city and creates a special place. Participants will start a seed garden for their own special place. Program takes place outdoors in the park. For more information and to check about weather cancellation, please call 857-399-1224/1225 or email [email protected].
Rock Detectives at Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
198 Purgatory Road, Sutton MA
Saturdays, April 15 and 22, 2023, from 10:00AM to 11:00AM
Have you ever wondered where rocks come from? Stop by the Playground near the Visitor Center to discover more about the rocks of Purgatory Chasm, where they've been, and where they may be going. Stay for five minutes or an hour at this interactive display. Appropriate for ages 4 and above. This event will be held inside the Visitor Center during inclement weather.
Wild!Life on the Mountain at Wachusett Mountain State Reservation
345 Mountain Road, Princeton
Tuesday, April 18, 2023, from 12:00PM to 12:30PM
Discover the fascinating lives of the “locals” as we talk about wildlife habitats, competition, and survival on Wachusett Mountain. See and touch the skins, skulls, and tracks of some of our native animals, including coyotes, deer, moose, bobcats, bears, and more. This program takes place indoors at the Visitor Center. Appropriate for families with children ages 5 and above. For more information, please call Wachusett Mountain State Reservation at (978) 464-2987.
Spring Nature Sensation at Belle Isle Marsh Reservation
1399 Bennington Street, East Boston
Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 9:00AM to 10:00AM
The salt marsh and meadow come to life every spring with new grasses, returning herons, egrets, and swallows. You will learn about the creatures of the marsh and meadow and why these habitats are so important. Kids 8 and up with adult chaperone are welcome. Binoculars are recommended. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh. Meet at DCR’s Belle Isle Marsh Reservation parking lot, 1399 Bennington Street, East Boston.
Talking Trash at Halibut Point State Park
4 Gott Avenue, Rockport
Friday, April 21, 2023, from 12:00PM to 1:30PM
Where does your trash go after leaving your home? What can you do to reduce your trash? Learn a brief history of waste management, about new state regulations, and how to “go green” at home. This presentation will look at today’s waste infrastructure challenges and offer helpful guidance in the development of waste diversion strategies and practices. Benefits include conservation, pollution prevention, and landfill reduction.
Our Speaker: Gloucester’s Debra Darby is a client manager with 15 years of organics experience within the solid waste industry. She leads Tetra Tech’s organics management initiative within Tetra Tech’s Solid Waste East (SWE) region. Ms. Darby is a U.S. Composting Council Certified Composting Professional (CCP) and has 20 years of experience in environmental marketing and has served as a strategic advisor in the public and private sectors.
Eagles, Hawks and Falcons at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
131 Waquoit Highway, East Falmouth
Tuesday, April 18, 2023, from 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Osprey are nesting along our coasts and at Waquoit Bay, but did you know there are other birds of prey nearby too? Who are they? What are their special traits? We will find out and take a walk looking for Osprey and other hawks. Come and play a talon/claw game or make a glider. This program is free and open to the public. Programs are for ages 5 and up. Meet at Visitor Center. Registration is preferred at www.waquoitbayreserve.org.
Live Reptiles! at Borderland State Park
259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton
Wednesday, April 19, 2023, from 10:00AM to 12:00PM
Reptile Shows of New England will bring live reptiles and teach us about these special animals. The show will start promptly at 10:00am and will last about 1-hour. At approximately 11:00AM, they will stick around for an extra hour to answer questions and let us hold some of these critters. This event is free, although a parking fees apply. Seating is limited, first-come, first seated. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Rain or shine. For more information, please call Borderland at 508-238-6566. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Borderland and DCR. Meet at the Visitor Center.
Geocaching 101 at Mount Greylock State Reservation
30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough
Tuesday, April 18, 2023, from 1:00PM to 2:30PM
Free for all ages. Looking for a fun way to engage your tech-savvy kids with the natural world? This outdoor activity combines hiking with a tech-aided treasure hunt. Join Kathy G. and members of Berkshire Geobash to learn the basics indoors, then head out on the trail to test out new skills. Can you find the hidden treasure? Beginners welcome! No experience necessary. To participate fully download the free geocaching.com app. Dress appropriately for variable weather. Trails may be muddy. Bring drinking water and a snack. For additional information and weather updates, call the Visitor Center at (413) 499-4262.
Let’s Have a Ball! Join the 1st Jurassic Mud Ball Festival in 200 Million Years at Great Falls Discovery Center
2 Avenue A, Turners Falls
Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 2:00PM to 4:00PM
Celebrate mud season with an exploration of rare Jurassic-age rocks found only in Turners Falls- armored mud balls! Family friendly activities for all ages. How were they formed millions of years ago? How were they discovered by geologist Richard Little? Make your own armored mud ball to take home, with help from local geologist Steve Winters and DCR staff. Enjoy a tasty, armored mud ball treat. Meet in the Great Hall. Weather permitting, hunt for Jurassic armored mud balls on an easy walk to nearby Unity Park. For more information, please contact 413-863-3221.