My February Vacation Sanity Plan

It’s February Vacation, also known as Winter Break, and this week the kids will be off from school, lounging in their pjs and playing the Wii every day if we let them.  I think a little pajama-time is warranted; it’s been a tough school year (and a tough winter!) and I might even join them and finally learn to play Epic Mickey this week.  But if I’ve learned anything about school vacations over the years, it’s that I need to have a flexible plan in my pocket, one that balances rest and relaxation with Something To Do, in order to keep my kids and myself from going stir-crazy before the week ends!  This week The Arts Room is sharing a local arts-focused list of things-to-do, so we can all have a happy (and arts-filled!) February vacation.   

We’ve all got a bit of spring fever by now, so it’s the perfect time to get outside and be inspired by nature.  Grab your camera or your sketch book and pencils, put on your shoes-that-can-get-muddy, and head down to the Audubon Environmental Education Center (EEC) on Hope Street in Bristol.  This week the EEC will be holding a number of special programs in addition to their usual museum-and-hiking-trail fun.  At 10:30am Monday through Friday this week, the EEC will present “Creature Feature”, a chance to get up close and personal with one of the Audubon’s resident animals.  These animal encounters are offered at no additional cost (free with admission) and you do not need to register ahead of time.  On Monday your kids can meet a turtle, on Tuesday they’ll meet a snake, on Wednesday a cockroach is the special guest (gah!), on Thursday they’ll visit with an owl, and on Friday your kids can interact with the animals in the tidepool.  The EEC is also offering a more in-depth animal hour at 1pm each weekday during February vacation; these programs require advance registration and will cost you an additional $2 per child per day (plus regular museum admission).  Here’s the weekday rundown:

  • Monday- Groundhogs
  • Tuesday- Predators
  • Wednesday- Sensational & Spineless
  • Thursday- Cooking For the Birds
  • Friday- Bivalve Buffet

Read more about these programs at the Audubon’s EEC website, and call 949-5454 ext.3041 to register.  And while you’re there, take a stroll through their art gallery and see how Audubon refuge manager and naturalist Mike Tucker has been inspired by nature.

Our public libraries will be closed on Monday for the Presidents’ Day holiday, but the George Hail Free Library on Main Street in Warren has programs running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week.  The programs are free but space is limited, so advance registration is required.  On Tuesday, Feb. 22nd at 3pm Good Heart Productions will present Clare Vadeboncouer as The Snow Queen.  On Wednesday, Feb. 23rd at 2pm the Biomes Center will present a live animal demonstration of marine animals from Narragansett Bay.  And on Thursday, Feb. 24th at 2pm artist Steve Brosnihan will present Cartoonagrams.  If one of these programs strikes your fancy, we suggest you call the library at 245-7686 first thing Tuesday morning and find out if there’s still space available.

At the Rogers Free Library on Hope Street in Bristol, the Community String Project is presenting a free performance on Tuesday at 3:30pm.  While you wait for the show to start you can admire the latest exhibit from the Bristol Art Museum, “Art Inspired by Music or Literature”, on display in the library’s lower level outside the Children’s Room. 

Warren Art Spot on Child Street in Warren has several fun workshops running this week especially for February vacation.  Your kids can learn to construct flipbooks and thaumotropes (two types of early animation devices), or make their very own kaleidoscope on Wednesday, create their own collection of treasures using beads and wire, or craft some fashionable accessories to take home on Thursday, or learn how to make their own colorful scratchboards on Friday.  Workshops run for two hours, are designed for kids age 5 and up, and cost $25 (Scratchboard is for kids age 6 and up and costs $30).  Visit their website to learn more, and call 245-0190 to check if there’s still space available. 

With this handful of possible outings in mind, along with a few art and music projects to do at home and the promise of a trip to the zoo and a breakfast or lunch at the bagel shop, I’m optimistically hopeful that we’ll have a lovely February vacation.  And then it will be March.  And you know what happens in March, right?  SPRING!

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