Inexpensive things to do during February school vacation

Fill winter's last school vacation week with free (and almost free) fun



Winter school vacation week for most New Hampshire schools bridges the last few days of February and the first days of March. This is the time of year when the winter blahs tend to peak, so why not make vacation week do double duty? Check out this roundup of kid-friendly vacation week events that can help cure even the toughest case of cabin fever.

  1. As vacation week starts, so do the outdoor celebrations and winter carnivals In Merrimack, head to Wasserman Park Winter Carnival on Saturday, February 24, 2018 from noon to 3 p.m. for a fun-filled day of snowman building, snow art, games and crafts, and an ice fishing derby. Admission is free.

  2. Heading up north? Another free celebration taking place on Saturday, February 24, 2018 is the Colebrook Kiwanis Winter Carnival. Held at the Colebrook Country Club, highlights of planned events include a cardboard box sledding derby for kids (prizes awarded by age category) and pancake breakfast.

  3. If you find yourself in the Lakes Region, make your way to the Wolfeboro Winter Carnival, a multi-day bash that celebrates all things ice and snow. Events are scheduled throughout the week, but you'll want to be there on Saturday, March 3, 2018 as there are many scheduled events, including a pancake breakfast, bonfire, outdoor family fun, torchlight parade and fireworks. These events all take place at the Abenaki Ski Area in Wolfeboro.

  4. A day at the museum can shake you free from your winter doldrums. At the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, families can take a look at artistic masterpieces then have fun making their own in the museum’s Discovery Gallery. As a special incentive, the museum offers a flat rate admission of $5 during vacation week Monday, February 26 to Friday, March 2, 2018 (please note that the museum is closed Tuesday). Vacation Art Camps are also available for children ages 5-14.

  5. The Children's Museum of New Hampshire, located in Dover, has a number of special theme days and activities planned throughout the week, including: Dino Day on Tuesday, February 17, Pajama Day on Friday, March 2 and Dr. Seuss's birthday celebrations on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4, 2018. All themed programs are included with regular museum admission.

  6. For some out-of-this-world excitement, take in a planetarium show at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord. Each weekday during vacation, the center offers special family programs at 11 (The Little Star that Could) and noon (Space School).

  7. Get the creative juices flowing at the Manchester City Library for some fun, hands-on activities. Kids ages 2-5 are invited to drop by on Thursday, March 1, 2018 for Messy Art Afternoon. From 3-4:30 p.m., kids will listen to a story and then create an unusual piece of art. For kids in grades 3-6, don't miss the Improv Puppet Workshop, also happening March 1, from 1-3 p.m.

  8. For a more low-key sports experience, Laconia offers open gym times throughout the week at local public school gyms with special drop-in basketball games for middle- and high-schoolers, and arts-and-crafts activities for younger kids. Also happening in Laconia is a sledding party on Monday afternoon, February 26, 2017 and cardboard sled races on Thursday, March 1, 2018 both taking place at the sledding hill located at the end of South Street off Academy Street. Events are free, but registration is required for the sled races. For more information and a detailed open gym schedule, contact the Laconia Parks and Recreation Department at 524-5046.

  9. If you want the family to unplug during February vacation week, then head to the Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm in Tamworth Monday February 26 through Friday, March 2, 2018 for Discovery Days. Kids will get a taste of life on the farm as they learn from hands-on, historic demonstrations as well as partake in farm chores. The cost is $5 per person and children under 4 are free.

  10. Hit the slopes at King Pine in Madison all week long, or head to the mountain on Monday, February 26, 2018 to take part in the ski area’s Silly Slalom Races or Tuesday, February 27, 2018 for the Belly Bag Race for kids. Race for fun — and for prizes. On Friday, March 2, 2018 there will be Torchlight Snowtubing as well as a campfire (and yes, s'mores).

  11. If you’ve already put the skis away for the year, then check out snow tubing at ski areas like Pat’s Peak in Henniker and slide your way to another fun and memorable winter vacation week. Snow tubing is available on Fridays through Sundays.

  12. Kids ages 3-5 who love marine life and exploring should visit the Seacoast Science Center, specifically the Big Fish Little Fish program on Friday, March 2, 2018. This program is held weekly and adventures are designed to inspire curiosity and a sense of wonder, as well as empower and build a child’s confidence as a young scientist and naturalist. Each session features a different theme and participants go outside rain or shine, but focus more on indoor activities during inclement weather.

  13. From the cardinal to the chickadee, many species of birds stay in NH throughout winter's coldest months. Learn to identify some of these residents, and understand how they survive this challenging time of year, at Amoskeag Fishways on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the Backyard Birds program. After learning a bit about these birds, guests will be able to create a beautiful bird feeder from recycled materials to bring home. Cost is $8 per family and the program runs from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Jacqueline Tourville is a freelance writer and children’s book author who lives on the Seacoast.

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