This February vacation, explore the outdoors with Trustees of Reservations

For families planning a staycation during February winter break, the Trustees of Reservations is offering a range of options to stay engaged in nature at many of its 123 properties across the state.

Kristen Swanberg, the organization’s managing director of engagement and education, said the intention is to provide youngsters “with an unforgettable time while parents and caregivers have peace of mind” in a safe, educational, and fun environment during the pandemic.

“We know parents have different needs over winter break, so we strive for variety in terms of child drop-offs for part of the day, one day, or all week,” she said. “And there are lots of activities the whole family can do together, too.”

The ever-popular fire pit rentals are available for a family outing, cozy picnic, or date night at several locations (with the full list available at thetrustees.org/program/fire-pits/). At Long Hill in Beverly, for example, February Vacation Week Fire Pit Sessions ($60/member group; $75/nonmember group), from Feb. 21-25, include a two-hour rental period with firewood, chairs for six, and a complimentary s’mores kit.

Naturalist Laurie Nehring leads Winter Tracking on the Trails ($24/member family; $30/nonmember family) on Feb. 21 at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard. At Ward Reservation in Andoverthe All Things Glowing Night Hike ($15/member; $25/non-member) on Feb. 25 offers a lantern-guided walk of reflection and positive energy. At the top of Holt Hill, participants will be greeted by glowing fire pits and a fire-spinning performance by Tetra.

Is your little one curious to learn what farming looks like in winter? At Chestnut Hill Farm in Southboroughchildren in kindergarten through grade 5 ($36/member; $45/nonmember) can be a Junior Farmer for a Day, from Feb. 21-24, learning everything from livestock habits to growing food during the cold winter months.

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln is hosting a trio of art classes. From Feb. 22-25, ARTfull Vacation Class ($128/member; $160/nonmember) inspires children in kindergarten through Grade 2 to imagine, build, sculpt, and illustrate using tactile art-making materials.

In ARTfull February Vacation ($18/nonmember adult; free for members and all children), from Feb. 23-25, families with children 5 to 12 years old create collages inspired by Jeffrey Gibson’s newest installation featuring giant fringe cubes. Offered from Feb. 22-25, Clay on the Wheel for Teens ($180/member; $225/non-member) teaches the basics, the purely functional, and sculptural throwing exercises to students of all levels in grades 7-12.

Weir River Farm in Hingham is hosting two science classes. Climate Change Challenge for Teens ($120/member; $150/non-member), on Feb. 22-23, explores the causes, effects, and real-world impacts of climate change, and what can be done about it. On Feb. 24-25, Biomimicry-In-Action Teen Workshop ($120/member; $150/nonmember) introduces the engineering design process of building solutions.

In Kiddos in the Kitchen ($72/day for members; $90/day for nonmembers), kids ages 7 to 12 will cook up a storm at Powisset Farm in dover from Feb. 21-24, with daily menus introducing a range of cooking techniques and incorporating ingredients from the farm.

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich offers a two-part series for explorers. CraneExplorer: Beach Detectives ($24/member family; $30/nonmember family), on Feb. 23, is designed for families with children ages 5 to 12 to explore the beach, piece together clues to uncover its residents beneath the sand and water, and use guides to identify shells, egg cases, seaweed, and more.

On Feb. 24, CraneExplorer: Shipwreck Scholars ($24/member family; $30/nonmember family) welcomes families with preteens on a hike through the salt marsh, dunes, and beach while learning about the 1909 shipwreck of the Ada K. Damon schooner and other local nautical history.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to get kids and families exploring all these amazing working farms, cultural sites, woods, fields, coastlines, and other amazing places in Massachusetts,” Swanberg said. “The Trustees is proud to be supporting families, especially during this time when they’re looking for something fun and engaging to do — with a little bit of learning to go along with it.”

For a full list of Trustees’ winter break events and programs, as well as information regarding COVID-19 safety protocol, visit thetrustees.org/program/february-school-vacation/.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.

Enjoying a winter day at Appleton Farms in Ipswich Photo courtesy of Trustees of Reservations

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