The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland, a web site that features real New England travel stories told by a lifelong local.

Low Cost April Vacation Activities, Ideas, Tours in Massachusetts

Image of Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth MA

Plimoth Plantation. Credit: Tim Grafft/MOTT

April vacation — it’s come up much quicker than we thought, hasn’t it?

With warmer weather on the way, the chance to get outside and enjoy the New England spring time will quite simply be a revelation, given the terrible weather we experienced during the winter., the official travel site of Massachusetts, has come up with a terrific list of April vacation activities, ideas and tours for the whole family — many of them listed below as being quite affordable.  Also, if you see an event you like and need to book a room in or near that given community, please check out our Discount Massachusetts Hotel Guide.

Without further ado, let’s spring into those great-sounding activities ideas from!

Greater Boston

Franklin Zoo
Spring Time at the Zoo
Thursday April 7 10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Bring your 3-4 year olds and check out all the new life at the Zoo in the early spring-blooming plants, singing birds, and a fresh start of growth for the year.
Franklin Park Zoo

Normandy Farms
Beginning Friday April 15th Normandy Farms will be hosting a wide array of events for children anxiously waiting to finish school. Movie showings, basketball games, ping pong tournaments, arts & crafts table as well as many other activities will be taking place throughout the week.
Normandy Farms

North of Boston

Garden in the Woods
Earth Day Celebration
April 23, 2011, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Earth Day at Garden in the Woods: free admission, free parking, guided walking tours on the half-hour. There will be special storytelling with tree themes by well-known area storytellers. There should also be a visit by a costumed tree character. The Society plans to give a limited number of saplings to families in celebration of Arbor Day. Special tree-themed scavenger hunt. Information on sustainable gardening, butterfly gardens, rain gardens, idea gardens, water gardens, and more.
Garden in the Woods

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House
April 19-22, 2011, 9:00 am daily
Join us for a week of fun during April school vacation! Try your hand at activities popular with Louisa May Alcott and her sisters. Our trained staff will help you act, write, make a craft, and draw just like the Alcott girls — the real-life models for “Meg,” “Jo,” “Beth,” and “Amy”! Cost: $100 for the week or $30 per day. Space is limited; reservations & pre-payment strongly suggested.
Phone: 978.369.4118 x106
Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

South of Boston

April Vacation Family-Fun Guided Tours
Meet in Plimoth Plantation’s Craft Center for family-fun guided tours that focus not just on the living history of Plimoth Plantation, but also on the history of the land, its animals and surrounding plants. These guided tours are FREE with museum admission and no reservations are required. 10:00-10:45am
April Vacation Family-Fun Guided Tours

Liberty Week at Battleship Cove
Monday-Friday, April 18-22
Enjoy fun-filled educational workshops for the entire family and special guest appearances and entertainment. Also, the Fall River Carousel will be open to the public from 11am-3pm, Monday-Friday. All activities and workshops are free with paid, discounted admission. $12 adults, $7 children 6-12, & free to children under six.
Liberty Week at Battleship Cove

Cape Cod and the Islands

8th Biennial Woods Hole Model Boat Show
Saturday April 17 9-4; Sunday 9-3
Woods Hole Historical Museum, Woods Hole, MA
Modelers come from all over New England to exhibit at several sites within a stroll of Eel Pond where the American Model Yacht Association conducts radio controlled sailboat races and novices can try a hand at radio controlled sailing. Special exhibits feature America’s Cup Boats and Tugboats. Kids can make a model and float it in the pool. A Beetle Cat sailboat model will be raffled off. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children over 6, $25 for families, and cover both days.
8th Biennial Woods Hole Model Boat Show

“Out of Sight!” – an adventure in microscopic explorations
Activity for middle-school students and their families, is being held on Wednesday, April 20th from 11 AM to 12:30 PM in the Marine Biological Laboratory’s (MBL) Loeb Laboratory, 18 MBL Street in Woods Hole. It will be a fascinating peek at life under the microscope, as students move from station to station, trying a variety of hands-on experiments, following along in their own observation booklet. This is a free event, sponsored by the MBL Associates.
Marine Biological Laboratory

Central Massachusetts

The Mind Barn
Vacation Week Camp – Theme “Planting Time”
Students and teachers will prepare a banquet for Final Friday night for Earth day. They will also learn planting, menu planning, etiquette, and meal presentation.
The Mind Barn

Old Sturbridge Village
School Vacation Week Activities at OSV:
Patriots Day
Lambs and Piglets
Hands-On Activities
Day Camps
Patriots Day on Monday 9:30am-5pm. All week long highlight the newborn lamb and piglets and do hands-on activities with required fees and also a 2 day camp for ages 6-17 years.
Old Sturbridge Village

Western Massachusetts

ISI83 Art School of the Berkshires
April 18 – 22
April Vacation Art Camp
Great Art Through the Ages. An introduction to some of the greatest artists throughout history through hands-on exploration of their unique and exceptional work. From the earliest prehistoric cave paintings to Picasso and Pollack, we will build, sculpt, paint and create our own fantastic works of art
IS183 Art School of the Berkshires

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
April 19 – 21 Mahaiwe Family Movies
Enjoy school vacation week at the Mahaiwe with three Family Movies: Black Beauty on Tuesday, April 19 at 6pm, Happy Feet on Wednesday, April 20 at 5pm, and the Marx Brothers’ Animal Crackers on Thursday, April 21 at 6pm. Tickets are $6 (general admission) and free for members of the Greylock YouthClub.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

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