By Kristen Eriksen
I have to admit, this winter has been so mild that I’m really missing the snow. I do not, however, miss feeling cooped up with the twins. Last winter was a bit tough, so I began searching for places to go that were indoors, without breaking the bank. With school vacation week, I really wanted to have some plans to keep busy. We often have playdates at home, and will definitely do that, too, but really want to take advantage of our extra free time to go have some fun, or check out some new places. Here is my list of suggestions:
- Check out your local library. They are a great free option for story times, new books, videos and music selections. They also have discounted passes to many interesting museums and activities. In my town of Chelmsford, they change the story times after a number of months, so be sure to check the schedule. They also have drop in arts and craft dates. I took the opportunity last summer to use several of their passes.
- The Acton Discovery Museum is great. They have lots of fun play areas in different rooms of an old house for younger children, and then a larger, more typical, hands-on museum for older children.
- If you become a member at the Acton Discovery Museum, you get unlimited visits at many other museums in the area, like the Children’s Museum in Dover NH, too. I have never been there, but hope to check it out soon. The website (of course) makes it look awesome!
- One Stop Fun in Westford is an indoor climbing gym, which also has an outdoor pool and gymnastics room. I got discounted passes from the library and we went last summer. It was a lot of fun, but I would not recommend it for the summer. Well, at least the time that we went. They have an arrangement with a local summer camp to come and use the gym for a few hours. We had a blast until then. There were many older kids once camp came in, and it created chaos and fear for the twins.
- Jump On In is another gym-type place with bouncy houses, etc. I wrote about this in my blog about birthday parties. They have several locations, including Lowell. They also have open gym times and you can rent it out for play groups, too.
- “Imajine That” is located in Lawrence. I have never been, but hear that it is a fun open play place, too. They have bouncy houses, a science center and special craft times throughout the week.
- The Tyngsboro Sports Center is an indoor gym in, well, Tyngsboro. Although I have not yet been, I am very impressed with info I have read and heard about this center. It is a huge facility with offerings for all ages, including parents.
- Some may say that this is just grasping at straws, but sometimes we have just as much fun walking the mall. They all have some indoor play places, which is really what I am looking for mostly, just so the twins can burn off some energy.
- The Butterfly Place, in Westford, is a nice indoor destination, for a brief time. Warm, indoor gardens with walkways, benches, beautiful flowers and butterflies. Not very expensive ($8 per child, $12 for adults), but may only take an hour or two of your time.
- The Childrens Museum, Museum of Science and Aquarium in Boston are a lot of fun, but of course now we are getting pricey. There are discount passes at the library, but you must add the cost of gas, travel, parking and food (unless you bring your own food!).
- Many local skating rinks have open skates, and also have learn-to-skate programs. My sisters and friends have highly recommended the program at the Chelmsford Forum. It costs $100 for an 8-week session, I don’t know if that is reasonable, or if there are less expensive programs.
- There is an outdoor skating rink set up at the McGelligot playground in Westford.
I would love more suggestions from other parents to add to this list! OK, so now I am ready, so……………Let it snow! I promise not to complain. Well, not this year!