If your plans for winter break include a staycation right here in Boston, you're in luck, because there are tons of cool things to do while the kids are off of school between February 18 and 22. Along with some very special exhibits, performances, and fun activities, we've discovered some drop-off programs for kids of parents who need childcare (or just a break). We're also happy to report that there are also oodles of events that are free (or nearly free) this February school break. True, none of these events involve lounging on the beach with a tropical drink; on the plus side, they're all easy to get to—and easy on the wallet. For more ideas for making the most of a chilly February vacation in Boston, check out our Winter Fun Guide.
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Kids will learn amazing facts about the strangest, most ferocious, and most remarkable species on Earth at the new Nature's Superheroes exhibit. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science
Culture and Brainy Fun
1. Catch a free movie—there's one each night from Monday through Thursday at Faneuil Hall.—Boston
2. Get a first glimpse at the Museum of Science's brand-new exhibit, Nature's Superheroes: Life at the Limits...and wow kids with fun facts about unique animals like the bowerbird (which festoons its nest with colorful trinkets like an interior decorator) and the saltwater crocodile (which has the strongest bite ever recorded). —Boston
3. Visit the Mary Baker Eddy Library for Black History Month and enjoy activities centered on aviation, invention, dance, and art-making.—Boston
4. Got a boat lover? Head over to the USS Constitution for the Maritime Lego Festival happening all week long. Get inspired by the different ship designs on display at the Masters of Miniature exhibit and build your own ship with Lego and Duplo Bricks.—Charlestown
5. Celebrate the Year of the Pig at Chinatown's annual parade! Your kids will love the colorful lion dancers, drums, firecrackers, and music.—Boston
Hands-on learning is the draw at MIT's Feb Fest. Photo by Samara Vise
6. MIT is celebrating National Engineers Week with their annual Feb Fest. Build and learn along with students and scientists!—Cambridge
7. Explore, dodge, dance, and problem-solve your way through rooms filled with mazes, structures, and video artwork the William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Vacation week is your last chance before it's gone! Check their calendar for daily break fun for kids too.—Boston
8. Celebrate National Engineer Week at the Children's Museum with all sorts of activities to challenge your little ones to build, design, create, and problem-solve.—Boston
9. There are drop-in, artful animal projects every day at the Museum of Fine Arts, along with story hours on the 20th.—Boston
10. Teach your kids about climate change at this brand-new interactive exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.—Cambridge
11. If you'd simply like to explore some cultural institutions you've never visited (or haven't in awhile), several local museums offer free admission for children (accompanying caregivers in most cases still pay regular admission).
12. Make Egyptian accessories, inscribe clay tablets, or decode hieroglyphics at the Harvard Semitic Museum's February Vacation daily programs.—Cambridge
The Family Fun Zone awaits at Winterfest. Photo courtesy of Lowell Winterfest
13. The annual Winter Festival will take place on Boston Common on Wednesday, February 20th. Enjoy arts and crafts, games, inflatables, a photo booth, and free skating (and rentals!) on the Frog Pond.—Boston
14. If downtown isn't your style, taking the kids on a hike or a winter walk are certainly great ways to shake off cabin fever.
15. Pop into the Lowell Winterfest for everything from rides to ice skating to food vendors and shopping. Winterfest's grand finale combines a laser light show, music, and fireworks.—Lowell
16. Lace up for free skating at these local indoor rinks or low-cost skating at these charming outdoor rinks across Greater Boston.—Boston
17. Hit the slopes at one of these nearby ski hills, all worthy of a day trip.—various locations
18. Don't want to ski? Hit the slopes to go snow tubing instead!—various locations
19. An even simpler way to make the most of cold weather: Snowshoeing at one of these local parks, which is great fun (and great exercise).—various locations
20. Got a little comedian on your hands? Stop into this Improv Workshop at the Ventress Memorial Library.—Marshfield
21. Read about ballerinas and learn some dance moves at storytime with the Boston Ballet.—Hyde Park
22. Play rhythm instruments, sing, and move to all kinds of music at Music with Megan at the West End Branch Library.—Boston
23. Grab tickets to watch Mickey and the gang at Disney on Ice Mickey Search Party.—Boston
24. If the American Girl doll craze has hit your house, you'll want to buy tickets to the first-ever American Girl Live show.—Boston
25. What's up, doc? The Bugs Bunny Festival is at the Brattle Theatre with shows all week long.—Boston
26. Watch a puppet show featuring silly monsters at Go Home Tiny Monsters at the Puppet Showplace Theater.—Brookline
Acera's STEAM Learning Lab encourages electrical ingenuity in Winchester. Photo courtesy of Acera School
Drop-Off Camps & Clinics
27. Tire 'em out! My Gym is offering drop-off camps at their Framingham and Boston locations.—Framingham, Boston
28. Budding chefs can whip up some tasty treat inspired by their favorite stories at Taste Buds Kitchen.—Beverly, North Andover
29. Let your kids go wild at the zoo! First through sixth graders will explore the world of endangered animals at Franklin Park Zoo February Vacation Week Program from Tuesday the 20th through Friday the 23rd.—Boston
30. Learn how to draw and explore in virtual reality, solve a design challenge in the wood shop, create your own "enchanted electronics" projects, and more at Acera's STEAM Learning Lab.—Winchester
31. Your kids can choose from choose sports, swimming, arts and crafts, dance, cooking, board games and more at the JCC Greater Boston School Vacation Camps.—Boston
Originally published on 2/8/2016. Updated by Lucie T. on 2/13/2017 and 2/11/2018.