The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced that it will continue to offer free and low-cost family-friendly programs this year during the upcoming February school vacation week. Programming begins on Saturday, February 18, 2023, and is available across the Massachusetts State Park system. Visitors will be able to participate in a variety of programming, including scavenger hunts, wildlife tracking, crafting activities, trail hikes, and more. A full list of activities and programming can be found on DCR’s website.

“DCR is once again excited to announce expanded park programs being offered at state parks across the Commonwealth during the upcoming February school vacation week,” said DCR Commissioner Doug Rice. “We encourage families and residents to take advantage of these programs as a way to get outside, enjoy nature, and explore our diverse Massachusetts State Parks system.”

During the school vacation week, public skating hours have been extended daily from 10:00AM to 2:50PM. In addition to the school vacation week programming, DCR will continue to offer its normal recreation and interpretive programming, as well as adaptive programming through the agency’s Universal Access Program. In total, 67 programs will be offered in state parks across all five regions of the Commonwealth. Some programming highlights include:


Colonial Children’s Games at Roxbury Heritage State Park, 183 Roxbury Street, Boston

Thursday, February 23,2023, and Saturday, February 25, 2023, from 1:30PM to 3:00PM

What do you get when you mix tic-tac-toe and checkers? Nine-Men’s-Morris, a popular board game played during colonial times! Learn how to play this and other fun games from the 1700s. Make your own games to play at home! Suitable for ages 6 and up, an adult must accompany all children. All programs are free and open to the public. Reasonable accommodations available upon advance request. Program meets at the Dilloway-Thomas House. For more information, please call 857-399-1224/1225 or email [email protected].

Our Animal Neighbors at Roxbury Heritage State Park, 183 Roxbury St., Boston

Sunday, February 19, 2023, and Thursday, February 23,2023, from 10:30AM to 12:00PM

Join us for a Bingo scavenger hunt on the park grounds to learn about Roxbury’s furry and feathery residents active in the winter! Also, look and touch at a discovery table. Program appropriate for ages 4 and up, an adult must accompany all children. All programs are free and open to the public. Reasonable accommodations available upon advance request. Program meets at the Dilloway-Thomas House and will take place outside. For more information and to check about weather cancellation, please call 857-399-1224/1225 or email [email protected].


Road to the Past: Dana Common at Quabbin Reservoir, 100 Winsor Dam Rd, Belchertown

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, from 10:00AM to 1:00PM

Registration required:

Take a 2 mile (4-mile round trip) walk to the past as we explore the road to Dana Common and look for signs of the past. Dress for the weather and bring water and snacks. Program appropriate for ages 8 and up. Meet at Gate 40, RT 32A in Petersham. For more information, please call 413-323-7221. Dogs are not allowed on water supply protection lands.

Miraculous Snowflakes at Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, 345 Mountain Road, Princeton

Thursday, February 23, 2023, and Friday, February 24, 2023 from 11:00AM to 12:00PM

Join us to learn about snowflakes and create some of your own. We will discuss the science behind the mysteries of winter weather, and explain how snowflakes are formed, and why no two snowflakes are alike! We will then show you how to create your own one-of-a-kind paper snowflake, suitable for framing or decorating. We will also have a read-aloud of the book “Snowflake Bentley.” This program is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is free and open to the public and there is no parking fee. This is an indoor program taking place at the Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Visitor Center, and no hiking is required. For more information, please call Wachusett Mountain State Reservation at (978) 464-2987.


Beginning Winter Birding at Halibut Point State Park, Gott Avenue at Rte 127, Rockport

Sunday, February 19, 2023, from 8:00AM to 10:00AM

Winter brings birds and ducks from frozen ponds up north to our seashore. See Harlequin ducks and loons among the winter visitors at this rocky coastal water’s edge. Join us for a short, slow walk and learn about bird sounds, habits, and flight patterns. Bundle up! Wear sturdy warm footwear, clothing layers, and bring sunscreen for you face for protection from the windy coast. Bring binoculars if you have them. For all ages. Meet at parking lot. For more information and for weather cancellation, please contact 857-268-6024.

“Crystal Products of the Frost King:” Ice Harvesting and the Natural Ice Industry in New England at Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden St., Concord

Monday, February 20, 2023, from 11:00AM to 12:30PM

Join historian and ice harvester Dennis Picard, in the Visitor Center for a program on the New England ice industry. See tools of the trade similar to those used at Walden’s Ice Fort Cove to harvest ice during Thoreau’s stay at Walden. Meet at Visitor Center. Program appropriate for all ages. Please contact 978-369-3254 for more information.


Silent Wings of the Night at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 131 Waquoit Highway, East Falmouth

Friday, February 24, 2023, from 11:00AM to 12:00PM

Learn about the lives, habits, and habitat of the owls that live in the Reserve. Take a short walk along our nature trail and find out about the kinds of owls here, their needs, and habitat. Learn what owls eat by dissecting owl pellets and identifying the bones of their prey. Finish by making a paper owl puppet while having hot chocolate. Meet in the Visitor Center. Come dressed for cold weather and possible snow. In the event of inclement weather, the entire program will be indoors. (Ages 5+)

Charles Eliot’s Dream at Blue Hills Reservation, 840 Hillside St., Milton

Thursday, February 23, 2023, from 9:00AM to 11:30AM

Charles Eliot was a dreamer. He dreamed what public parks could be and helped to create the Emerald Necklace, the Trustees of the Reservation, and the Metropolitan Parks Commission, the precursor to the DCR, as well as the Blue Hills Reservation itself. Come explore the incredible achievements and brilliant and tragically short life of Charles Eliot, the father of municipal parks and one of the founding fathers of Massachusetts conservation. Meet at the Visitor Center. This presentation is for ages 12 and up. For more information, please contact (857) 208-8498.


Family Friendly Outdoor Adventures at Mount Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough

Saturday, February 25, 2022, at 1:00PM

For all ages. Come out and join us for an afternoon of winter activities, including snow tubing for the little ones (bring your soft-sided sleds if you have them), a SNOWSHOE DEMO by NeviTREK Handmade Snowshoes, and a guided Geocaching Adventure along the Bradley Farm Trail! Please be prepared for the weather, dress in layers and wear sturdy snow boots. Traction devices, trekking poles or your own snowshoes are advisable. Snowshoes will be available to try out during the Snowshoe Demo for ages 8 and up. Program duration 90 – 120 minutes. Inclement weather cancels. For additional information and weather updates, call the Visitor Center at (413) 499-4262.

Nice and Easy Walk at Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls

Friday, February 24, 2023, from 1:00PM to 2:00PM

An easy-paced, 1 to 2-mile guided walk, along the Canalside Rail Trail or downtown Turners Falls, geared for seniors, but open to all ages. Join others seeking fresh air and exercise. A DCR Park Interpreter highlights local history and natural scenes along the way. Be prepared for the weather. Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy boots. Bring water. FREE. In case of inclement weather, come on inside for the interpretive topic of the day. Meet at the main entrance to the center. Dogs are allowed. For more information, please contact 413-863-3221.

Visitors are encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #MassDCR. DCR asks visitors to park in designated areas only, and to come back another time if parking lots are full. Dogs are required to be on a leash in state parks unless signage designates otherwise. Dogs are not permitted on DCR Water Supply Protection area. To find a dog-friendly park, visit the DCR website.