Looking for ways to avoid cabin fever keep 'em busy over April vacation? While there are plenty of happenings in the region for kids and families over spring break, we've narrowed it down to three really cool, don't-want-to-miss-it events. One is right here in our backyard, while the other two are just a short ride over the state border. The best part? They are all free for kids!
1. Patriot's Day and the Anniversary of the Battles of Lexington & Concord
Each year in mid-April, thousands of people flock to the historic Lexington and Concord Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, Mass. to celebrate Patriot's Day - a special holiday celebrated only in the Bay State that commemorates the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War, April 19, 1775.
Patriots Day is officially observed on Monday, April 16 this year, and the entire weekend leading up and week following - April vacation - will feature parades, reenactments and commemorative ceremonies.
Battle reenactments include the "Parker's Revenge" demonstration on Saturday, April 14, where hundreds of reenactors will take part in fast-paced action along a hotly-contested stretch of the actual Battle Road of 1775, and the Lexington Battle on Monday, April 16, where British and Colonial soldiers stage a reenactment of the early-morning battle and commemorate the "shot heard round the world."
Visitors can take in the home of Colonel James Barrett and his family, learn about the intense military preparations that took place there and help make cartridges for the minute men. Or, reflect on the meaning of liberty at evening lantern-lit procession and ceremony as part of the annual Patriot Vigil. Gun salutes, musket and cannon firings, and the Concord Patriot's Day Parade are all part of what's in store.
Children are free, adults $7. https://www.nps.gov/mima/patriots-day.htm
2. Newport Daffodil Days Festival
Stop and smell the daffodils! The 5th annual Newport Daffodil Days - April 14-22 - promises to be a bloomin' fun time for the whole family. Plenty of events are lined up for the week set against the backdrop of one of New England's most beautiful seacoast towns and over 860,000 daffodils ready to burst. Highlights of this colorful spring festival range from a "Driving Miss Daffodil" classic car show to a "Tour de Jonquilles" bike ride through flower-lined streets. Even pets get in on the fun in a parade of dogs dressed up as - you guessed it - daffodils.
Little ones will love meeting Disney princesses Rapunzel and Belle, who will be in town for an "enchanted story hour" to kick things off on Saturday, April 14, leading a sing-a-long and signing autographs. Once you get your princess fix, cheer on runners in a 5K along Easton's Beach, or hit historic Bellevue Avenue for some shopping. End the week at the Daffodil Garden Party, featuring live music and ballet, on Sunday, April 22. A Spring Fling, the chance to check out teddy bear topiaries (among other cool animal shapes!), and the Lighting of the Trees at Art of Arbor are on the docket for the week.
For all the details, check out newportdaffydays.com.
3. Discover WILD New Hampshire Day
Head up north for a wild time at the state's Fish & Game Department's most popular community event of the year. It's a big deal -- and we do mean big. In recent years, more than 10,000 people have turned out for what's become an annual celebration of the great outdoors.
The whole family can explore the Granite State's legacy of woodsy traditions at Discover WILD New Hampshire Day, Saturday, April 21.
Visitors can browse educational exhibits, see live animals, big fish and trained falcons, but the real fun is in the hands-on opportunities. Ever wanted to try your hand at archery? How about casting, fly-tying, or BB gun shooting? It's all a possibility. Kids can get creative with craft activities, feel different types of fur and even pet a fish -- if they dare -- in a touch tank. Mom and dad can check out the latest hunting and fishing gear and gadgets.
The event takes place on the grounds of the Fish & Game Department, 11 Hazen Dr., Concord, N.H. from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Rain or shine. http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/events/dwnh.html