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Central Massachusetts has lots of rural and historic things to see and do

Central Massachusetts figures prominently in America’s past, and today it offers some of the most interesting family activities in New England. Explore Old Sturbridge Village’s 18th-century setting then stay and enjoy authentic New England cuisine, cozy rooms and fireplaces, and delicious sweets from Ye Old Bake Shoppe. The Ecotarium is one of the top science museums for kids in the country. Enjoy walking tours, special events and exhibits at the Tower Hill Botanic Gardens. Find a cozy hotel room or exert yourself on a bed, breakfast and biking vacation you won’t forget.
Atrium & Roman Mosaic - Worcester Art Museum - Worcester MA
Worcester Art Museum

55 Salisbury Street Worcester, MA, 01609 Phone: 508-799-4406

Eclectic, engaging offerings and interactive opportunities await visitors to this museum

There are lots of lovely things to see at the Worcester Art Museum, with its collection of 38,000 objects. There’s the 12th century Romanesque chapter house, paintings by Monet and Gauguin, cups made by ancient Americans, delicate Japanese screens and full suits of armor. But there are also many things to do in this museum that realizes the value of interactivity. Scavenger hunts mane discovering art fun, and art carts allow hands-on exploration. Greek coins, Roman floor mosaics, Chinese art, jousting helmets and special exhibits featuring everything from baseball jerseys to reclaimed art stolen by Nazis (and a family’s 75-year effort to get it back) are all part of this museum’s eclectic, engaging offerings.
Reptile Exhibit 500x250 - Southwick's Zoo - Mendon, MA
Southwick’s Zoo

2 Southwick Street Mendon, MA, 01756 Phone: 800-258-9182

This zoo is full of animals, adventures, activities – and so much more!

Southwick’s Zoo is really more than a zoo: It’s a zoo-plus. The plus includes a carousel, a rainforest maze, a Skyari sky ride to give you a bird’s eye view of the African Plains, a Woodland Express train ride, pony and camel rides, a place where you can mine for gems and fossils – even a two-seater zipline! And have they got animals, from lemurs and lions to snakes and sloths. Feed a parakeet in the aviary or a deer in the 35-acre deer forest, interact with pygmy goats in the petting zoo, feed a giraffe or enjoy one of several live-animal presentations and educational exhibits. Lots of dining options, from burgers and wraps to New England tavern meals.
Great Scout Camp Out - Old Sturbridge Village - Sturbridge, MA
Old Sturbridge Village

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, off Route 20 Sturbridge, MA, 01566 Phone: 508-347-3362 Toll-Free: 800-733-1830

See history’s crafts, daily life come alive at this interactive outdoor museum

The Great Scout Camp Out returns to Old Sturbridge Village on June 5, 2021! Advanced ticketing is required. Please visit our updated policies & procedures before reserving your visit.

Step back in time – but step lively – at Old Sturbridge Village, where the 1830s come to life in 40 original buildings that form a rural New England town. But the early 19th century was a busy time, as you’ll see when you visit the blacksmith shop, or watch an oxen-driven plow in the field, or watch one of the village’s authentically costumed staff hand-dip candles or make dinner on a hearth. Activities include everything from learning a historical craft like textile-making to taking a trip in a stagecoach or, in the winter, in a horse-drawn sleigh. Holidays are magical from fireworks on the Fourth to Christmas by Candlelight in December, with a roaring bonfire and strolls around the decorated village.
Panoramic View 500x250 - Cantor Art Gallery - Worcester, MA
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery

College of the Holy Cross - 1 College Street Worcester, MA, 01610 Phone: 508-793-3356

A gallery with a mission

As a college art gallery, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery’s mission is to promote the intellectual and cultural life of the College of the Holy Cross and greater community by exploring the fundamental intellectual, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic issues encountered through the visual arts. Through a series of exhibitions throughout the academic year, enhanced by receptions, guest lectures, readings, and students’ presentations, you’ll always find something of interest. Current exhibition information and hours of operation can be found on the gallery’s website.
johnny appleseed trail
Johnny Appleseed Trail Through Picturesque Towns

Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman in 1774 in Leominster, Massachusetts, was a pioneer nurseryman who introduced apples to large parts of the Midwest. Today’s Johnny Appleseed Trail in north-central Massachusetts runs along Route 2 between the Freedom Trail and the Mohawk Trail, or from about Turner’s Falls at the western end to Lancaster at the eastern end. Spring, summer, and fall are perfect for exploring this region of farms, orchards, and beautiful small towns. Start at the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center on Route 2 West in Lancaster. It’s full of helpful brochures and locally made crafts, books, jams and jellies, gifts and souvenirs.
breezy picnic grounds
Breezy, Wet, and Fun Place to Picnic

It is breezy; it is wet; it is slippy and slidy. What’s not to like? Breezy Picnic Grounds Waterslides at 520 Northwest Main Street in Douglas is a family-owned picnic grounds and water park nestled in the heart of the Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor. Children and families can pass a whole day at Breezy, swimming in the Whitins Reservoir, riding the 300-foot-long waterslides like the Tunnel Twister, visiting the game rooms, browsing at the snack bar, relaxing and picnicking. Admission fee allows unlimited rides. Open early June through Labor Day.
antiques in central ma
Prowl for Fashionable Objects of the Past

Prowling shops that showcase cool old stuff of bygone times (some of it cycling into fashion again) is a fun indoor winter sport. The towns of central Massachusetts have plenty to offer style archaeologists. Sadie Green’s in Sturbridge creates and sell vintage reproduction jewelry. Metal is embossed with original dies from the 1920s and jewelry is hand assembled. Find beautiful and unusual jewelry of sea glass, hand-wrapped glass, florals and shells. Perfectly unique! In Worcester, Sweet Jane’s Designer Consignment fills your sense with just the clothing treasures that the shop name promises. The shop promises to deliver “curated designer resale [goods] for the huntress, fashionista, and style queen in all of us.” Off the Common Antiques in Grafton has many vendors selling antiques, furniture and home décor. Welcoming to dogs and strollers, too.
Fruitlands Museum
Fruitlands Is Home to four Fascinating Museums

In 1843, Bronson Alcott, father of the writer Louisa May Alcott and himself a writer, founded a utopian community called Fruitlands, near the town of Harvard. Later, from 1914 to 1945, the four Fruitlands Museums opened on the site of Alcott’s village, at 102 Prospect Hill Road in Harvard. The 210-acre landscape now includes a Shaker Museum, a Native American museum, a fine art gallery of Hudson River landscapes, changing exhibits, and trails through woodlands and meadows. A visit is inspiring, educational, and beautiful, with plenty of potential for outdoor walks on the trails. Lots of special events for adults and kids. Open daily, May through October.
The Iconic Jersey - Baseball x Fashion - at Worcester Art Museum now through September 12
ioka valley farm im MA
Farm Fun for Kids at Uncle Don’s Barnyard

Ioka Valley Farm at 3475 Route 43 in Hancock offers fun and educational farming activities year-round. Spring brings the sugaring season and pancake breakfasts, followed through the rest of the year by berry picking, picnicking, pumpkin carving, wagon rides, a haystack maze, and Christmas trees. Kid fun includes a baby animal petting area, hay tunnel and hay piles, giant sandboxes, a mechanical cow, peddle tractors, a library of farm books, a farm-themed playground and a picnic area. (go to the farm’s website and look under “Activities,” – organized by season.)
biking near wachusett
Biking Through the Center of the State

Massachusetts Central Rail Trail for bicycles and walkers that, when finished, will include 104 miles connecting 24 communities Boston to Northampton. Various groups are refurbishing the trail in pieces. Volunteers with Wachusetts Greenways have opened 11 miles of the rail trail, as follows Sterling from Cider Mill to Gates Road; West Boylston/Holden from Oakdale to River Street along the Quinapoxet River; Holden Connector from River Street to Manning Street to Mill Street; Rutland from Wachusett Street south to the Holden line; Rutland from Glenwood Road to Route 56; Rutland from the Charnock Hill Road to Barrack Hill Road to Rutland State Park entrance road to Route 122 and the Midstate Trail. Get out on two wheels to two feet and join the adventure. Rail Trail map.
disc golf in leicester MA
We Give Up: What Is Disc Golf?

Disc golf is played much like traditional golf, but instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc or Frisbee. The disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, usually an elevated metal basket. As with regular golf, the players’ objective is to complete each hole in the fewest number of throws. It is fun for all ages, and the folks at Pyramids Disc Golf Course at 103 Marshall Street in Leicester are ready to get you playing. Course is open daily.
Old Deerfield in Deerfield MA
Historic Trades in Action in Deerfield

Crafts people will demonstrate dressmaking, shoemaking, medical care, basketmaking, gun smithing, cabinet making, coopering pottery making and even gravestone carving as these essential skills were done in places like Deerfield. See schedule for specific demos, offered on weekends. Fun for the kids, too. 413-774-5581.