If you’re a parent, you know that getting ready to go out of the house with kids can sometimes be even more tiring than the actual outside-the-home excursion. Getting out and about means rounding up hats and shoes; making sure you have sunscreen or mittens– whatever the forecast calls for– and planning a fun activity for the day.
However, once you’ve got all that under control, getting out of the house also means making fun memories, sharing new experiences with your children, and watching them grow and explore. If you’re wracking your brain for fun activities you can share with your family, we have you covered. Check out these great options around Western Mass for having a little fun and creating a lot of lifelong memories.
Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Road Race
The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which celebrates Irish heritage, draws tremendous crowds to the local community. Typically held on the weekend following St. Patrick’s Day, 400,000+ parade guests are treated to fabulous floats, marching bands and the inimitable stylings of the Holyoke Caledonian Pipe Band.
The associated Road Race is the largest race in Western New England. If the flagship 10K trek is a bit too much of a trek for your littlest ones, they can participate in a Kids Fun Run or join in with you on the 2 Mile Walk.
Step back into yesteryear with a ride on the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round. The carousel features beautiful hand-painted horses and is accessible for those with disabilities. Plus, as an added bonus, the carousel space is enclosed and provides a measure of protection from inclement weather.
Rides on the carousel are affordable (only $2 each), which is a great deal, considering your kids will probably beg for more than one go-round on their pony of choice.
Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens
There’s something magical about a butterfly. Even for adults, these majestic creatures can spark awe. For young children, they’re a source of endless delight.
At Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Garden, you and your family can explore the massive facility and get up close and personal with more than 3,000 winged wonders that call the space home.
Butterflies, moths, tropical plants and Japanese koi and more abound and promise hours of exploration and a piqued interest in the science of the natural world. Guides are also available on site to help you identify the insects and infuse your outing with an additional educational aspect.
Autobahn Indoor Speedway
If you’re up for an adrenaline-inducing afternoon, set your kids loose at Autobahn Indoor Speedway.
The indoor go-kart racing track has a simple philosophy of “No Speed Limit!” Their facility gives your kids the freedom they crave to test their limits, while at the same time keeping them safe in a controlled environment equipped with state-of-the-art safety.
Bounce Trampoline Sports
Have kids who are bouncing off the walls? At Bounce Trampoline Sports, that’s not a problem; it’s part of the fun. Kids of all ages (and adults too!) will enjoy the opportunity to bounce, run and jump on the facility’s trampoline courts AND walls.
And, with special hours and areas (Bounce! Jr.) designed with younger kids in mind, you can feel peace of mind visiting the park with toddlers or teenagers. Favorite areas include the basketball dunk lanes for pre-teens and teens and the foam pit for littler kids.
Valley Blue Sox
The Great American Pastime is also a great way to create fun family memories during the summer months. Go together as a family to watch the Valley Blue Sox, part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Buy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks (or whatever your gametime snack food of choice may be) and let the family funtime begin.
And, you can give your kids an added bonus by signing them up for the Pup Club. Pup Club members get passes good for the entire season and a chance to meet the team at a special event, in addition to other prizes.
Hockey conjures up thoughts of flying pucks, smashing sticks and penalty boxes. And, attending a Springfield Thunderbirds game in person is an unforgettable experience. Kids love the up-close excitement of a hockey match; and, little ones will also love the opportunity to interact with fan favorite Boomer, the T-Birds’ mascot.
Parents can sign their kids up for Boomer’s Kids Club and can check in at selected games throughout the season for a chance to participate in the Puck Patrol and potentially be selected as an honorary Captain for the game.
As a kid, you probably remember trips to the mall with your mom as time to run around, beg for toys and snack at the food court. Good news: a trip to the Holyoke Mall with your kids today includes all those time-tested delights and more.
Holyoke Mall offers experiences beyond shopping, so you can offer a fun kid-focused activity as a reward for a good shopping trip, or plan it as a standalone excursion.
Mall family favorites include Billy Beez, a massive indoor playground that can keep little ones entertained and active for hours; Build-a-Bear Workshop, where kids can create a special stuffed companion as a keepsake; and All In Adventures Escape Room, where the whole family can work together to decode clues and complete an adventure.