Free Family Activity Ideas for April Vacation

If a trip to a theme park was not part of your vacation plan,your kids can still experience thrills, treasure hunts, and historical fun for free, right in their own back yards.

1. March to Concord with the Sudbury Militia on April 19: Take your family back in time to the days of the American Revolution. Join the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute as they march to the Old North Bridge Thursday, April 19. The minutemen will gather promptly at 5:30 a.m. at the Sudbury Town Hall, which is at the corner of Rt. 27 and Concord Road. The Company will “step off to Concord” at 5:45 a.m. and proceed on a route that begins on Concord Road, takes you through the Sudbury/Concord line, and finishes with a musket salute at the North Bridge in Concord at 10:30 a.m. It is recommended that you secure return transportation at the completion of the march. You could ask a friend or family member to meet you around 11 a.m., or you could leave a car at the North Bridge visitor lot on Liberty Street. I remember marching with the Stow Minutemen when I was a Girl Scout. My friends and I looked forward to this annual event.  This year the Company is expecting a family from California to join the march to celebrate their daughter’s 11th birthday. For more information or to join the march, contact Col. Carl Hutchinson, or visit the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute web site.

2. Purgatory Chasm: If your family is looking for a hike that is filled with thrills and chills, look no further than Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA. This state park includes great hiking trails through glacier-created rock formations. You begin with a descent right into the chasm with tall rock walls on either side. For the not so faint of heart, try squeezing through “Fat Man’s Misery”; if you dare, you can walk through this narrow crevice in a huge boulder. Be extra careful when you come out, or ask for help, as you make a quick turn to the left and ease yourself across a two-foot ledge to safety. A heads up to parents of young children: it is important to have adult spotting, pace, and supervision in some areas. Admission is free. Purgatory Chasm is located at 198 Purgatory Road in Sutton. Thank you to my friend Phil for introducing my family to this great hiking spot.

3. Letterboxing: Has your family tried letterboxing? It’s a fun treasure hunt and a great way to get fresh air and exercise for free. All you need are the instructions, a stamp and stamp pad, and a booklet or paper pad to collect stamps. Follow coordinates or clues to locate hidden boxes that contain a paper pad and a specially-designed stamp. Use this stamp to make an impression on your paper pad, and use your stamp to make an impression on the paper pad in the letter box. To find out more about letterboxing, visit Letterboxing North America's website. Our family participates in a letterboxing community called Atlas Quest.  This website has a great search engine for finding letterbox locations in Marlborough and surrounding towns. Our favorite locations include Holts Grove in Marlborough and Coyote Trail in Northborough. Print out the clues and then head off on your quest. When you get home, you can log your findings on the Atlas Quest website. My kids were skeptics at first, but when they found their first letterbox, they were hooked. Thank you to my friend Grace for clueing us in to this great family activity.

4. Free open house at Fenway Park: Fenway Park is 100 years old! Take a tour of this historic ball park on Thursday, April 19 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Follow "Fenway Park: A Living Museum" which is a guided trip around Fenway. As you walk along you'll learn Fenway History, see artifacts, watch presentations, and get  autographs. There will be exhibits where kids are allowed to touch things, so there is something for the whole family. For more information, visit the Fenway 100th website. Thank you to Boston Central for letting me know about this great event.

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