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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

When it comes to having fun during winter in Massachusetts, there are plenty of enjoyable things to do, from skiing and ice skating to winter farmers’ markets.

While those activities are always a good time, there’s also a new way to make the most of your free afternoons and evenings while picking up some skills along the way: Massachusetts Learning Adventures!
You might be surprised at how much fun you can have around here while discovering something new, all without setting foot in a classroom, listening to a lecture or cracking open a textbook.
Here’s a quick look at five of these learning adventures and where you can undertake them.
1. Rainforest Adventure in Springfield, MA
In Massachusetts, you don’t need a plane ticket to the Amazon to learn about rainforests. Just head over to the Springfield Science Museum in Springfield, where a world of nature’s treasures await at the Rainforest Adventure exhibit, on display from January 25 through May 11, 2014. Through guided explorations and role-playing, kids and adults can participate in educational activities, including exploring a gorilla nest, climbing a kapok tree and learning about the vast number of critters that inhabit the rainforest. Admission is $5. Click here for directions or call the museum at 1-800-625-7738 for more information.
Springfield Museums photo

Photo: Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture via Facebook

2. Crafts & Fine Arts at The Eliot School
Want to make your own soap? How about building a stool? From basic drawing and painting classes to learning how to sew, you and your family can get a little thrifty and learn from the experts at the Eliot School, located in the heart of Monument Square in Boston’s cool neighborhood, Jamaica Plain. An institution that inspires to inspiring lifelong learning about the visual arts and craftsmanship, the Eliot School lets you mix and match whichever courses catch your eye for a full day of creative exploration. Register yourself, your kids, and anyone with an imagination for a custom-made itinerary here. The Eliot School is easily accessible; find out about public transportation options and directions on the website.

Eliot 2

Photo: David Sturtevant’s Painting of the Eliot School via Facebook

3. Hands-On History Workshop in Worcester, MA
If you’re into history, head over to Antiquarian Hall, home of the third-oldest historical society in the nation, for a workshop that’s one for the books. Founded in 1820, Antiquarian Hall is a booklover’s dream, housing two-thirds of all known books printed in the U.S. from 1640-1820. Professional archivists and historians offer an immersive workshop that allows adults and teenagers to interact with these rare artifacts that provide insight into the history of printing and the history of Massachusetts from its earliest days. Contact James David Moran, Director of Outreach, for more registration information and click here for directions.
4. Crafts at Snow Farm in Williamsburg, MA
But what if you’re a history buff who values the storied New England traditions of glass bead making, stained glass or wax sculptures? The New England Craft Program offers studio art class workshops for teens and adults from January through October at the historic Snow Farm. Built in the 1700s and brimming with state-of-the-art equipment, this historically rich Berkshires location will inspire you to tap into your creative side, with more than 200 art classes available, including ceramics and jewelry, to name just two. Click through any of the course links to register online or call The New England Craft Program at (413) 286-3101 to learn more.
Wire working

Photo: Wire working at The New England Craft Program via Facebook

5. Weekend Animal Tracking Workshop
If you fancy yourself the intrepid, outdoors type, head over to the Pioneer Valley for a weekend of animal tracking. Adventure In, Adventure Out is hosting this event starting in February, and it’s sure to be a good time for all who have an interest in wildlife, ecology, and the great outdoors! Adults and children ages 10 and older will learn the basics of animal tracking and the role that science plays in strategically locating moose, bobcats, coyote, porcupine, and a whole world of wildlife. Contact Adventure In, Adventure Out for more details on pricing.
These are just a few of the amazing learning adventures available to you here in Massachusetts. To discover even more activities, visit our Learning Adventures page.
And for more winter entertainment ideas in Massachusetts, just click here.
Photo at the top courtesy of Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program via Facebook.