10 Kid-Approved Activities for Christmas Break on Cape Cod
Mary Poppins might not be available to entertain the kiddos during Christmas break, but fortunately Cape Cod is full of activities for both parents and kids regardless of the weather. Get some fresh air, opt for special exhibits at museums, or get a taste of summer right on the Cape in the middle of winter.
Here are our 10 best bets for making the most of your Christmas break on Cape Cod!
1. The Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee is a reprieve from snow and rain, where kids can do all the exploring they want in the great indoors. Interactive exhibits like a fishing vessel, farmers' market, music room and pirate ship will keep kids busy, as will special vacation week programming like tinkering around in the newly revamped STEM room and sing-a-longs in the castle area.
2. A stay at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis is like summer in a bottle – awaiting you is a 30,000 square foot indoor water park, complete with high-speed water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river and a pirate-themed kiddie splash zone. Families will also love to stroll through the the hotel’s Enchanted Village, admiring the thousands of festive lights, holiday displays and old-fashioned Christmas charm adorning the property. Be sure to check out the Cape Codder's great family and holiday getaway packages, some of which include on-site dining and spa services (and for those that really want to splurge, book the luxury fireplace suites with oversized whirlpool.)
3. Pirates rule at the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth. The interactive history museum features artifacts and treasures from the Whydah, a slave ship overtaken in the Caribbean and later turned into a pirate ship. It shipwrecked along the coast of Wellfleet in 1717 in a nor'easter, and was salvaged in 1984. Guests can get an up-close look at a life-size replica of the vessel and such preserved artifacts as pistols and cannons, along with the world’s only authenticated pirate treasure.
4. In season, the grounds at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich are carpeted with seasonal flowers, shrubs and magnificent trees. In winter, the space transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with 12 miles of twinkling lights, a reindeer scavenger hunt, model trains, carousel rides and a giant free-for-all LiteBrite that takes up an entire wall. Marshmallow roasting over open firepits will keep cold fingers warm during frosty nights, as will the snacks and hot drinks at the on-site café.
5. A big tub of popcorn and a movie on the big screen will surely cure any winter (or post-holiday) blues. With first-run movies showing daily and a large menu catering to both kids and adults (even wine/beer for the parents), the Falmouth Cinema Pub is the perfect afternoon escape when Cape Cod skies turn gray.
6. When it's just too cold for the playground, get the kids moving with a game of ten pin or candle pin bowling at Ryan Family Amusements. The amusement centers, with locations across Cape Cod, also offer game rooms and video arcades. The Lanes Bowl & Bistro in Mashpee Commons and Ten Pin Eatery in Hyannis are also great places to go bowling; some tasty apps from their casual bistro menus will help fuel your skills.
7. Get the whole family into the holiday spirt with a local production of "Madeline's Christmas" at the Cape Cod Theatre Co. in Harwich. The family-friendly venue offers evening and matinee shows through December 30th, with special showtimes during school break week.
8. From archeological exhibits to natural history artifacts, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster is the best bet for nature lovers and curious kids housebound by inclement weather. School week fun kicks off on Saturday, December 22 with the imaginative and innovative "Wicked Awesome Balloon Show", which promises a winter wonderland of balloon goodness.
9. Swimming may be over for the season, but there's plenty of aquatic adventures to be had at the Woods Hole Aquarium. Step inside and explore 140 species of marine animals from the Northeast and Middle Atlantic waters. Visitors can even interact with the animals in touch tanks, where you gently touch marine animals such as horseshoe crabs, lobsters and whelks. While the exhibits are open year-round, the aquarium is normally closed on Sundays and Mondays.
10. Take the whole family to ring in the new year at First Night celebrations in towns across the Cape. In Chatham, the celebration starts early in the afternoon and runs until the wee hours, culminating with fireworks over Oyster Pond at midnight. It’s a family-friendly, alcohol free celebration featuring more than 70 performances and events in dozens of locations. Sandwich's First Night party, from 4 to 9 p.m., includes live performances in venues around town, ice sculpture displays, food vendors, a Revelers Parade of Giants and a grand finale countdown with fireworks. Provincetown comes alive starting on December 28th and keeps the party going through January 2nd, with such family-friendly activities as ice skating, the Light Bright Bike Ride, the annual Polar Bear Plunge, and New Year’s Day fireworks on the beach.