Mary Poppins might not be available to entertain the kiddos during the Christmas season, but fortunately there's plenty to keep families busy around the holidays on Cape Cod! Get some fresh air, check out special museum exhibits, or get a taste of summer in winter.
Here are our best bets for making the most of your holiday school break on Cape Cod:
1. The Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee is a welcome 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 (and tire them out), as will special vacation week programming like tinkering around in the museum's STEM room and arts & crafts.
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 hotel’s Enchanted Village, a festive experience featuring thousands of twinkling lights, animated Christmas displays, and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Be sure to check out the Cape Codder's great family getaway packages, some of which include on-site dining and spa services.
3. Pirates rule at the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth. The interactive history museum features artifacts and treasures from the Whydah, a pirate vessel shipwrecked along the coast of Wellfleet in 1717 in a nor'easter, and then discovered in 1984. Guests can get an up-close look at a life-size replica of the vessel, along with such preserved artifacts as pistols and cannons and the world’s only authenticated pirate treasure.
4. In Brewster, break week at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History includes a rainforest reptiles show and an up-close look at some local wildlife. Afterwards, take in the scenic winter beauty along the museum's outdoor trails.
5. Hit the ice at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center for public skating and “Stroller Skating,” if your little one’s on wheels. At Tony Kent Arena in Dennis, you can take to the skates with your kids or stay warm over a slice or calzone from the full-menu snack bar.
6. The Cape Cod Theatre Company - home of Harwich Junior Theatre Company – will keep the whole family entertained with an award-winning holiday musical adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, running through January 2.
7. Kick your movie-going experience up a notch at Falmouth Cinema Pub, where you can enjoy lunch or dinner while catching a flick. First-run films are shown, and the pub menu includes everything from pizza and burgers to wings and ice cream sundaes (added bonus: parents can opt for wine and beer too, which is also on the menu).
8. When it's just too cold for the playground (of which Cape Cod has many!), get the kids moving with some bowling at Lanes Bowl & Bistro in Mashpee Commons or Ten Pin Eatery in Hyannis; some tasty apps from their casual bistro menus will help fuel your skills. Ten Pin, located in the Cape Cod Mall, rounds out the fun with laser tag, virtual reality games, an arcade and escape rooms.
9. A beloved holiday tradition on the Cape is a scavenger hunt of sorts, and it involves searching out the lighted Giants that appear throughout Sandwich (and a few other Cape towns), along scenic backroads and bustling Route 6A. These gargantuan twinkling figures, created by local artist Michael Magyar, adorn the front lawn of local businesses and public buildings; they include everything from an illuminated firefighter in front of the Sandwich Fire Station to a red-coated colonial man outside Titcomb's Book Shop. Over 70 of these sculptures are on display through New Year's, so pack the kids in the car, grab some cocoa and make a night out of spotting them all!