Take a Walk after the Turkey
November 21, 2012

After all the food, football games, and family, it may feel like your house’s walls are closing in on you. Take yourself and your stir-crazy kids—and the relatives, too!—outside and get some fresh air.

Start here: Gore Place in Waltham, a place I consider a hidden gem, offers a perfect activity for kids, their “Take a Walk” backpack. For $5, kids can borrow a backpack that contains binoculars, a magnifying glass, and activities appropriate for children ages 3 to 8.

Just what exactly is Gore Place, you may be wondering.

This 48-acre property consists of a mansion, gardens, a barnyard, and extensive grounds. The mansion, a Federal period house built in 1806, was the estate of Massachusetts governor Christopher Gore, and is now a museum of sorts, open for tours. The fenced-in barnyard, home to sheep, goats, chickens, and dozens of rabbits, is always a hit with kids. The grounds offer plenty of space to run around and explore. Both the grounds and the barnyard are open dawn to dusk daily.

The backpack activities, which vary according to the season, have kids take a self-guided tour around the estate. If snow is on the ground, you can rent snowshoes for an additional $5. Backpacks with special themes, such as archaeology, raised garden beds, and architecture, are also available for elementary school-aged children (call in advance about these). The backpacks are generally available Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (though not on November 22 or 23) and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.

Several other events are scheduled at the property over the course of the year, including a sheep-shearing festival, Santa’s tea, full-moon house tours, and preschool story hours, so this is definitely a place to keep on your radar.

Another post-holiday option it to head to the Audubon Environmental Education Center in Bristol, Rhode Island, which is hosting activities for the whole family the day after Thanksgiving. Activities include crafts, owl presentation, a turkey trot walk, leaf printing, and  story time.

For a hike appropriate for older kids, the 6-mile Great, BIG "Walk it Off" Weekend Hike takes place at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport on Sunday, and is another great holiday weekend option. The sanctuary recommends wearing sturdy hiking shoes and bringing a pack with snacks, a water bottle, and binoculars. This Mass Audubon property attracts many raptors in all seasons including nesting ospreys and migrant bald eagles.

Do you have a favorite post-Thanksgiving hike? We’d love to hear about it!


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