Can you say L-I-B-R-A-R-Y? No, not liberry.

Post submitted by Tara, Ziptivity’s Metro Boston Community Ambassador

This April Vacation Week, I have one word for you: LIBRARIES. All over the Metro Boston area, local libraries are a treasure trove of vacation week activities, whether it’s learning about penguins, making crafts, playing games, taking in a show, seeing real live baby farm animals, or visiting with Curious George.

This is very good news if you’re a stay-at-home parent and camp isn’t in the budget, or if you took the week off to spend time with your kids, but you’re not sure what to do with them! The programs also provide great enrichment opportunities for homeschooling families. Check out my ZipPicks for terrific library programs in the Metro Boston area this coming week. (The libraries are closed on Monday, of course – so take the kids to a park for some good ol’ fresh air and sunshine.)  On Thursday, April 21st at 2:00pm, I recommend joining the Creature Teachers  at the Belmont Public Library for their “Animals Around the World “program (in the Assembly Room, on the library’s lower floor).

Creature Teachers is a family-owned business, and their passion is environmental and animal education. In this program, they will take you and your kids on a trip around the world to explore the diverse habitats of our planet and the animals that live within them. After the program, take a walk down the hall to check out the Children’s Room, pausing for a moment to marvel at the “Books in Bloom” mural on the way.

The Children’s Room is a great place for little kids and bigger ones alike. There are activity tables, cushy benches, computers and lots of books, of course. Best of all, the librarians are really nice and nobody tells you to “Shush!” There are bathrooms for the kids inside the Children’s Room and ones for adults just outside in the hall. Also in the hallway, near the Assembly Room, there is a magazine exchange. Bring a few to leave, and take a few that are new to you!

When your kids have had their fill of the world’s exotic animals and books, take a walk through the garden just off the library parking lot. While the kids jump from one stepping stone to another, you can sit on a bench and relaaax. If the kids still have energy to burn, walk along Concord Ave to the other side of the library. Beyond the (currently closed) pool is the Underwood Playground, where your little bundles of energy can slide, sail a ship, swing, climb, and generally shake their sillies out.

For a lovely nature walk, head to the right on Concord Ave (toward Cambridge) for about a quarter of a mile. In front of Belmont High School, you will find Clay Pit Pond, surrounded by trees and teeming with interesting plant and animal life.

Your family will be famished after all that fresh air and exercise, of course. So I sugges you visit Belmont Center for pizza at Stone Hearth (they have gluten-free, yippee!) and ice cream at Rancatore’s. For shopping your kids can get on board with, go into Belmont Toys. It may be difficult to drag them out of there, but the promise of a trip to A Chocolate Dream across the street should do the trick. It’s a terrific place for gifts too, especially if the recipient has a serious sweet tooth.

Getting there:

You can take the Commuter Rail to Belmont Center. The Belmont Public Library is just a short walk from there, down Concord Avenue, past Powers Music School.

If you are driving and you’re planning to spend some time in the area, it may be easiest to park in the lot at Belmont Center, and just pay for the day. The library parking fills up very quickly.

Alternatively, Bus 74/75 from Harvard Square goes to Belmont Center, with stops near Clay Pit Pond, the Underwood Playground, and the Belmont Public Library. For the 75 schedule, click here. For the 74 schedule, click here.

Whether you go by train, car or bus, many adventures await you in the “Town of Homes” – so take the kids and have some fun!

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