The week kicks off with the annual Earth Day Festival, which takes place from 11 am– 4 pm (rain or shine) and is free and open to the public. A wide range of environmental advocacy groups will be on hand, including Center for EcoTechnology, Keep Springfield Beautiful, Springfield Water and Sewer, Clean Water Action, and Regreen Springfield, along with interactive displays from Springfield DPW, the Massachusetts Wildlife Angler Education Program, ECOS (Environmental Center for Our Schools), and United Water Environmental Services. There will also be bluegrass music from “The Boys of the Landfill” (11:30 am & 1 pm), giveaways of seedlings from the Springfield Forestry Division, and ice cream from Friendly’s Ice Cream (while supplies last).
Monday, April 20 marks the beginning of the Springfield Museums’ five-day Puppet Festival, featuring performances by some of the region’s finest puppet ensembles along with live animal demonstrations, interactive displays, planetarium shows, and hands-on art opportunities. All activities are free with museum admission unless noted. Performances to take place in the Davis Auditorium of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts include:
- Mon. 4/20 (11 am) – Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers performs Everybody Loves Pirates. Eight-year-old Lucy and her goofy pal Little Chucky are searching for buried treasure, but a gang of bumbling pirates keeps getting in the way!
- Tues. 4/21 (11 am) – Puppet Showplace Theatre presents Raccoon Tales by Artist-in-Residence Brad Shur. Featured are stories like How the Fox and the Raccoon Trick Each Other; Why the Blue Jay is Blue and the Gray Wolf Isn’t; and Why the Bear has a Stumpy Tail.
- Wed. 4/22 (2 pm) – Crabgrass Puppet Theatre presents African Adventure Tales. Two stories from Africa – Koi and the Kola Nuts and Anansi and the Talking Melon – brought to life through innovative puppetry, spectacular scenery, and infectious music.
- Thurs. 4/23 (11 am) – Bonnie Duncan performs Lollipops for Breakfast. Follow Sylvie and her trusty pet bird as they search for missing ingredients, wrestle with giant candy machines, and get lost in a magical pop-up cookbook, all with live music accompaniment.
- Fri. 4/24 (2 pm) – National Marionette Theatre presents Peter and the Wolf. The classic tale of how Peter, along with his animal friends, captures the wolf, set to Prokofiev’s memorable score and presented with stunning scenery and intricate handcrafted marionettes.
A full slate of family activities are also scheduled during the week, including live animal demonstrations on Tuesday and Thursday from 1-2 pm courtesy of Dave’s Soda and Pet City. Visitors can also check out the Science Museum’s emu egg incubator to see if we have any new arrivals.
Rounding out the week’s activities will be the following daily events (Monday – Friday only).
- Seymour Planetarium Shows at 11:15 am, noon, 1 & 2 pm
- Art Activities, 11 am-4 pm, Science Museum Workshop
- Gallery Science Demonstrations 11 am-2 pm, Science Museum
- Hasbro Games Art Discovery Center, 12-4 pm, GWVS Art Museum
All vacation week activities are sponsored by The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Sponsorship for Earth Day and April School Vacation week is provided by Eastman Chemical Company. Additional support for Earth Day is also provided by Astro Chemicals Inc., Friendly’s Ice Cream, GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc., and MASSPOWER.
Hours during school vacation week are Monday through Saturday, 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday, 11 am-5 pm.