Lowell, Massachusetts. —  In town for April break? Make Lowell’s April PLAYcation your destination for free family fun in our community! April PLAYcation is an annual festival of family activities that gets kids involved in the life of their city during April school vacation, April 15-23, 2017. Events are hosted by Lowell National Historical Park and several partner organizations and take place at locations throughout Lowell. All programs are free, but many require pre-registration – plan ahead and register early! The complete schedule of events will be available starting April 1 at www.lowellkidsweek.org.

PLAYcation offers over twenty free programs and builds connections among a diverse group of local organizations, agencies, and businesses in the city. Kids and families will enjoy an exciting variety of new programs, as well as many returning favorites. There’s something for everyone, from toddlers to teenagers.

April PLAYcation also coincides with National Park Week, an annual celebration of “America’s best idea”in more than 400 national park sites across the country. In addition to the PLAYcation programs, check out all the free family fun happening in Lowell during National Park Week:

  • Your City Saturday:  Saturday, April 15th. Lowell National Historical Park is kicking off April School PLAYCation week with a free, fun day exploring the Boott Cotton Mills Museum and the Tsongas Industrial History Center. Stop by the Center on the 3rd floor of the Boott Cotton Mills Museum (110 John Street) anytime from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This month’s Your City Saturday offers an afternoon of hands-on history! Think like an engineer in the design, build, and test challenge. Time travel and handle objects  immigrants brought with them to Lowell. Card, spin, and weave, and learn how cloth is made.
  •    Fee-free days at Boott Cotton Mills Museum: On April 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd (the weekends on either end of National Park Week), bring the family for a free visit to the museum and experience the sights and sounds of an operational 1920s era weaveroom, and the stories of Lowell’s mills and workers. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  •    Junior Ranger Day: Saturday, April 15th. Explore, Learn, Protect! Kids can take part in a museum scavenger hunt, earn a badge and certificate, and become a Lowell National Historical Park junior ranger. All day at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum (and through PLAYcation week, while supplies last).
  •    Celebrate Earth Day: PLAYcation includes arts workshops focused on crafts and activities to prepare for the Lowell Earth Day celebration on Sunday, April 23.  The celebration is sponsored by UMass Lowell and presented by the university and community partners. The celebration kicks off with a parade from the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center at 12 noon on Sunday, April 23. The parade will finish at UTEC Lowell (35 Warren Street) where the Earth Day Festival will take place from 12 noon to 3:30 p.m. For more on Lowell’s Earth Day, visit http://www.lowellearthday.org/.

Free parking is available at the Visitor Center lot at 304 Dutton Street. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum is a 10-15 minute walk from the Visitor Center lot. Paid parking is available one block from the museum with on-street metered parking, or the city parking garage at John and French Streets.

For more information on PLAYcation events and activities, visit www.lowellkidsweek.org/. To learn more about park offerings, the Junior Ranger program, the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, the Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit, ranger-led tours, and upcoming special events stop by the Visitor Center at 246 Market Street, contact Lowell National Historical Park at (978) 970-5000, or visit www.nps.gov/lowe .