Fun on February Vacation in Rhode Island

Like winter? Visit Yawgoo for tubing, Wachusett for skiing, RI Country Club in Barrington for sledding, or Alex & Ani City Center for skating

I asked Rhode Island Au Pairs and Host Families what they're doing for fun over February vacation and here is what they said: indoor stuff! While we have had a somewhat mild winter this year, compared to last year's record snowfall, many people are tired of the cold, the snow and the ice. As proof, our next social event will be the Flower & Garden Show in Providence next weekend. Although Mother Nature is giving us a little bit of a break, Spring is still weeks away! Until then, here are the locals' favorite places to hang out indoors.

First, decide whether you're looking for an adult-only or family-friendly activity. Bowling can be both! Bowling with the smallest-sized bowling balls (known as duckpin bowling) is perfect at Dudek Bowling in Warren (also great for birthday parties) or the Bowling Academy in nearby East Providence. The small ball bowling is easier for little hands, but keep in mind a bowling alley can be loud and over-stimulating for some children and babies. If you want to try to big ball bowling (known as ten-pin and candle-pin bowling, originating in Worcester, MA), East Providence Lanes is the place to go! They also have billiards tables and video/arcade games, plus a sports pub (serving ice cold beer) and snack bar!

If you're downtown Providence, maybe you'd rather head to Providence Place Mall's Dave & Buster's, a favorite of my ten year old son since we went there on a field trip in Kindergarten. They are super family-friendly, serve all-American fare, and have video games galore and massive HD TVs to watch your favorite sporting events. Similar to a bowling alley, this place can get loud.

Before or after lunch, you should definitely let the kids burn off some energy at the Providence Children's Museum, a favorite of each of my children, particularly the water room (we do that room LAST)!  This Friday, February 19th, the museum is open late and for free! Yes, each month, admission is free from 5-8pm on MetLife Family Friday; this week, kids will have the opportunity to use telescopes and view the moon and night sky along with some astronomers from Brown University Science Outreach. The other exhibits at the museum are all hands-on and demonstrate the history of our state starting with the Pilgrims.

Get Fired Up is a great place to relax and paint, with or without the kids, for those artsey families. Located in Pawcatuck, CT on the RI line, this is the perfect creative stop to get you through a long, dull winter. They also do parties, or just a girls' night out, and you can BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage); prices range from $2-80 per piece with no studio fees. They are very kid-friendly and all the materials wash out easily and are safe and non-toxic to kids.

For painting of a different kind, and definitely not as kid-friendly (age 17 and under need waiver signed by parent or guardian), head over to Providence Indoor Paintball or, if it's decent weather, Rhode Island Paintball & Airsoft in Warwick, home of the area's only turfed, outdoor field and 28-acre playing field. Truthfully, I have not done this, but lots of people have told me it's fun. I will leave it to the younger folks who might enjoy this activity.

Finally, vacation week is not complete without seeing some animals! If you've already been to Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence (or are planning to attend with us on April 9th), spend a day at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT. Like the zoo, the aquarium has special vacation week programs. If you're like many Rhode-Islanders, including me, it's been a while since your last visit and time to head west for some aquatic fun. Your RWPZ membership card will get you $2 off aquarium admission, too, which is free for under age two. Parking at both venues is always free!

Please have fun and be safe, no matter the activity! I would like to thank my contributing Host Families and Au Pairs: the Brickle family, the Kamphorst-Cale family, the Gordon family, the Giramma family and Au Pairs Maryke from South Africa, Gloria from Colombia, and Franco from Ecuador. Without you, my readers would be stuck with my lame ideas! Let's hope our new Au Pairs and Host Families explore the Ocean State together as part of their cultural childcare experience with Go Au Pair.

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