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Magic, Science, Dinos Among Distractions During February School Vacation

Dinosaurs rule this February vacation. See what else is happening around the state to keep your kids busy on their time off.

>> The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven presents Dinosaur Days Saturday to Tuesday, Feb. 13 to 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m.). The annual celebration of paleontology and dinosaurs features hands-on activities, including a fossil dig and an extensive fossil touch table. Paleontology graduate students and professionals share their research. Museum admission required: $13 adults, $9 senior citizens 65 years and over; and $6 ages 3 through 18 and college students with ID. Admission is free for children under the age of 3, Peabody museum members, and individuals with a Yale ID. Information: peabody.yale.edu.

>> The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford offers February Vacation Exploration Camp 2016 with sessions available Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 15 and 16. Campers in grades 1 through 6 will experience hands-on science enrichment. Camps include structured activities with STEM educators, as well as supervised free time to explore the Science Center's galleries and exhibits, including the new Leonardo Da Vinci "Machines in Motion" (more info at ctnow.com/machinesinmotion). Registration required. For cost and information: ctsciencecenter.org/programs/camps/.

>> WinterFest at Old Sturbridge Village kicks off on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13 and 14, with a Chocolate and Valentine's Weekend. Guests will learn about the history of chocolate, from bean to beverage. Costumed historians will demonstrate chocolate processing by hand. Children can make a Valentine-inspired craft, and visitors of all ages can "meet" Esther Howland, the local woman responsible for the popularity of sending Valentines in the United States.

On Sunday, Feb, 14, dancers will teach guests dances from a Washington Birthday Ball. Beforehand, historians will discuss 19th-century hairdressing; etiquette for the ball; and 1830s' ball accessories. Visitors can learn various dances of the time, including contra dances and cotillions. Everyone named "George" or "Martha" receives free admission to the village on Presidents' Day, Monday, Feb. 15. OSV is open daily Feb. 13 to 21, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. $28; seniors $26; children 3-17, $14; children under 3, free. All programs are subject to change. osv.org 800-SEE-1830.

>> The New Children's Museum's interactive exhibit, "Now Eye See It: A World of Seen and Unseen Colors," opens Saturday, Feb. 13. The exhibit will feature approximately 30 educational stations including color mixing activities, a colorized shadow wall and light activated mural, color blind tests, three-dimensional anaglyph pictures, technologies that illustrate the world in the visible and invisible wavelengths of light and more. The museum also will host a series of color-based public programs for families during select school vacation days in February and April. The museum hosts a vacation science camp for children in grades 1through 5, Monday and Tuesday, Feb, 15 and 16. Advance registration is required, events@thechildrensmuseumct.org or 860.231.2830, Ext. 44. The museum is at 950 Trout Brook Drive, West Hartford. TheChildrensMuseumCT.org.

>> Wood Memorial Library, the South Windsor Recreation Department and South Windsor Community Women's Club present the annual Ann Masi Memorial children's program "Magic and Beyond" with David Garrity, Thursday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. at Timothy Edwards Middle School, South Windsor. The one-man illusion show features professional, unique, theatrical and visual magic, with audience participation, comedy and more. Admission is free; donations to the Ann Masi Memorial Fund are welcome. Information: 860-289-1783.

>> Family Day with Arts for Learning Connecticut is Monday, Feb. 15, noon to 3 p.m., at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Artists and performers provide activities and demonstrations throughout the museum, including art-making, photography and drama. Included with admission: $10 Tto $15; children under 12 are free. nbmaa.org.

>> The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks hosts school vacation week programs from Feb. 15 to 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including hands-on Build and Fly Challenges, open cockpit experiences aboard real aircraft, aircraft quests and more. Admission is $12.50 for age 12 older; $7 ages 4 to 11; and children age 3 and under are free. Seniors (age 65 and up) pay $11.50. neam.org

>The 10th annual Winter Farm Tour at Graywall Farms, 49 Chappell Road, in Lebanon on Monday, Feb. 15, includes a tour the milking parlour and samples of the Farmer's Cow hot coffee, fresh milk, chocolate milk, ice cream and more. If there's enough snow, there'll be be horse-drawn sleigh rides, too. Hours are 1 to 3 p.m. Free. Information: thefarmerscow.com.

>> Kids can make a hand-dipped paraffin candle Monday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Windsor Historical Society. Snow date is Feb. 16. While there, check out the Hands-On-History Learning Center, where children can try on reproduction colonial clothing, try out a child-size rope bed, or "milk" Flavia the cow. Also on view is "Layers of Home," an exhibition of artworks created by Windsor High School students inspired by Windsor's historic architecture. $12 per family; or $6 per adult, $5 for seniors, $4 for children, and $3 for members. A parent or guardian must accompany children. Information: 860-688-3813 and windsorhistoricalsociety.org.

>> Common Ground, 358 Springside Ave., New Haven, offers winter adventures on the farm and in the forest on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (with optional extended day from 2 to 4 p.m.). One activity session is offered in the morning, then lunch (children bring their own), then another activity after lunch. Children who are staying for extended day will have snack time (bring your own) and then they have open recreation time. Extended day activities include games, art, and outside playtime. Activities can include snow play, winter animal tracking and cooking with food from the farm. $35 per day; $15 per day for extended day. Information: 203-389-4333, Ext. 1213.

>> The JCC of Greater New Haven in Woodbridge is offering programs Monday to Friday, Feb. 15 to 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those in grades K through 8. The days include an animal show by Critter Caravan, an inflatable obstacle, a make your own bouncy ball workshop, film viewing of your favorite Minion flick and the Great Race, a create your own race-car demonstration. Cost is $47 per day for After School/Kids Klub members, $57 for JCC members or $67 for the general public. Register at jccnh.org/after-out-of-school and at 203-387-2522, Ext. 236.

>> The Institute for American Indian Studies, 38 Curtis Road, Washington, is offering a Kids Day: Building Gourd Birdhouses on Tuesday, Feb. 16, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. $15 kids; $8 adults museum admission. Registration and prepayment required: 860 868-0518, Ext. 103.

>> Colchester Community Theatre presents Disney's "The Little Mermaid" Friday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 13 at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. at Bacon Academy High School Auditorium, 611 Norwich Ave., Colchester. $15 adults and $12 seniors and children age 12 and under. Preferred seating tickets are $25. Tickets: 860-707-4488.

>> The Westport Historical Society will offer an historical trip back in time during February vacation at the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, across from Town hall, from Tuesday to Thursday, Feb. 16 through 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for kids ages 6 through 12. $150 members, $175 non members. Reservations are required: 203- 222 -1424, westporthistory.org.

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