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Springfield Museums announce school break activities

Date: 4/10/2014

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Museums have announced their lineup of performances and activities for the upcoming school vacation week, April 21 to 25.

This year’s Puppet Festival will feature 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.

This year’s festivities get off to an early start on April 18 with a performance by Wayne Martin’s Puppets at 1 p.m., plus a full day of activities. Then the fun gets into full swing on April 21 with family-friendly puppet shows daily in the Davis Auditorium of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Art. Scheduled performances include:

• April 21 at 1 p.m. – Puppet Showplace Theatre presents Robin Hood. A rollicking retelling of the classic tale of a bandit who takes on the local authorities represented by an evil sheriff.

• April 22 at 1 p.m. – VT PuppeTree performs Swimmy and The Swimmer. Based on the picture book by Leo Lionni, this original shadow puppet show tells the story of the sole survivor of a school of fish swal­lowed by a tuna, and includes an important environmental message. (Limited to 100 audience members.)

• April 23 at 1 p.m. – National Marionette Theatre presents Beauty and the Beast. The classic story of prince changed into a hideous beast, with love the only means of reversing the spell.

• April 24 at 1 p.m. – No Strings Marionette Theatre performs Bully! For the 3 Wee Big Pigs. Pablo Pigcasso, Beverly Swills and I. M. Pig endure the pushy antics of the Big Bad Wolf and learn how to deal with bullying behavior.

• April 25 at 1 p.m. – Crabgrass Puppets presents Jack & the Beanstalk. The tallest of all tales, complete with stunning scenery, beautiful puppets, a rhyme-spouting giant, a growing beanstalk and a delightful musical score.

There’s more puppet fun on Wednesday and Friday, with a menagerie of strolling puppets throughout the museum galleries by Caravan Puppets (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day). The week also includes a full slate of family activities, including live reptile demonstrations on Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Science Museum’s Live Animal Center; and the Watershed on Wheels (WoW) Express, the Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge’s traveling conservation exhibit, Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Rounding out the week’s activities will be the following daily events (Monday to Friday only):

• Seymour Planetarium Shows at 11:15 a.m., noon, 1 and 2 p.m., Science Museum;

• Art Activities, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., GWVS Studios or Science Workshop;

• Gallery Science Demonstrations 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Science Museum;

• Art Discovery Center, noon to 4 p.m., GWVS Art Museum.

The Museums’ vacation week activities are sponsored by The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $8 for children 3 to 17, and free for children younger than 3 and museum members. General admission is free for Springfield residents with proof of address.

Hours during school vacation week are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.