40 Ways to Expose Your Kids to Culture in the Berkshires

By Berkshires Macaroni Kid July 26, 2023
  1. Arrowhead Farm, Pittsfield
    Enjoy a house tour of the restored home of famed Moby Dick author Herman Melville (Admission Fee) or opt for a self-guided tour of the grounds (Free), including Arrowhead’s Nature Trails, historic barn, and the recreated gardens of the Melville family farm. Located at 780 Holmes Rd. 
  2. Ashley House, Sheffield
    Discover the story of the Colonel John Ashley family and the African Americans enslaved on their property during the 18th Century. The house sits adjacent to Bartholomew’s Cobble and is an anchor site for the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Trail. Visit Ashley House for a day of history and hiking on the surrounding scenic trails traveled by Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman, the brave young woman who claimed her liberty and helped to end legalized slavery in Massachusetts when she sued Col. Ashley in 1781 and won her freedom. (Located on Cooper Hill Rd.)
  3. Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield
    With a focus on bringing more young people to the theatre, Barrington Stage is a community jewel, offering educational programs, playwright mentoring and the “KidsAct” summer program.
  4. Becket Arts Center, Becket
    A small-town community art center, with big-time creativity and imagination, offering exhibits, performances, community events, and summer youth programs Located just off of Route 8 at 7 Brooker Hill Road. 
  5. Berkshire Botanical Gardens, Stockbridge
    Families can explore 26 display areas, including perennial borders, mixed borders of thousands of annuals, a rock garden, rose garden, pond garden, children’s garden and more! Check out the garden website for information gardening seminars, family workshops, children's’ camps, plant sales, cocktails in the garden, the Harvest Festival and more.
  6. Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield
    You will have to tear your kids away from the Spark Creativity Lab if you want to see all the museum has to offer — the Hall of Innovation (with kid-friendly craft area), Aquarium, theater, rotating exhibits, and natural history and art installations. Stop in to learn more about WeeMuse early childhood programs, science and pajama nights, summer camps, free family programs and more! Annual family memberships start at just $75.
  7. Berkshire Music School, Pittsfield
    Fostering the love and pursuit of music for all ages, Berkshire Music School is open for 60 hours per week for lessons and coaching. Located at 30 Wendall Ave., the school offers private or group lessons, classes and workshops, and boasts an over 90% retention rate.
  8. Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, Lenox
    A museum dedicated to the history of railroading in the Berkshire Hills. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays only, 9 – 4, May through October. 10 Willow Creek Road. 
  9. Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stockbridge
    Residing at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Stockbridge campus, BTF presents performing arts at both The Fitzpatrick Main Stage and The Unicorn Theatre. Visit their site to learn more about Childrens’ Theatre, camps, apprenticeships, and internships.
  10. Bidwell House, Monterey
    A 1750’s parsonage, authentically restored to tell the story of the earliest Berkshire settlers. Surrounded by terraced gardens, historic landmarks and 192 acres of hiking trails. Museum open seasonally, grounds open daily.
  11. Chesterwood, Stockbridge
    Boasting gorgeous views, the former home of Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French, is a treasure trove of history and art. Tour French’s former studio and let the kids explore the sculpture garden. 4 Williamsville Road.
  12. Clark Art Institute, Williamstown
    Home to one of the most extraordinary art collections in the world, set in an extraordinarily beautiful, environmentally sustainable 140-acre rural setting, The Clark should sit at the very top of every Berkshire family’s “To Do” list. Explore the galleries or search for geocached “treasures” hidden alongside campus hiking trails. The parking area behind the Lunder Center is perfect for families looking to explore the Woodland and Meadow Trails (also the perfect spot for some winter sledding or snowshoeing). There are bathrooms just inside the Lunder Center and a cafe with outdoor seating and incredible views of the entire campus. Kids under 18 and students with an ID are free. The campus is located at 225 South Street. 
  13. Colonial TheatrePittsfield
    The architectural elegance of this theater alone, is worth the price of a ticket. We recommend a holiday visit, for the Albany Berkshire Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker”, when downtown Pittsfield is all lit up and the Festival of Trees is on display a few yards away, at The Berkshire Museum. (Theatre located at 111 South St.) 
  14. Crane Museum of Papermaking, Dalton
    Discover the secrets of papermaking at the oldest paper company in the country. Explore Crane’s Old Stone Mill and Vat House and learn how the paper for the United State’s currency is made. Follow the signs to the museum on West Housatonic Street.
  15. Daniel Art Center, Great Barrington
    A regional cultural destination located on the Simon’s Rock campus at 84 Alford Rd., with three theaters, a visual arts wing and campus studios featuring the art of young, upcoming artists.
  16. Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio, Lenox
    Take a walking tour of the 46-acre estate (92 Hawthorne St) housing the vast contemporary collection and famed abstract works of Suzy Frelinghuysen and George L. K. Morris.
  17. Guthrie Center, Housatonic
    “Alice didn’t live in a restaurant. She lived in the church nearby the restaurant…” Stop by the Old Trinity Church on 2 Van Deusenville Rd, to see where Alice’s Restaurant came into being. Afterward, head into the Village of Housatonic for a bite to eat at Pleasant and Main or the Housie Market Café, and check out the playground behind the Housatonic Community Center.
  18. Hancock Shaker Village, Hancock
    Spend a day exploring this 750-acre living-history museum, including twenty historically authentic buildings, heirloom gardens, livestock barn and pastures and 1-mile “Farm & Forest Trail”. In the Discovery Room, kids can learn about farming, dress like a Shaker, make a craft to bring home, and even try their hand at milking a cow (replica). The baby animals in the spring are a guaranteed hit for kids of all ages.
    Hancock Shaker Village
  19. IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, Stockbridge
    Kids of all skill levels can and get their hands dirty in a workshop or studio art class at the IS183 Art School, located at13 Willard Hill Rd.
  20. Jacob's Pillow, Becket
    Catch a free Inside/Out performance, every Wednesday through Saturday at 6:15 pm, where you are welcome to grab a seat or bring a chair or picnic blanket from home (food and drink are welcome in the performance area). The stunning setting and relaxed family-friendly feel will have you returning to the Pillow again and again for both free and ticketed performances. (358 George Carter Road) 
  21. Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington
    On 14 Castle Street (just across from the Giggle Park playground), families can see a full-scale production, take in a concert or screen a movie at the historic Mahaiwe theater. Their year-round calendar is filled with kid-friendly and educational events.
  22. MASS MoCA, North Adams
    Whether you choose to attend the annual Kids Can Too Concert, brave the Bang on a Can six-hour Music Marathon (with plenty of breaks in between) or pop in the museum for pop-up gallery recitals, these events are a great way to introduce kids of all ages to a variety of musical styles, and to the museum itself. In the Kidspace kids and family members can explore the gallery, take part in ongoing arts and crafts activities and more. 
  23. Mission House, Stockbridge
    In 1926 an unassuming little Colonial house (built in 1742) was moved from Prospect Hill to the corner of Main and Sergeant Streets, in Stockbridge. The National Historic Landmark was once the home of Reverend John Sergeant, the first missionary to the Mohican Indians, and it now showcases a remarkable collection of early American furniture and art and home to a small Native American Museum. Kids are free! Make it a day of learning and play, by combining your visit to the Mission House with a stop at the Stockbridge Town Playground.
  24. The Mount, Lenox
    Though it may feel like your children have outgrown “The Age of Innocence,” a visit to the historic home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton will restore the entire family with an extra-large dose of art, beauty, and culture. Take in music on the terrace, tour the main house and outbuildings, picnic in the gardens or register for an educational program. Located at 2 Plunkett Street.
  25. Museum of History and Science, North Adams
    Your kids will love playing astronauts, train conductors or soldiers at the Museum of History and Science in Building 5A at the Western Gateway Heritage State Park on State Street. Open Thursday through Sunday, May through October.
  26. Naumkeag, Stockbridge
    Step back in time and experience life in the Gilded Age. Explore the 44-room Choate family “cottage” and Naumkeag gardens, including the famed Blue Steps, Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, Rose Garden, Evergreen Garden, and Chinese Garden. Located at 5 Prospect Hill, open daily from May 24 – October 15. A grab-and-go cafe, catered by the Red Lion Inn is now open on the property.
    “Four Sporting Boys: Basketball” (Norman Rockwell Museum)
  27. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge
    Whether it’s a Family Day event or just an average day, the Norman Rockwell provides plenty of family fun inside and out. From art-making activities and kid-friendly exhibits and workshops to outdoor exploring and the viewing Rockwell classics, there are never a lack of things to do with kids at this Stockbridge museum. Located at 9 Route 183.
  28. Dalton School of Art and Creativity, Dalton
     A community art studio that will offer a variety of art courses and creativity gatherings for children, teens and adults in Stationery Factory at 63 Flansburg Ave.
  29. Shakespeare & Company, Lenox
    One of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country and home to an award-winning theatre-in-education program, Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street. The campus features a variety of theater opportunities to delight family members of all ages, including the kid-friendly, summer theater offered on the outdoor Rose-Footprint Stage and the “Riotous Youth” educational program for students.
  30. Spectrum Playhouse, Lee
    Home to family-friendly theater productions and its monthly Family First Series, the Spectrum is a great low-cost way to introduce children to theater.. 20 Franklin St.
  31. Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, Adams
    Visit the preserved birthplace of the great social reformer Susan B. Anthony, a pioneering feminist and suffragist and noteworthy abolitionist. Summer internships are available for older kids! Located on 67 East Rd. in Adams.
  32. Tanglewood, Lenox
    Family Fun Fest 2019 is Aug. 2! Featuring an afternoon of free performances and family-friendly activities presented by cultural organizations from around Berkshire County. Guests are invited to stay for the evening BSO performance.
  33. Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail, South Berkshires
    A mapping of 48 sites, throughout 29 Massachusetts and Connecticut towns, celebrating local African Americans who played roles in shaping our nation’s history.
  34. Ventfort Hall, Lenox
    This 28-room Jacobean Revival-style mansion sits on 11.7 acres at 104 Walker Street in downtown Lenox. Pre-restoration, the exterior of Ventfort Hall, grand staircase and Great Hall have staged as the St. Cloud Orphanage in “The Cider House Rules” (the 1999 Academy Award-winning film starring Tobey McGuire and Charlize Theron). The first floor and portions of the upper levels of the property have since been fully restored, and are now open to the public for guided tours, “Tea & Talks”, school trips, concerts, performances and year-round special events.
  1. Wahconah Park, Pittsfield
    Visit a historic baseball field in downtown Pittsfield! Wahconah Park is one of the country’s only remaining ballparks with a wooden grandstand — the 4,500-seat home of the local Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) team, the Pittsfield Suns, featuring some of the top Division 1 players in the country. Catch a game on a sunny summer evening and see how the Suns got their name when the west facing home plate creates one of baseball’s most unusual events — a 20-minute sun delay!
  2. WAM Theatre, West Stockbridge
    Take in a show or attend a special event at this special little theatre with the extraordinary mission of turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide!
  3. W.E.B. Du Bois Center, Great Barrington
    Abutting the Du Bois Center at 684 South Main Street is the Mahaiwe Cemetery, where the wife, daughter and son of W.E.B. Du Bois are interred. The Center is dedicated to exploring the African American experience and issues regarding social justice. Through programs, exhibits and events, visitors to the De Bois Center can learn about the early life and Great Barrington public school education of the Civil Rights leader, prolific author and recipient of Harvard’s first African American Doctoral graduate. 
  4. Williams College Hopkins Observatory | Milhelm Planetarium, Williamstown
    The Hopkins Observatory is the oldest existing observatory in the United States and the Milhelm Planetarium is quite possibly the nation’s first planetarium. Today, it is where families and students can attend free planetarium shows and experience astrological phenomena firsthand. The side rooms of the planetarium are also home to the Mehlin Museum of Astronomy. (stay tuned for the summer planetarium schedule)
  5. Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown
    Each summer, many of the world’s finest actors, artists, writers and directors descend on the Berkshires to treat locals and visitors to an undeniably unique theater-going experience. Stop by the box office at 1000 Main Street or visit the website for the complete season schedule and for more info on Free Theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, readings, hands-on family workshops and educational programs.
  6. William Cullen Bryant Homestead, Cummington
    The home of one of America’s most celebrated poets sits atop a hill overlooking the Westfield River Valley, just a few miles east of the Berkshires. Read your kids Bryant’s famous poem “The Rivulet” and head to this National Historic Landmark to explore the landscape that inspired the poem. Tour the home (access varies), the barn, and the 2.5 miles of surrounding trails year round. Plan your visit during the sugaring season and stop for pancakes at one of the many nearby Hilltown sugar shacks.


BEST DEAL IN THE BERKSHIRES: The annual $125 “Sustainer” Member pass (good for year-round admission for two adults and up to four children) is available at the Berkshire Museum and includes free admission to the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, The Mount, Hancock Shaker Village, Berkshire Botanical Garden, Norman Rockwell Museum, The Clark Art Institute and hundreds of other cultural institutions around the country!!