By Kelly Bevan McIlquham
If it’s outdoor family fun you’re looking for, then you’ve come to the right place? The Berkshires is a haven for outdoor adventure — from family-friendly concerts at lakes, museums, libraries and more to family-friendly hikes throughout the region or bike along the scenic Ashuwillticook Trail in the afternoon and take in an outdoor movie at night.
If it’s music you’re seeking, Tanglewood is a must-see outdoor stop for any family. Kids 18 and under are always free (except for popular artists series and a few select concerts) and on Fridays families can enjoy free admission to Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearsals. Also, be sure to mark your calendars for the annual Tanglewood Family Concert set for Aug. 24, with activities beginning at 12:30 p.m. on the lawn and concert at 2 p.m. It’s only $10 for adults and free for kids under 18. While you’re in South County, you might want to check out the Great Barrington Bandstand’s free series of Friday night concerts, beginning at 5:30 p.m. each week, through Aug. 30, or sing a long with one of the Berkshire’s favorite family musicians, David Grover and Grover’s Gangs, each Saturday at 10 a.m. through Aug. 31.
If you’re heading north, family-friendly outdoor concerts abound. There’s Live on the Lake concerts at Onota Lake in Pittsfield every Wednesday, through Aug. 28, from 6-8 p.m.; Music at the Mansion (North Adams Library) at 6:30 p.m., July 12 and 26, and Aug. 9 and 23; The Clark’s family concerts on the lawn, Tuesdays through Aug. 27, at 8 p.m.; and concerts at Windsor Lake in North Adams on Wednesday nights through Aug. 28, at 6:30 p.m. (there will be no Aug. 14 concert due to the city’s Downtown Celebration). Oh, and let’s not forget Sunset Saturdays at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield through July 27, where gates open at 6:45 p.m. to kick off an evening filled with free music, a kid’s cartoon and the screening of a popular movie at dark.
Speaking of movies, families can catch a series of free outdoor movies this summer at Clapp Park in Pittsfield, running Friday evenings at 8 p.m., from July 19 through Aug. 9; on the Adams Town Hall lawn at 6 p.m. each Friday through Aug. 23; and Sundays in July at 8 p.m., on the Morgan Lawn in Williamstown (off of Spring Street) or at Images Cinema if it rains.
Of course, if you’re in the Berkshires you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore the natural scenery with your children, so checking out the free series of hikes offered by the Berkshire Natural Resource Council might be helpful. Also, there are plenty of hiking opportunities at the Mount Greylock State Reservation, whether your exploring the trails on your own or testing out the free Nature Discover, Summit Ramble, Nice and Easy, Tyke hikes and more on the schedule.. See more at http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/events/july-mtgreylock.pdf. Or if you’d rather sit back and watch others do the physical work, check out a collegiate baseball game in North Adams (The Steeplecats) or Pittsfield (The Suns).
If your family wants to extend their adventurous sides, you might want to test out one of the region’s outdoor Adventure Parks or Zip tours full of family ziplining fun at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Catamount in South Egremont or Berkshire East and Zoar Outdoor in Charlemont.
Whatever you choose, enhance your outdoor adventure in the Berkshires by bringing along a blanket and a picnic basket packed with delectable treats from the area, and you’re sure to win a Parent of the Year (or at least Summer) award from your children.