April 15, 2022

Salem Offers Many Unique Ways to Spend School Vacation Week

by Felicia Cheney

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School vacation week is almost here and for people that need ideas to enjoy the time off, Destination Salem has some suggestions for activities that can be booked last-minute. There are new attractions to experience, such as Real Pirates Salem and the International Monster Museum, and the Peabody Essex Museum has a special week of programming for school vacation week that focuses on climate change. Seasonal venues such as Salem Willows will open for the week and several outdoor tours are ready for the new spring weather. There are so many opportunities to choose from, and Destination Salem has a list for easy trip-planning on their site and mobile app. 
“The great thing about Salem is that visitors can create a tailored itinerary for each visit that includes family activities, tours, culinary experiences, shopping excursions – whatever the mood of the day might be,” said Kate Fox, Executive Director, Destination Salem. “People can visit for a day, a night, or a week and have more than enough to fill their schedule.”
A few featured ideas for activities during school vacation week are highlighted below. 
Salem Kids Tours – This popular kid-friendly activity offers a Kids History Tour and a Slightly Spooky Tour. The history tour tells true tales from Salem’s long history, including the infamous Witchcraft Trials. This is a great orientation tour to help you find your way around the vibrant and walkable heart of the city. The Slightly Spooky Tour combines true tales from Salem’s past with some mild ghost stories just for kids. 

Authentic pirate treasure recovered from the shipwrecked Whydah

Real Pirates Salem – A new experience featuring an exhibition of real pirate treasure recovered from the shipwrecked Whydah. The objects in the exhibit are from the world’s only fully authenticated pirate treasure ever discovered – including coins, jewelry, a cannon, and other weapons – retrieved from the wreck, and last touched by the hands of pirates more than 300 years ago. The exhibit features a Discovery Lab where visitors can dive into the preservation process of authentic Whydah artifacts. 

 Families visit the Peabody Essex Museum. Painting by T.C. Cannon, Two Guns Arikara, Photograph by Kathy Tarantola.

Peabody Essex Museum Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has a full slate of programming for April School Vacation Week. Just in time for Earth Day, the museum presents two exhibitions that explore the climate crisis and our role in it. Climate Action: Inspiring Change is a timely and urgent exhibition that explores how we can transform the climate crisis into hope for our shared future. Konstantin Dimopoulos: The Blue Trees is an environmental call to action in the form of a participatory installation. Using a biologically-safe watercolor and a team of community volunteers, the artist temporarily transforms a selection of trees on PEM’s campus to focus the visitor’s attention on the growing issue of deforestation and other threats to trees around the globe.

The Counting House at the harbor’s edge has a looking glass so that sea captains like John Turner, who built the House of the Seven Gables, could keep an eye on their ships.

The House of the Seven Gables
For the first time since 2019, The House of the Seven Gables will host April School Vacation Week. From April 18 to 22, kids and their families are invited to take part in fun new activities just as the colorful gardens spring to life. Everyone will have a chance to thoroughly explore the nooks and crannies of the National Historic Landmark District’s campus as they complete scavenger hunt challenges, find out about life on board sailing ships and try their hand at recreating some of the site’s historic architecture. Bonus — there will be prizes!

Other Salem-inspired events and activities include:

  • Good Witch of Salem has a line-up of fun workshops and events during the week
  • The Witchery has teen and tween friendly activities such as broom making and bookbinding 
  • Witch Pix offers visitors the opportunity to dress up as a witch with full background settings and have their picture taken.

There are plenty of shopping experiences including America’s oldest commercial candy shop, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company, and Salem’s newest candy shop, Curly Girl Candy ShopPopped! Gourmet PopcornMaria’s Sweet Somethings, and The Trolley Depot are also family favorites.
There are many options for enjoying a family friendly meal in Salem. There are several establishments including the New York style Essex’s NY Pizza & Deli, and sci-fi-themed Flying Saucer Pizza Company for lunch, Rockafellas or Witch City Hibachi for lunch or dinner, and Red’s Sandwich Shop and Salem’s Retreat are family friendly go-tos for breakfast or lunch. For a different type of dining experience, Bit Bar offers classic video games and has a new, expanded space on Derby Street.
For family friendly accommodations with indoor pools or kitchenettes, visitors have several options including Hampton InnThe Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites, and The Salem Inn, which as family suites.
For more information on things to do, and where to eat and stay in Salem during school vacation week, please visit salem.org.

About Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a destination recognized around the world for its rich history, which includes the tragic Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the glorious maritime era that left its indelible mark on Salem through architecture, museums, and artifacts, and for its month-long celebration of Halloween. Today, approximately 1.8 million people visit Salem annually, generating nearly $140 million in tourism spending and supporting 1,000 jobs.

About Destination Salem
As the destination marketing organization for the City of Salem, Destination Salem cooperatively markets Salem as one of Massachusetts’ best destinations for families, couples, domestic, and international travelers who are seeking an authentic New England experience, cultural enrichment, American history, fine dining, unique shopping and fun. For more information, visit Salem.org.

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