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Best things to do in R.I. this week: Jan. 21-28

You’ll have the best times! This week: Distillery tours, painting classes, tacos, concerts, and wild animals.

Join fellow bird lovers on Jan. 22 during a beach walk at 3rd Beach in Middletown, guided by experts from the Norman Bird Sanctuary.Wilson, Mark Globe Staff

With weather this bleak, we need some fun to look forward to, events to circle on the ol’ calendar to give us hope as we sludge through January. Luckily, you just found Best Times, baby. Yup, I’m here to gather the little flowers of fun poking out of winter’s gray sidewalk. Our Jan. 21-28 bouquet includes distillery tours, painting classes, tacos, concerts, and wild animals. #FunInThe401.


Channel your inner Bob Ross at Muse Paintbar. A combination art studio, restaurant and bar, this is the spot where you and your crew can sip wine, nosh on hot wings, and learn to paint landscapes. For example, on Jan. 21, you could learn how to paint “Icy Birches” or “Bright Sky.” ($39) Saturday morning’s family lesson is “Quiet Morning” ($29.) Check the calendar to see what you want to paint, and go from there. There are lessons throughout the week, from “Frozen Tundra” to “Twinkling Snowfall.” You can also paint at home. 117 N. Main St, Providence. 888-607-6873. Masks required. Details here.



Hockey fans, I got you, too. The Providence Bruins face the Bridgeport Islanders Jan. 21 at the Dunk. 7:05 p.m., ticket prices vary. For hoops, watch Providence College take on Butler Jan. 23 at noon. Tickets from $18.1 LaSalle Square, Providence. 401-331-6700. Details here.


[Brain explodes in sensory overload reading that subhead.] Providence’s Industrious Spirit Company offers bi-monthly behind-the-scenes tours of their distillery. The next falls on Jan. 23 — just in time for the launch of their bi-valve-inspired vodka, Ostreida, distilled with oysters. #ReadAllAboutIt #BecauseOceanState.

Tours will show you how the Rhode Islanders make “sustainably sourced vodka, gins and bourbons at Providence’s first distillery since Prohibition. Bring proof of vax and mask up for the Tasting Room’s spirits and snacks.


They’ve also got pop-up food events: Jan. 21, they’ll host Newport’s La Costa Lobster & Tacos, and Jan. 22, you can order brick-oven pizza and calzones via Newport’s A Mano. 1 Sims Ave. 401-414-7901. All event details here. (Learn about Oyster vodka here.)


Now through Feb. 28, Roger Williams Park Zoo offers half-price admission. Meet the whole gang, from anteaters to zebras — and Beany the Sloth. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. 401-785-3510. Timed entry tickets for nonmembers. Discount applied at checkout, according to website. Details here.


Bundle up and bring a thermos of coffee. This looks fascinating. Learn about sandpipers, eiders, buffleheads, gulls and more on a free beach walk at 3rd Beach in Middletown, guided by bird experts from the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Bring binoculars and bird guides if you got ‘em. 8 a.m., Jan 22. 583 3rd Beach Road. Middletown. Rain or shine. Registration required. Details here.

If you’re looking to get into birding, I’ll add here that every Wednesday, Norman Bird Sanctuary offers a free guided walk on their trails — some 7 miles slicing through various habitats and ecosystems. You’ll also learn to identify plants. Next hike: Jan. 26 at 3:30 p.m. Free, no registration needed. Details here.


Fun fact: the Rhode Island State Mammal is the harbor seal. [Cue the “The More You Know” rainbow jingle.] Join Save the Bay on their educational cruise vessel as they sail through historic Newport Harbor and observe seals at Citing Rock. One-hour tours are boat-based; longer tours include a stop at Rose Island. (Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m there.) Cruises start Jan. 22, and run throughout the season. $22 per adult for one-hour cruise. Must register. Check for availability and details here. 401-203-7325.



Let it groooow! (Sorry, got carried away there with the “Frozen” theme.) Whether you’re looking to help birds and bees by turning your yard into a meadow (or you’ve just scrolled Instagram and drooled over #gardeninspiration posts) learn more with Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum. The 33-acre Bristol estate — alive with gardens, plantings, pathways, and stonework and some 500 species of trees and shrubs — offers a Zoom horticulture class: “Mini Meadow Making: A Look at Meadows on a Garden Scale.” Start dreaming of spring now. Jan. 22. $12 Members, $15 nonmembers. 10 a.m., online. Details here.


Find Jesus at PPAC. The hit musical “Jesus Christ Super Star” is on its 50th anniversary tour, hitting Providence Jan. 25 for eight shows through Jan. 30. Masks and proof of vaccination required. Tickets from $41. 220 Weybosset St. 401-421-2787. Details here.


Calling all Deadheads: The Pump House in Wakefield hosts a Grateful Dead Night the last Friday of every month. Mystic Dead takes the stage Jan. 28. All ages are welcome; there will be pizza and a full bar. Doors open at 6 p.m. Proof of vax required. $15. 1464 Kingstown Road. Details here.


The Pump House, by the way, is a gem. The guitar-making school turned intimate nonprofit venue believes “Music nourishes our souls. Our goal is to support and nurture the musical community in Southern RI through a wide range of live music and music-related activities.” Amen. #PumpItUp.

Until next week, Rhody: keep rockin’.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.