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    Boston-area family events


    VACATION WEEK FLYBY AT JOPPA FLATS Keep the kids occupied during their vacation with a couple of drop-in (but not drop-off) activities in Newburyport. Dec. 27 is “Eagles, Owls, & Hawks, Oh My!” followed on Dec. 28 by “Get Ready, Gather, and Go!” Dec. 27 and 28 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Recommended for ages 2-12. $7. Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport. 978-462-9998.

    LITTLE RED AND THE GINGERBREAD MAN This is a two-for-one treat for fairy tale fans. Barefoot Puppets merges two stories to create one about that girl with the red hood who chases a gingerbread cookie through the woods to Grandma’s house. The wolf makes an appearance, of course. Dec. 27 and 28 at 10:30 a.m. and
    1 p.m. $15. Recommended for ages 3 and older. Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station St., Brookline. 617-731-6400.

    SOUTHWICK’S ZOO VISITS SOUTH SHORE NATURAL SCIENCE CENTER Animals who are scheduled to make an appearance in Norwell include a tortoise, macaw, porcupine, and kangaroo. In addition to the animal shows, visit the EcoZone Interactive Museum, REI Discovery Trail, Children’s Garden, Owl exhibit, and walking trails. Dec. 28 at 1 and 2:30 p.m. $5, $12 children (advance ticket sales required; strollers, food, and beverages not permitted at animal shows ). Recommended for ages 3 and older. The South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Lane, Norwell. 781-659-2559.


    TEDDY BEAR TEA Load the kids and their teddy bears into the car and head to Castle Hill Inn for sandwiches, pastries, teas, hot chocolate, and holiday stories. Dec. 29 from 3:30-5 p.m. $25, free for kids with a donation of a new, unwrapped teddy bear for children in need. Castle Hill Inn, 590 Ocean Drive, Newport, R.I. 401-849-3885.



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    FIRST NIGHT TOURS What was life like in Boston after the American Revolution? Find out on your tour of the 1796 Federal-style mansion built for Boston mayor and congressman, Harrison Gray Otis, and his wife, Sally Foster Otis. Classical guitarist Chris Renna will play from 6-9 p.m. Refreshments available for purchase. Dec. 31 from 11 a.m.-
    9 p.m. Free with First Night button. Otis House, 141 Cambridge St., Boston. 617-994-5920. www.historicnew

    RESOLUTION NEW YEAR’S EVE This party is billed as a “strictly black, white, and magenta theme” with live local music, art, technology, food,
    a champagne toast, photo booths, and “tons and tons”
    of surprises. Sounds like tons and tons of fun. Presented by Together. Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. $25, $35 day of show. Middle East Downstairs, 480 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-864-3278. www.mideast

    NEW YEAR’S DAY PAJAMA BRUNCH Yup, you show up in your PJs, just like the staff and chef/owner Jim Solomon, who will wear his plaid or “I Love Lucy” jammies. We recommend elastic-waist pajamas so you can feast on treats including oysters Rockefeller, lobster and truffled eggs benedict, steak and eggs, and pistachio-crusted vanilla cheesecake with pomegranate syrup. So much for the New Year’s resolution diet. Jan. 1 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. A la carte regular menu and specials. Reservations recommended. The Fireplace, 1634 Beacon St., Brookline. 617-975-1900.

    FIRST DAY HIKES Walk those holiday calories off and off and off at several venues including Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield (10 a.m.), Chestnut Hill Reservation (noon), Breakheart Reservation in Saugus (noon), and Nantasket Beach reservation (noon). Jan. 1 at various times and locations (check website). Free. All ages. 617-626-1250.