As this week winds down and you stare down the barrel of a vacation week that you may or may not have planned ahead for…consider the wide range of vacation activities planned by all of your favorite local non-profits.  Not sure how we could possibly survive in this area without the amazing offerings of our not for profit organizations (that is tongue and cheek by the way — of course we’d survive, but it would certainly be a lot less FUN).  The museums, nature centers, farms, and more that dot the maps of our fabulous Westchester provide more than just obscure “culture” — they offer classes, walking trails, things to do, experiences, education, and most of all FUN TIME FILLERS for us moms.  Here are some favorites for the vacation week — some drop off camps, some drop in activities, and some that might just surprise you in that you might learn and enjoy something new your own self!

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens Winter Vacation Camp.  The $65/Day* Cure for the “I’M BORED” Blues!  Monday, February 20th – Friday, February 24th, 2012 Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens Winter Vacation Camp is a full Day Camp program offered to inquisitive children between the ages of 5 and 11 years. Sign up for individual day sessions or the whole week to give your children a vacation with Nature and learning to last a lifetime.  Each day children will explore a different topic related to the botanical and natural world led by our trained Children’s Education staff. A healthy snack will be provided free by the Bartlett  Arboretum, however each child is responsible for their own peanut-free lunch. Children should dress appropriately for the weather as we will be spending time outside each day, too, discovering, experiencing, and appreciating the beauty and fun of Nature hands-on!  HOURS: 9:00 a.m. – 3 p.m., extended day 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Monday, February 20th: Rainforest Ecology, Tuesday, February 21st: Plants in Winter, Wednesday, February 22nd:  Habitats from Around the World, Thursday, February 23rd: Desert Ecology, Friday, February 24th: The Wonders of Snow.  Please contact Todd DuPont at  education@bartlettarboretum.org for more information.  Registration required and space is limited. Visit www.bartlettarboretum.org.

Winter Break Out Day: How Sweet It Is! Monday, February 20, 11:00 am-3:00 pm. Visit SM&NC on your vacation break and discover all of the sweet things we have to offer! Join us for a Maple Sugar Open House and see how the sugaring season is progressing. Learn about the ecology of chocolate and make a chocolate craft to take home. Take a winter farm tour to see how all of our sweet spring babies have grown up. Join us at 2:30 for s`mores over the campfire. Members: Free; Non-Members: Free with gate admission. Stamford Museum & Nature Center, 39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford, CT 06903; 203-322-1646 www.stamfordmuseum.org

Pack Chat for Kids. February 18, 20 and 25. For families with children ages 4-8. This is the best introduction to wolves for families with young children. Kids will learn about the mythology surrounding wolves and the important role of wolves in the natural world. This is an exciting time for wolves, it’s their favorite season of the year! Guests will visit Ambassador wolves Atka, Alawa and Zephyr as well as the WCC’s critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves. Don’t forget a camera; soon to be 9-month–olds, Alawa and Zephyr, are frisky and fluffy as can be! Guests will enjoy hot beverages in our woodstove-heated classroom. Please dress for COLD weather. Pre-registration is required. Call for times. Fee: Adults – $15, Children (under 12) – $12. Wolf Conservation Center, PO. Box 421, South Salem, NY 10590; 914-763-2373 nywolf.org

CAMP SOSI: Schools Out Ships In. Camp SOSI is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s full day, drop-off program welcoming children throughout the school year during holiday recesses.  Weekly themes and special guests drive our activities and tours.  Using group and individual projects, the program integrates the exhibits, history and science of the Intrepid into an exciting and unique way for campers to learn about sea, air, space and life at sea. Don’t be left out in the cold, check out our Early Bird Rates and Dates!!  Midwinter Recess, February 20-24, 2012.  Kids Week: Campers explore the themes of sea, air, space and life at sea through interactive hands on activities while incorporating the fantastic Kids Week programming. For more information and to register, visit our website at www.intrepidmuseum.org/Education/Camps.aspx

Winter Mini-Camp. Monday-Friday, February 20-24, 9:00 am-12:00 pm (ages 4 and 5), 9:00 am-3:00 pm (6-12 yrs old). Shake off the winter blues at Teatown’s Mini-Camp with a week full of games, crafts, and outdoor activities. The camp is divided into two different time slots, depending on the child’s age. Parents can choose to sign up their child for the full session or individual days (fee prorated). Snacks are provided but full-day campers should pack a lunch. Full Session Fees for 4 and 5 year olds: $160 members; $185 nonmembers. Full Session Fees for ages 6-12: $300 members; $335 nonmembers. For more information, or to register a child for camp, please call 914-762-2912 ext. 110. Teatown Lake Reservation, 1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining, NY 10562; 914-762-2912 www.teatown.org

President`s Week Art Camp. February 20-24, 9:30 am-12:30 and 1:00-4:00 pm. Keep your child creative and happy during schools breaks at our art camps. Students will work with a variety of materials, trying their hand at clay, painting, drawing, computer art and crafts. All campers should dress appropriately for art and bring a snack. Full day option available; please bring lunch. Materials included. Visit website for fee information. Katonah Art Center, 131 Bedford Road, Katonah, NY; 914-232-4843 www.katonahartcenter.com

Random Farms February Vacation Workshop. February 18-23, 9:00 am-1:00 pm. The February Vacation Workshop will feature a studio presentation of the musical, You`re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. This will be a process-oriented program and each group will be kept small (6-15 performers) for maximum individual instruction. Role placement will be at the first rehearsal. There will be an informal performance for family and friends at our Elmsford rehearsal studio on the last day, accompanied by a live pianist. Please note that the two age groups within each session will sometimes rehearse together but each will have separate performances. Location: The Random Farms Performing Arts Studio, 77 Executive Blvd., Elmsford, NY 10523. Cost: $245 per group. For more information, please visit www.randomfarms.com

February Vacation Nature Camp. February 20-23, 9:30 am-1:00 pm. For grades K-3. Activities include nature exploration, nature crafts, animal study and nature games. Snacks included; lunch must be sent daily. Members: $160; non-members: $210. Registration required. Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583; 914-723-3470 www.greenburghnaturecenter.org.

And not to forget the daily fun to be had if you aren’t looking for a full week camp — stop by some local gems for a visit.  Your local libraries, nature centers, the Quest walks of the Westchester Land Trust, Jacob Burns Film Center for a family movie, or maybe a trip to your favorite local book stores — try Little Joe’s Books of Katonah or The Voracious Reader in Larchmont.

Have a wonderful, full, exciting, adventurous week!