One of the types of event to explore with children in Burlington is the local festivals and fairs. The Champlain Valley Exposition, located in neighboring Essex Junction, Vermont, features a wide range of activities to please a variety of tastes. Highlights include the following:
- Vermont Flower Show in March
- Vermont Rails Model Railroad Show in March
- Everything Equine Show in April
- Vermont Quilt Festival in June
- Vermont Balloon and Music Festival in June
- Champlain Valley Fair in late August
- Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival in September
- Essex Fall Craft & Fine Art Show in October
- Vermont International Festival November–December
as well as periodically held flea markets. The Champlain Valley Fair was named one of the top 100 Events in North America for 2007 by Destinations magazine.
Events in the city proper that are worth investigating with children in Burlington are the Green Mountain Chew Chew Festival—a celebration of food and the Discover Jazz Festival, both in June; the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon in May; and the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival in August. Circus Smirkus, an international youth circus that provides education and entertainment, also does a summer tour of New England: check their website for scheduling so you can see them with children in Burlington or elsewhere in the region.
If you are visiting with children in Burlington, another of the activities you may want to try is factory tours. Tours of the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury are perennially popular, as are tours of Lake Champlain’s Chocolates, right in Burlington, and the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory in Shelburne.
When you’re visiting with children in Burlington, you may want to check out the interesting collection of Vermont museums geared to families. Just south of Burlington, Shelburne Farms is a working farm that features a children’s farmyard, while Shelburne Museum has a real steamboat, dragged to the site from Lake Champlain in a feat of engineering, as well as a number of exhibition buildings that include a lighthouse and a jail. The Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center hosts a variety of science-centered exhibits for family fun, and the Bread and Puppet Theater and Museum feature shows and exhibits with perhaps the biggest puppets you’ve ever seen.