By Elaine Jeon ’17

The newest season of Game of Thrones has ended, and you’ve already binge-watched all of Orange is the New Black. And you can’t keep frequenting restaurants in town or your credit card will surely explode. Whether you’re a student, professor, staff member, alum or visitor, here are five free things to do on the Amherst College campus to keep you busy and financially solvent this summer.

 

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The Mead Art Museum

1. Cool off in the air-conditioned comfort of the Mead’s galleries

Escape from the New England heat by visiting the Mead Art Museum for “It’s Cool at the Mead” gallery talks. Held every other week on Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., the gallery talks feature topics ranging from Hudson River School landscape paintings to avant-garde baroque paintings. Specific themes of the gallery talks can be found on the online event calendar.

 

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The telescope at Wilder Observatory

2. Explore the night sky at the Wilder Observatory

Tucked away on Snell Street is the College’s Wilder Observatory, open to public for free every Saturday starting at 9 p.m. from April through October. Cross your fingers for excellent weather, as the telescope can open your eyes to the moon, planets, stars, asteroids, galaxies and more. If you feel extra adventurous, ask Tom Whitney, who operates the telescope, to find specific things in the night sky that you’ve always dreamed about.

 

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The view from below in the Wildlife Sanctuary

3. Hike a trail in the Wildlife Sanctuary

Avoid the honking cars and the never-ending red lights by checking out the trails in the Wildlife Sanctuary. Located southeast of campus, the 500-acre wooded paradise offers a peaceful getaway. Check out the Emily Dickinson Trail for a short run or the Norwottuck Rail Trail, which extends all the way to Northampton. (Here’s a map of the trails.) Or you could even opt for a romantic walk instead of a typical movie or restaurant date.

 

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A member of the Buckley Chamber Players

4. Listen to the Buckley Chamber Players perform piano quartets

Enjoy a high-class performance by the Buckley Chamber Players on Friday, July 31, at 8 p.m.

The group began back in 2007 with Professor of Music David Schneider and pianist Alissa Leiser. Since then, many musicians from the Five Colleges and other parts of the country have collaborated in the group. For this concert, Leiser will accompany violinist Joel Pitchon, violist Ronald Carbone and cellist Volcy Pelletier as they perform piano quartet masterpieces by C.P.E. Bach, Robert Schumann and Gabriel Fauré.

 

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The Beneski Museum of Natural History

5. See one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur footprints

Even if you’ve visited the Beneski Museum of Natural History before, come again to ask the student docent to guide you on a personal tour. Or print and complete field guides to learn even more about the collection on your own. The Beneski, the third biggest natural history museum in New England, boasts about 8,000 objects on display and approximately 200,000 in its collection. Be sure to save plenty of time to explore the dinosaur footprints from the Connecticut Valley on the lower level of the museum.

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