Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: February Go List
To paraphrase the iconic song, New York City never hibernates, not even in the dead of winter. So even though February is the coldest and shortest month, there are still plenty of awesome things to do with kids in NYC. Our February Go List includes annual favorites like Chinatown's huge Lunar New Year Parade, the Intrepid's activity-filled Kids Week during midwinter break and the BAMkids Film Festival. But there are also some wonderful new kid-friendly exhibits, family theater shows and other exceptional events worth braving the weather for this month.
As always, if an event piques your interest, be sure to click through to our listing for all the details, including address and time. And keep in mind: In NYC, really cool things to do with kids often get booked up quickly. So buy your tickets ASAP or, in the case of FREE events, arrive as early as possible to try to beat the crowds.
So get out your calendar: Here are the top 12 things to do with kids in New York City this February.
XRP in Concert: Rockapella from Carmen Sandiego Reunited – East Harlem
Saturday, February 1
Listen up Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego? fans: Ever wonder what in the world happened to Rockapella, the beloved a cappella group that appeared on the Emmy-winning PBS game show in the '90s? You can solve that mystery on February 1, when the original lineup of the band, now called XRP, reunites for a one-night-only concert benefiting local public elementary school Central Park East II (where two of the members' kids go along with, full disclosure, my daughter). Expect lots of classic tunes, including their catchy Carmen Sandiego theme song (which I personally had stuck in my head for about a decade). Get ready for a nostalgia trip and some of the tightest a cappella harmonies anywhere. In advance: $18 for adults, $8 for children 2-12; at the door: $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 2-12
Sleeping Beauty Dreams – Fort Greene
Saturday, February 1-Sunday, February 2 and Saturday, February 8
Part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music's robust BAMkids series, this contemporary take on the classic fairy tale comes from Mexican marionette company, Marionetas de la Esquina. The show is filled with stunning visuals, including gorgeous handmade puppets and sumptuous video backgrounds. If your family speaks Spanish, the 3pm performance on Saturday, February 1 will be en español. $12
Chinatown Lunar New York Parade and Festival – Chinatown
Sunday, February 2
There are lots of Lunar New Year celebrations throughout the month all over the city, including parades in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn. But the biggest shindig of them all is Chinatown's colorful procession. More than half a million spectators are expected to line the streets for the pan-Asian parade, which includes Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Malaysian and even Hispanic floats and cultural performances. Arrive early—by noon at the latest—if you want to snag a good spot. It's a very festive and very loud affair that's way too crowded for strollers, so it's probably a bit much for the preschool set. After you've seen your fill, head to Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Canal and Forsyth Streets for an outdoor cultural festival. If you want to finish the day with dim sum, check out our roundup of family-friendly Chinatown restaurants, which, as you can imagine, will be pretty busy. Be prepared to wait. FREE
Cabinets of Wonder: The Art of Collecting – Hudson Square
Tuesday, February 4-Sunday, June 1
The Children’s Museum of the Arts' new exhibit puts a contemporary art twist on the German concept of Wunderkammer, a.k.a. cabinets of curiosities: massive collections of bizarre items, natural objects and other minutia. CMA's interpretation features emerging and established artists who recontextualize these collections as art. Does your kid collect interesting items? The museum is looking for small private collections to add to the display. As always, CMA will offer thematically related art workshops in conjunction with the exhibit so check the calendar for details. Free with admission: $11
Bob Marley's Three Little Birds – Midtown West
Friday, February 7-Sunday, February 23
Introduce your children to the incredible music of the late, great Bob Marley, and his message of peace and love at the New Victory Theater's joyous reggae tuner. Based on Cedella Marley's picture book about a worried little boy who's afraid to leave his house, this colorful musical features many of her father's classic songs including "Roots, Rock, Reggae," "Natural Mystic," "One Love" and the title number. $14-$38
Fantasia's Big Bon Voyage Party – Crown Heights
Sunday, February 9
After 15 years, the Brooklyn Children's Museum's resident snake, 23-foot-long albino Burmese python Fantasia, is saying goodbye. She's moving south for her old age... to the Staten Island Zoo, which can better meet her dietary, medical and space needs (remember when she escaped last summer? Clearly she needs more room to roam). Say ssssee you around to Fantasia at her going-away party, where kids can also make python puppets, write her cards, and get up close and personal with all her reptile friends. Free with admission: $9
Kids Week at the Intrepid – Midtown West
Saturday, February 15-Sunday, February 23
Wondering how to keep the kids occupied during midwinter break? Try heading to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which is hosting special activities and entertainment for families every day the kids are off from school. Each day features a different theme from science to superheroes to Broadway. Highlights include tech workshops run by East Village robot store Tinkersphere; displays from the Liberty Science Center, the Museum of Math and RoboFun; superhero stunt shows; performances by the Story Pirates, Gazillion Bubble Show, Wildlife Theater from the Central Park Zoo, and performers from Broadway's Cinderella and Matilda and the New Victory Theater's Bob Marley's Three Little Birds; concerts by The Pop Ups and Tim and the Space Cadets; and much more. Find the complete schedule on the website. Activities are free with admission: In advance: $22 for adults, $17 for children ages 7-17 and $10 for ages 3-6; at the door: $2 more per person. But there's a great buy one general admission, get one free deal going on.
Washington's Birthday Ball – Upper East Side
Sunday, February 16
Celebrate the birthday of the first U.S. President 19th-century style at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden. It's a lovely little historic building and walking into it really gives you the sense that you've stepped back in time. In honor of George's big day, there will be period music and costumed dancers, and kids will be encouraged to learn new steps and join in. A kid-friendly tour and refreshments are included. Reservations recommended. $15 for adults, $10 for children under 12
Engineering Day – Corona
Monday, February 17
Queens' New York Hall of Science is full of cool interactive attractions on any day. But on Presidents Day, kids can enjoy special engineering-based activities like building domes out of toothpicks and gumdrops, creating boats from aluminum foil, designing paper bridges and block skyscrapers, and other hands-on projects. Free with admission: $11 for adults, $8 for children 2-17
Iván Navarro: This Land Is Your Land – Flatiron
Thursday, February 20-Sunday April 13
Madison Square Park frequently hosts amazing public art displays, and we think this new site-specific installation will be a big hit with kids. Brooklyn-based Chilean artist Iván Navarro is creating three massive water towers elevated eight feet off the ground so visitors can walk underneath and look up. Inside of each one will be neon reflections that go on forever, like a kind of up-in-the-air infinity room. Immigration is the theme of the installation, which is named after Woody Guthrie's famous folk song. But even if kids don't quite get the message, they should enjoy gazing at the giant neon images, including the words "me," "we" and ”bed," and a giant ladder. FREE
BAMkids Film Festival – Fort Greene
Saturday, February 22-Sunday, February 23
This 16th annual family film festival isn't as big, long or famous as the New York International Children's Film Festival, and that's a good thing. It means it's less overwhelming though it does get more popular every year. Catch more than 70 titles from around the world at BAM Rose Cinemas. In addition to shorts programs for all age ranges, and a handful of full-length films, two NYC-based acts will be performing live in BAMcafe upstairs: musician and educator Elena Moon Park celebrates East Asian folk and children’s music in Rabbit Days and Dumplings, and singer/songwriter Amelia Robinson and her talented pals croon folk, funk and blues tunes as Mil's Trills. Note: Tickets are on sale now and tend to sell out so buying in advance is a must. $13 for adults, $9 for children under 14 per screening or performance
Sunday Movies at the Palace with Lin-Manuel Miranda: West Side Story – Washington Heights
Sunday, February 23
Tony-winning In the Heights songwriter, actor and native New Yorker Lin-Manuel Miranda handpicked the six classics that make up this new movie series at the historic United Palace Theater. If you've never been inside this over-the-top 1920s movie palace, which now doubles as a church and arts hub, this is the perfect excuse to check it out. I went to a concert here once and I spent more time gawking at the jaw-dropping, gold-painted interior featuring a mash-up of disparate architectural styles and cultural symbols, than I did watching the band. The iconic 1961 movie musical West Side Story is Miranda's pick for February (appropriate, since he worked on the recent Broadway revival), and he'll be on hand to introduce the film and interview one of its stars: the fabulous Rita Moreno who won an Oscar for her performance as Anita! Audience members decked out in tuxedos or gowns snag a free bag of popcorn. In advance: $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12; at the door: $15 for adults, $5 for children
NYC always has so many incredible things going on that it's difficult to choose. So here are more cool events that are worth considering for your February calendar. Be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletters so you can get our weekend picks delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning.
Grab a cup of exotic flavored hot cocoa at City Bakery's annual Hot Chocolate Festival, which continues every day in February
Find a meaningful way to celebrate Black History Month in our multicultural city.
Rise with the sun to find out whether Staten Island Chuck predicts an early spring on Groundhog Day at the Staten Island Zoo on Sunday, February 2. FREE
Enjoy bright winter activities like a glow-in-the-dark clubhouse at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as part of its Illuminated fest, which finishes up on Sunday, February 2.
Learn how to print textiles from around the globe at the Bard Graduate Center Family Day on Sunday, February 2.
Kids too young for the big Chinatown parade? Celebrate the Lunar New Year sans firecrackers and crowds at Asia Society's Moon Over Manhattan Family Day on Sunday, February 2.
Laugh along with the always-inventive Paper Bag Players as they present their brand-new sketch musical comedy show Hiccup Help! at Symphony Space on Saturday, February 8.
Hear the Fonz, a.k.a. Henry Winkler, read from his new children's book Bookmarks Are People Too! ('Here's Hank!' Book One) at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble on Tuesday, February 11. FREE
Celebrate Valentine's Day kid-style with Clifford the Big Red Dog at the Scholastic Store on Saturday, February 15. FREE
Follow the animated musical adventures of Gustafer Yellowgold at Symphony Space on Saturday, February 15.
Introduce your tweens to classic flicks like the Fred Astaire-Audrey Hepburn musical Funny Face (February 9) and Alfred Hitchcock's thriller North by Northwest (February 23) at Film Forum Jr. Sunday matinees.
Snag two-for-one tickets to a bunch of Off Broadway show as part of Off Broadway Week Monday, February 17-Sunday, March 2
Run off and see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus spectacle Legends at the Barclays Center Thursday, February 20-Sunday, March 2
And remember to check our Event Calendar as we're always adding new listings.
- Chinese New Year for NYC Kids: Top 15 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Free Parades & Festivals
- Money-Saving Tips for NYC's Intrepid Museum and the Space Shuttle Enterprise
- Best New Museum Exhibits for NYC Kids Winter 2014: 9 Awesome Installations for Families
- Best NYC Kids’ Theater for Winter 2014: 14 Great Family Shows Most Under $20