Free & Fun Things to Do this Weekend for NYC Kids: Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, Museum Family Days February 9-10
Due to the snowstorm, many venues are canceling their events on Saturday. We're doing our best to keep this post updated but before you head out to an event, please check the official website to confirm it's still happening. Or check out our post about the best things to do on your snow day, including the scoop on awesome sledding hills, special snow sculpting contests and free hot chocolate courtesy of the Parks Department.
Happy Lunar New Year! The Year of the Snake officially kicks off on Sunday, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate throughout New York City. This weekend's big to-do is Chinatown's free Firecracker Ceremony and Festival but there are also fun celebrations at the main branch of the Brooklyn Library, Queens' Flushing Town Hall and Asia Society on the Upper East Side.
There are also lots of great arts and culture events this weekend, including the debut of two awesome sounding kids' shows, The Mark of Zorro at the New Victory Theater and the musical Bunnicula!, and cool concerts by David Weinstone and Music tor Aardvarks and Father Goose.
Bunnicula! A Rabbit Tale of Musical Mystery Opening Weekend – Union Square
One of our top family shows to see this winter, this musical is based on Deborah and James Howe's quirky children’s book about a beloved pet rabbit who just may be the cutest and cuddliest vampire ever known. We're seeing it on Saturday so look for our full review next week! Usually $45, however this weekend only, you can snag $20 tickets 20 minutes before show time at the box office courtesy of 20at20.
The Mark of Zorro – Midtown West
Scottish theater company Visible Fictions, which mounted a rollicking two-man version of Jason and the Argonauts a few years back, brings the adventures of the swashbuckling hero to the New Victory Theater using action, humor and lots of unexpected props. Bonus: After the performances on Fridays, February 8 and 15, audience members can check out TXT Marks the Spot, a post-show event that's equal parts digital game, scavenger hunt and interactive challenge. My son and I tried it once and it's a blast. Plus it's free to ticket holders. $14-$38
Saturday, February 9
Postponed until Saturday, February 16 due to the snowstorm
Circle of Love: Dads and Daughters Ball – Crown Heights
We love that the Brooklyn Children's Museum is celebrating the special bond between fathers and daughters. (That said, don't feel left out moms and sons: You're invited too!) Dress up and hit the floor, where professional instructors will teach families a pair of dances. Other attractions include a live deejay, daddy-daughter photos, a complimentary corsage and a visit from PBS's Curious George. Advance tickets are a must! $27 per adult-child pair, $13.50 per additional child. VIP packages also available.
Canceled due to the snowstorm
Observe and Collect: Diorama Drama – Upper West Side
Fans of the American Museum of Natural History's amazing animal dioramas should enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at how they're made. Afterward, design a mini diorama of your own. Preregistration required. $12
La MaMa Kids – East Village
Expose the kids to experimental theater! La MaMa—the cutting-edge performance venue that has been mounting avant-garde productions since the '60s—is launching a series of family workshops where kids can get a crash course in storytelling, dance, mask and puppet-making, and other aspects of putting on a show. At the inaugural session, kids will make colorful shadow puppets and learn basic performing techniques with Jane Catherine Shaw. $10 per family
Canceled due to the snowstorm
Sinister Pop Family Day – Upper East Side
The Whitney is throwing a family party in honor of its ongoing exhibition Sinister Pop, featuring work by Pop Art greats. Inspired by Andy Warhol's notion that everyone will enjoy "15-minutes of fame," children ages 5 to 12 can get their time in the spotlight by making art, singing karaoke, posing for the paparazzi and participating in interactive performances. $18 for adults, free for children under 19
Saturday Family Program: Chinese New Year – Prospect Heights
Celebrate the Year of the Snake at the Brooklyn Public Library's Dweck Center with a free family performance organized by the CBA Culture & Art Center featuring music, magic and dance. FREE
Moon Over Manhattan: Celebrate the Lunar New Year Family Day – Upper East Side
More Lunar New Year fun: Asia Society's annual fest includes a lion dance, kung fu demos, drop-in holiday crafts, a Chinese children's song workshop led by the Shanghai Restoration Project and jazz singer Zhang Le, and a shadow puppet session with Chinese Theatre Works. $12 for adults, $5 for children
Leave It to Chance: Surrealism 101 for the Family – Murray Hill
At this special family workshop in conjunction with the the Morgan Library & Museum's Drawing Surrealism exhibit, children ages 6 and up can check out works by Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington and Joan Miró, and then try their hand at automatic drawing, frottage, collage, decalcomania and more with the help of museum educators. Registration suggested. $6 for adults, $2 for children.
Floating Valentines: The Red Balloon – Battery Park City
Head to Poets House to see the endearing short The Red Balloon, and then craft poetic valentines in the form of hot-air balloon mobiles. $5
MoMA Family Films: Creative Kids – Midtown West
Catch three shorts about creative youngsters who dream up amazing things: Kuumba, Ish and Caine’s Arcade. Afterward, stay and explore the museum at no additional cost. FREE but tickets distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Family Affair: All About You and Me– the Bronx
The Bronx Museum of the Arts hosts an afternoon of kid-friendly gallery tours, and offbeat art and food-making workshops inspired by Joan Semmel's The Lucid Eye exhibit. FREE
Canceled due to the snowstorm
Family Literacy Day – Staten Island
Head to the Staten Island Children's Museum to celebrate kid lit with an afternoon of book-themed activities, arts and crafts, music and raffles. Children's authors Sabrina Panfilo (Tomey and the Caterpillar) and Artie Bennett (Poopendous) will read from their works, and all kids snag a free book. Free with admission: $6
Sunday, February 10
Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival – Chinatown
NYC rings in the Lunar New Year at this annual cultural fest, organized by the Better Chinatown Society. Take note: This is not Chinatown's annual Chinese New Year Parade, which happens next week. Today, you can kick off the Year of the Snake with a bang as 600,000 firecrackers explode in Sara D. Roosevelt Park to ward off evil spirits. Afterward, dragon, unicorn and lion dancers will march through Chinatown's streets and join in a festival featuring performances and food. FREE
Lunar New Year Dance Sampler – Flushing
Or you can celebrate at Flushing Town Hall's annual Chinese New Year show featuring a diverse lineup of dances from China, Korea, India, Taiwan, Egypt and even the Americas. FREE but tickets distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Family Art Project: Hearts and Flowers – the Bronx
Valentine's Day is right around the corner and families can celebrate at Wave Hill by using the sweet-smelling blossoms in the greenhouse as inspiration for flowery cards. Although this event was originally scheduled for the entire weekend, Saturday's session was canceled due to the snowstorm. Free with admission: $8 for adults, $2 for children 6.
Open House at the Apollo Theater – Harlem
Take the A train to the historic venue to enjoy self-guided tours, a live preview of the upcoming season and a free family instrument making workshop followed by a jam session. Although this event was originally scheduled for the entire weekend, Saturday's session was canceled due to the snowstorm. Preregistration required. FREE
Family Concert: Music for Aardvarks – Upper East Side
Head to the Jewish Museum to see NYC's original kindie band play preschool hits like Taxi, Bagel and Race You to the Corner. $18 for adults, $13 for children
Hip Tot Music Fest: Father Goose – Gowanus
Rock out with Dan Zanes and Friends regular Father Goose and also enjoy readings by Brooklyn children's author Melanie Hope Greenberg, a performance by Jeté Dance Center, face painting and glitter tattoos, and a complimentary goody bag for every kid in attendance. In advance: $10 for adults, $8 for children, $35 for a family four-pack; at the door: $12 for adults, $10 for children.
Met Life Second Sundays for Families – Corona
Last winter, my son and I visited the Queens Museum of Art for the first time and were blown away by the Panorama of the City of New York. Today, families can explore that famous installation at no cost and participate in art workshops with Free Style Arts. FREE
Outside of NYC
In South Orange, NJ, catch the Super Scientific Circus show, which introduces kids to scientific principles via amazing circus acts.
Mark the Chinese New Year at Bridgeport, Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo with special stories, crafts and a children's parade.
Don’t forget: There are lots of other options in our Event Calendar.