February Break: 35 Fun Things to Do with NYC Kids
Kids can stop praying for snow days. Starting this Saturday, public school students have nine days off for midwinter recess. If you need to work during the week and are in need of child care, there are lots of enriching school break camps all over NYC. But if you're lucky enough to have the time off, too, there's lots of winter fun to be had in all five boroughs.
Spend your staycation watching fabulous family theater shows, exploring cool museum exhibits or celebrating the Lunar New Year. Or enjoy seasonal sports in the city, like ice-skating and sledding, or take a day trip to a nearby skiing and snow tubing resort. Plus lots of museums run special family programs over break, where kids can enjoy a wide variety of hands-on activities.
To help you make the most of the school recess, we've rounded up our top 35 things to do with kids in New York City over February break, which runs from Saturday, February 14 through Sunday, February 22. Some of our picks only take place on specific dates, others run the entire time and all are great ways to celebrate the freezin' season. Be sure to click the links for all the details, including address and time.
- Head to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for a slew of special Kids Week activities like demos by Mad Science and the Franklin Institute, high-tech workshops, space talks, live birds of prey and other interactive STEM events. Be sure to take advantage of this two-for-one admission coupon!
- Learn about engineering through hands-on projects at the New York Hall of Science's Civil Engineering Day and Engineering Week programs.
- Commune with nature at Prospect Park's Audubon Center by meeting the resident animals, touring the grounds and helping with the Great Backyard Bird Count. FREE
- More nature fun: Enjoy special Kids Week activities with the Urban Park Rangers at nature centers across the city including crafts, face time with animals and outdoor tours. FREE
- Create nature-inspired art projects with the educators at Wave Hill.
- Laugh your SquarePants off at the brand-new SpongeBob Movie, or catch Into the Woods and Paddington before they disappear from theaters.
- Or skip the new flicks and introduce your kids to classics like a no-cost screening of Babe: Pig in the City at the Queens County Farm Museum, or the Technicolor musical An American in Paris and Buster Keaton's silent comedy Go West at Film Forum Jr.
- Catch the legendary French short The Red Balloon at the Museum of the Moving Image, and then create your own animation inspired by the film.
- Explore the American Museum of Natural History's interactive installation Nature's Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters, and then duck into the Discovery Room for more hands-on learning.
- Come hungry to the New York Botanical Garden for its week-long Culinary Kids Food Festival featuring cooking demos, tastings and other food adventures with Carla Hall.
- Or hit the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden for special Discovery Days when kids can pot their own plants to take home. FREE
- Play a family game of laser tag or paintball at Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City.
- Try to become a pinball wizard at the Modern Pinball arcade.
- Ring in the Lunar New Year with a cornucopia of celebrations throughout the break, including FREE parades in Chinatown, Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
- Explore Japanese culture at the Children's Museum of Manhattan's interactive Hello from Japan! installation.
- Learn how objects move across land, sea and through the air at the Brooklyn Children's Museum's hands-on From Here to There exhibition.
- Drop by the Museum of the City of New York for special hands-on activities like mobile and jewelry making inspired by the exhibits on view.
- Check out whimsical illustrations by Dr. Seuss at a FREE pop-up exhibit of some of his rarest works.
- Hang with adorable and adoptable felines at the recently opened "cat cafe," Meow Parlour, on the Lower East Side.
- Hit a nearby slope for some downhill or cross-country skiing. Don't have a car? We found six tri-state area ski resorts that are accessible by public transportation.
- Or take the kids on a snow tubing day trip—it's much easier than skiing!
- Twirl on the ice at one of NYC's outdoor ice-skating rinks; save for McCarren Rink, which already closed for the season, the other ten are open.
- Fish out your bathing suit and head to an indoor water park like my family's favorite, Sahara Sam's in New Jersey.
- Catch a fun family show like the New Victory Theater's percussive dance spectacle Cambuyón, or puppet productions perfect for preschoolers like Sleeping Beauty at Puppetworks or Jack and the Beanstalk at Central Park's Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.
- Warm up at one of our favorite hot cocoa spots—Chelsea's City Bakery is even hosting a month-long Hot Chocolate Festival.
- Learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln at the DiMenna Children's History Museum's Presidential Scavenger Hunt.
- Burn off energy at a drop-in indoor play space; our Inside Activity Guide has a slew of options in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
- Kid too old for kiddie gyms? Go bowling or play pool as a family.
- Go beyond bowling at Bowlmor Chelsea Piers, which recently debuted a ropes course and laser tag arena.
- Give rock climbing a try: NYC has a few kid-friendly indoor rock climbing centers with drop-in hours.
- Enjoy hands-on activities inspired by places and spaces at the Museum of Modern Art's interactive Art Lab.
- Head out of town for a quick getaway: You'll find plenty of destination inspiration in our NYC Day Trip Guide and on our Travel site, where we just rounded up last-minute February break vacation deals.
- Break out the craft materials and give some of our easy and engaging WeeWork projects a try.
- Explore a new-to-you corner of NYC: We have in-depth Kids' Neighborhood Guides for communities in all five boroughs.
- Or cross something off your bucket list: Print out a copy of our 100 things to do with kids before they grow up and get going! Done all of those already? See if you've been to the 21 top new family attractions that opened in 2014.