February Break for NYC Kids: Fun and Free Things to Do Over Midwinter Recess
Since the usual week-long midwinter school break was shortened to two days due to Hurricane Sandy, we will not be updating this post in 2013. However, you can find lots of fun things to do with kids over the four-day holiday weekend in our Presidents' Day Weekend events post.
While we realize many parents may need to work over February recess (that's why we rounded up 32 cool midwinter break camps for kids), we hope you'll be able to enjoy some fun family time while school's off. If you're looking to get out of the city for a day or two, we've got lots of fun day trips (including a few you can do without a car) in our Family Travel Guide.
But there are certainly plenty of things to do right here in New York City over break, including circus and theater performances, fun in the parks and lots of cool special programming at museums. Here are many wonderful things to do over midwinter break with kids.
Midwinter Recess at the Staten Island Children's Museum – Staten Island
1000 Richmond Terrace
Monday, February 20-Friday, February 24 10am-5pm
FREE on Monday, February 20; all other days free with admission: $6
The Staten Island tot spot hosts a week of cool activities, like Paint Day, Clay Day, Kidz Cook sessions and a special presentation about the isle's historic Sandy Ground community.
February School Vacation Activities at the New York Transit Museum – Brooklyn Heights
Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street
Tuesday, February 21-Friday, February 24 at 11am and 2:30pm
$7 for adults, $5 for children ages 2-17
Stop by the Transit Museum at 11am to hear underground tales as part of its Subway Stories program. At 2:30pm, kids can try their hand at designing city structures and transportation systems as part of Create a City.
February Break Discovery Week at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Crown Heights
900 Washington Avenue at Crown Street
Monday, February 20-Friday, February 24 11am-1pm
Head to the BBG to explore its gorgeous indoor conservatories. Kids can marvel at desert, rainforest and tropical blooms, and also pot their own plants to take home. And thanks to BBG's free winter weekdays, you can visit at no cost.
Kids Week at Nature Centers – Citywide
Monday, February 20-Friday, February 24. Times and locations vary
Urban Park Rangers will be running no-cost programs throughout break at nature centers in all five boroughs. Kids can learn about U.S. history, make Presidents' Day-themed crafts and enjoy all kinds of nature fun. Find the complete schedule on the website.
Engineering Day at the New York Hall of Science – Corona
47-01 111th Street
Monday, February 20 9:30am-5pm
Free with admission: $11 for adults, $8 for children ages 2-17
Spend Presidents' Day building and tinkering at the Queens science spot. Kids can make toothpick/gumdrop domes, bridges from paper and paper clips, towers from Jenga blocks and other cool creations.
A Midwinter Recess's Dream: It's All American! at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Upper East Side
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
Monday, February 20-Friday, February 24, times vary
Free with suggested admission: $25 for adults, free for children under 12
The week kicks off with Holiday Monday Family Programs like sketching and gallery tours. Tuesday through Friday at 11am, families can explore the Met's brand-new American Wing, featuring art work from the 17th-20th centuries.
Presidents Week Events at the Museum of the Moving Image – Astoria
36-01 35th Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets
Monday, February 20-Friday, February 24, times vary
Exhibits and screenings free with admission: $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-17; art workshops vary.
The museum's awesome Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit is set to close March 4 (and since it was already extended once, it won't be again). After checking out the retrospective, enjoy no-cost screenings of the 1981 TV-special The Muppets Go to the Movies, featuring spoofs of classic films. Older kids can learn how to make puppets in a Frankenfoam workshop ($10 material fee) or work on stop-motion shorts ($5 material fee).
Kids Week at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum – Midtown West
Pier 86, Twelfth Avenue at 46th Street
Saturday, February 18-Sunday, February 26, times vary
Free with admission: $24 for adults, $19 for children ages 7-17, $12 for ages 3-6
The Intrepid's annual super-size February break celebration is back with activities themed around the circus, puppets, Broadway, space and aviation, sports and even a birthday bash for the big boat. Each jam-packed day features lots of events and special guests, like screenings of the upcoming film Pirates: Band of Misfits, live bird demos, critters from the Bronx Zoo, Ringling Bros. clowns and Spider-Man. Visit the website for a complete schedule.
History Days Presidents Vacation Week – Upper West Side
New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th Streets
Monday, February 20-Friday, February 24, various times throughout the day
Free with admission: $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 7-13, free for kids under 7.
The DiMenna Children's History Museum hosts a week's worth of educational fun. Kids can search for clues on a presidential scavenger hunt, design their own election campaign buttons or posters, compete in a challenging history quiz and meet author Maira Kalman, who'll read from her book Looking at Lincoln.
More Ideas for February Break Fun
Ice-skating season will also be over before you know it. In fact, the Pond at Bryant Park closes at the end of break.
It's almost your last chance for two popular kids' exhibits: Secret of Circles at the Brooklyn Children's Museum and Jim Henson's Fantastic World at the Museum of the Moving Image both close that first weekend of March.
Although Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, The Panorama of the City of New York, Eat Sleep Play and ElectriCity aren't closing anytime soon, they're all worth exploring.
There are a couple of cool kids' shows playing over break, like the New Victory's Brazil! Brazil! street dance spectacle, Puss in Boots at Puppetworks and Little Miss Muffett's Monster Sitting Service at the Swedish Cottage.
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!
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