Presidents' Day Weekend 2013 for NYC Kids: Lunar New Year Parades, Video Game Festival, Intrepid's Kids Week
Even though midwinter break is only four days this year, there's still plenty to do this Presidents' Day weekend. In fact, six picks from our February Go List are happening over the holiday and the Mommy Poppins team is even hosting a special creative event for families! The Intrepid's Kids Week kicks off with circus-themed activities, the Museum of the Moving Image hosts a multi-day video game festival and troupes from the annual Sword Dance Festival perform throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
There are a slew of celebrations this holiday weekend, too, like the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden's annual Washington's Birthday Ball, a Carnaval fete at El Museo del Barrio, a Mardi Gras party at the Children’s Museum of the Arts, and three Lunar New Year parades, including the big procession and festival in Chinatown.
Thinking of heading out of town for part of the holiday? We rounded up six fun day trips that are all less two hours by car from midtown Manhattan. And if you need to work on Monday or Tuesday, there's still time to book a school holiday camp.
These are just a few of the great things going on this Presidents' Day weekend. All of our best bets for the four-day break are below. You can find lots of other options in our Event Calendar and our Winter Fun Guide.
Kids Week at the Intrepid – Midtown West
Head to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum for nine straight days of Kids Week activities. The festivities kick off on Saturday and Sunday with circus-themed fun. See acts from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's new Built to Amaze extravaganza, hang out with members of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and show off your circus skills in the fun zone. The Kids Week fun continues on Monday with science activities and excerpts from Broadway shows on Tuesday. Most 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 click here to download a coupon for buy-one-get-one-free admission during Kids' Week.
Chinese Lunar New Year Parades – Citywide
Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn host their annual Lunar New Year parades on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. But the biggest celebration is the one in Manhattan's Chinatown on Sunday. Half a million spectators are expected to line the streets for the colorful pan-Asian parade, which includes Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Malaysian and even Hispanic floats and cultural performances. This year the organizers hope to set a new world record for the largest group of Gangnam Style dancers. Afterward, head to nearby Sara D. Roosevelt Park for an outdoor cultural festival. FREE
Presidents' Day Break at Wave Hill – the Bronx
On Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, the lovely Bronx garden and cultural center will host special programming and nature-themed art projects for children ages 5 to 10. On Saturday and Sunday families can hit the garden's indoor Cactus and Succulent House to sketch and paint the exotic plants, and then craft a desert scene out of sand and paint. On Tuesday, enjoy a family yoga session or tackle an array of creative art projects led by educators. Free with admission: $8 for adults, $2 for children 6 and up, free to all Saturday until noon and all day Tuesday.
Sword Dance Festival – Manhattan and Brooklyn
This jolly old English tradition features teams of dancers holding linked swords to create intricate patterns. NYC’s own Half Moon Sword troupe and many others perform in various Manhattan and Brooklyn locations. Saturday and Sunday only. FREE at most venues.
IndieCade East – Astoria
This three-day independent video game showcase is being held in conjunction with the Museum of the Moving Image's Spacewar! exhibit, and while it's not specifically for kids, children ages 6 and up are welcome to play a variety of titles. There are also video game design workshops for ages 10 and up. $15-$30 for adults, $10-$20 for students, free with museum admission of $6 for children ages 3-12.
The Princess Bride – Upper West Side
Film Society Lincoln Center screens Rob Reiner's 1987 comedy on Saturday and Sunday. Introduce your tweens to this new classic about the romantic reunion between a farm girl and a stable boy, and the high jinks of a giant, a swordsman and a Borscht Belt magician. $6
Saturday, February 16
MAD Family Fun Day – Midtown West
Inspired by the Museum of Art and Design's current exhibition, The Art of Scent—which features works that smell, literally—kids can create their own fragrance from scratch with the help of pros. And yes they will get a sample of their signature scent to take home. There will be tours of the exhibit, too. $30 per family
Circle of Love: Dads and Daughters Ball – Crown Heights
Due to last weekend's blizzard, the Brooklyn Children's Museum was forced to postpone its annual Valentine's Day-themed fete to this Saturday. Fathers and daughters, moms and sons can dress up and hit the dance floor, learn some new dance steps, take a professional photo, and meet PBS's Curious George. Advance tickets are a must! $27 per adult-child pair, $13.50 per additional child. VIP packages also available.
Super Sabado: Carnaval – East Harlem
Head to El Museo del Barrio to celebrate Carnaval family-style. Kids can dance the Cuban congo, create festive masks, hear Haitian folktales and music, and more. FREE
Arty Gras Festival – Hudson Square
Enjoy a G-rated Mardi Gras party at the Children's Museum of the Arts, where kids can create masks, noisemakers and colorful costumes, march around the museum to the beat of a live jazz band, and chow down on New Orleans-style snacks. Free with admission: $11
Happy 50th Birthday Clifford – Soho
Every preschooler's favorite oversize pooch celebrates the big 5-0 at the Scholastic Store today with face painting, cupcakes, crafts and a dance party. The big red dog himself will be there to pose for photos and meet his young fans. FREE
Medieval Arts Children’s Workshop – Morningside Heights
In the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine's popular workshop, kids can carve a block of limestone, make medieval illuminated letters, design gargoyles, weave and try other period crafts. $6 per adult-child pair.
Gutai: Splendid Playground Family Tour and Art Workshop – Upper East Side
In honor of the opening weekend of the Guggenheim's new exhibit, which showcases the work of avant-garde Japanese art collective Gutai, families can take kid-friendly tours and try an experimental art-making workshop. $30 per family
Cicada Family Day – Staten Island
The 17-year cicadas are set to return to NYC this spring and the Staten Island Museum is welcoming them with They're Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicada, a tongue-in-cheek exhibit honoring the insects through art and humor. At today's family day, kids can make cicada origami and antennae, watch a stop-motion puppet show and examine the bugs under a microscope. $2 plus museum admission: $5 for adults, free for children under age 12
Family Program: Bop Goes the Weasel – Prospect Heights
In honor of Black History Month, vocalist Christiana Drapkin sings jazz standards made famous by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at the Brooklyn Public Library's Dweck Center. FREE
Family Art Workshop: Explore the Work of Ignacio Uriarte – Soho
Families can explore the Drawing Center's exhibition Line of Work featuring art by Berlin-based artist Ignacio Uriarte, and then make their own creations. For children ages 6 to 10. FREE but advance registration required.
Sunday, February 17
Washington’s Birthday Ball – Upper East Side
Celebrate George Washington’s birthday 19th-century style at the historic Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden. Watch and learn country dances from the period, take a tour of the museum and enjoy some old-fashioned refreshments. Reservations recommended. $15 for adults, $10 for children under 12
Film Forum Jr: Frankenstein – Greenwich Village
Head to the Film Forum to watch Boris Karloff's legendary portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 classic. The feature is preceded by a 1953 animated short of Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart. Best for tweens and up. $7
Erin Lee and the Up Past Bedtime Band – Tribeca
Groove to the award-winning children’s band as they play tunes about the snowy season at 92YTribeca. $15
Poppy Seed Players: Poppy Seed Purim – Upper West Side
In honor of the upcoming Jewish holiday Purim, the Poppy Seed Players perform an interactive musical about the story of Queen Esther. $20
Kids Club Thirteen Presents Pippi – Upper West Side
Are you a member of Kids Club Thirteen? It certainly has its privileges, including free admission to 13 family events throughout the year, like today's offering at the Central Park's Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, where kids can catch Pippi followed by crafts. Read our post about Kids Club Thirteen for details on member benefits and how to join. Free for Kids Club Thirteen members.
Monday, February 18
President's Day Batik Bash – Park Slope
Join the Mommy Poppins gang at Hiho Batik for a creative meet-up where families can learn the basics of the ancient art form batik and make unique animal masks. Buying advance tickets is a must! $12 per family
Engineering Day – Corona
Spend the day building and tinkering at Queens' New York Hall of Science. Kids can make toothpick/gumdrop domes, bridges from paper and paper clips, towers from Jenga blocks and other cool creations. Free with admission: $11 for adults, $8 for children ages 2-17
History of Chocolate – Upper West Side
Hit the New-York Historical Society to watch educators grind cocoa beans for hot chocolate, and then customize your brew with red pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices. Free with admission: $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children ages 5-13
Holiday Monday at the Met – Upper East Side
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open on Monday in honor of the holiday, and offering family sketching programs throughout the day. Free with suggested admission: $25 for adults, free for children under 12
Staten Island Children’s Museum Cool School Holiday – Staten Island
If you've always wanted to check out this tot spot, go today: Due to the holiday, the museum is offering no-cost admission. FREE
Tuesday, February 19
NYC Compost Project in Queens: I Heart Worms For Kids – Flushing
Visit the Queens Botanical Garden to explore the red wiggler worm that is commonly used in composting, and make a compost cookie to feed your plants. $5
Sci-Tech Workshop: Soldering Circuits – Midtown East
Children ages 10 and up can hit the Sony Wonder Technology Lab for a hands-on soldering workshop. Participants will make their very own light-up key chains. $15
Polygraph Lounge: Bring the Kids – Greenwich Village
It's worth keeping the kids up on a school night for the hysterical musical duo. Mark Stewart and Rob Schwimmer, lifelong musicians and instrument makers, bring their comedic high jinks and acclaimed tunes to Joe's Pub for a family concert. In addition to using unique instruments of their own design, they'll play a didgeridoo, a theremin, a melodica, a grand piano and a nose whistle. $20 for adults, $12 for children under 12
Outside of NYC
Across the Hudson in Jersey City, the Liberty Science Center is debuting Avatar: The Exhibition. Visit the museum to learn about the technology behind the blockbuster through interactive installations and virtual props.
Since Long Island and parts of Connecticut are still buried under lots of snow from last weekend's blizzard, many events and activities may be canceled. Be sure to check with the organizers before heading out.
Don’t forget: There are lots of other options in our Event Calendar.
- Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festivals in New York City: Moon Cakes and Flying Lanterns
- Passover Events and Celebrations for New York City Kids
- Things for Kids & Families to Do in New York City February 5 - 6: Year of the Rabbit, Winter Jam, Crafts, Creatures & Music
- Mostly Free & Fun Things to Do with Westchester Kids this Weekend: Greek, German, Renaissance Fests & More, Sept. 14 - 15