Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: February GoList

New York City Family Kids Events February 2016: Presidents Weekend, Winter Break

We are in the middle of updating this post for 2017. Please check back in late January

Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 14 things to do with kids in New York City this February, a few of which are FREE.

Even though it's the shortest month, there are still plenty of awesome family activities in NYC. Our February GoList includes annual favorites such as Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade; the Intrepid's activity-filled Kids Week during public school midwinter break; and the city's biggest movie fests for families: the New York International Children's Film Festival. And, of course, there are some brand-new, exceptional-sounding shows, concerts, and other special experiences for kids.

Find more seasonal fun in our NYC Winter Guide for Families.

If an event piques your interest, click through to our listing for all the details, including address, time and recommended ages. And remember: Cool things to do with kids in NYC often book up quickly, so buy your tickets ASAP, or, in the case of FREE events, arrive as early as possible.

Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live — Greenwich Village
Saturday, February 4-Sunday, February 5
If you know any dino lovers, this show at the Skirball Center is for them. Meet an incredibly lifelike collection of prehistoric creatures, brought to life via realistic puppets and skilled puppeteers. Developed by Erth Visual & Physical of Sydney, Australia with expert advice from working paleontologists, this educational theatrical adventure gives audiences an in-depth look at these extinct creatures. VIP packages come with a pre-show meet and greet during which guests can actually touch the dinosaurs.

Science Fiction, Science Future — Corona
Saturday, February 4-May
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Chinatown Lunar New York Parade and Festival — Chinatown
Sunday, February 5
If you weren't able to hit the Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony, Chinatown's annual parade is another great way to celebrate. While there are lots of ways to welcome the Year of the Monkey throughout the month, including parades in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Chinatown's annual shindig is the biggest of them all. More than a half-million spectators are expected to line the streets for the pan-Asian spectacle, 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 festive and loud affair that's way too crowded for strollers and probably a bit much for preschoolers. After you've seen your fill, head to Sara D. Roosevelt Park 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, are insanely busy. FREE

RELATED: Best Winter Events for NYC Preschoolers and Tots

Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower — Upper West Side
Saturday, February 18
Catch popular kiddie folkster Elizabeth Mitchell and her band, You Are My Flower, live at Symphony Space. Enjoy listening to her soft and sweet renditions of classics from Woody Guthrie, Bob Marley and The Velvet Underground.

Please Bring Balloons — Midtown West
Saturday, February 18-Sunday, March 5
Ages 2-5
New York City Children's Theater debuts a new show inspired by Lindsay Ward’s picture book of the same name, about a little girl who helps a carousel animal realize his dream of flying. Due to its whimsical story and half-hour run time, this interactive, multisensory experience is ideal for first-time theatergoers.

RELATED: NYC Indoor Play Gyms and Sports Zones for Kids

The Big Family Quiz Thing at the New-York Historical Society lets kids show off their trivia skills. Photo by Flip Wolak/courtesy of the society.

The Big Quiz Thing’s Presidents’ Day Family Trivia Spectacular — Upper West Side
Monday, February 20
Grown-up multimedia trivia extravaganza The Big Quiz Thing goes to the kids with a POTUS-themed family competition at the New-York Historical Society. Test your knowledge of past, present and possible future presidents via questions and video and audio puzzles—all in attendance get to play and vie for prizes. Although those with a cursory knowledge of our nation's leaders likely can figure out many of the queries, points are awarded for colorful answers so your kid's rep as class clown may come in handy. Afterward, stick around and explore the Dimenna Children's History Museum and other Historical Society exhibits.

Kids Week at NYC Parks — Citywide
Monday, February 20-Friday, February 24
NYC public school kids are off for midwinter break this week. While there are plenty of fun things to do inside, don't forget the great outdoors. Throughout the week, Urban Park Rangers lead enriching and educational programs at nature centers in all five boroughs at no cost. Locations and activities vary so check the Parks Department's website or call your local center for additional details. FREE

RELATED: 8 Favorite Family Skiing Spots Near NYC


Watch as space suits and zero gravity are demonstrated during Kids Week at the Intrepid. Photo by Erika Kapin/courtesy the museum.

Kids Week at the Intrepid — Midtown West
Monday, February 20-Saturday, February 25
Another fabulous way to keep kids occupied during midwinter break: the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's annual vacation celebration. This year's theme is Extreme Environments, and families can enjoy enriching activities throughout the week, including geeky demos by Mad Science and the Franklin Institute; high-tech workshops and talks; live birds of prey; author readings and fun hands-on activities such as making Rube Goldberg machines. Activities are free with admission and you can snag FREE kids' tickets with this coupon.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Out of This World — Fort Greene
Thursday, February 23-Friday, March 3
Last Ringling show after 146 years

New York International Children's Film Festival — Manhattan
Friday, February 24-Sunday, March 19
Held at a handful of Manhattan venues, this annual fest features a host of kids' flicks from around the globe. Tickets went on sale Thursday, January 25. Screenings often sell out quickly so check the schedule and buy tickets right away. There are options for all ages, including shorts programs and dubbed foreign films. There are often pre- or post-show Q&As with the filmmakers and other special events, and everyone gets voting ballots to help select the festival winners.

The Gustafer Yellowgold Show — Upper West Side
Saturday, February 25
Singer, songwriter, artist, dad and newly minted Grammy nominee Morgan Taylor hits Symphony Space along with his band and Gustafer, his little yellow animated alter ego from the sun. We've been raving about his shows for years: They're equal parts concert and cartoon, as Gustafer's animated adventures are accompanied by groovy, Beatles-like tunes. It's perfect for preschoolers.

Ear, Nose, and Tail — Park Slope
Saturday, February 25-Sunday, February 26
Ages 0-5
Another dog story, though this one is about a pup with an identity crisis. Brooklyn-based Spellbound Theatre specializes in shows for very young audiences, eschewing dialog for potent visuals crafted by shadow puppetry, animation, and projection, as the canine transforms into whatever he wants. Tots, who are constantly in the midst of changing, will undoubtedly relate.

Teknopolis 2017 — Fort Greene
Saturday, February 25-Sunday, March 12
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Rock and Roll Playhouse: STEVENSTEVEN — Williamsburg
Sunday, February 26
Steven Drozd from the Flaming Lips & Steve Burns, the original host of Blue's Clues.

Honorable Mentions

NYC always has so many incredible things going on that it's difficult to choose. Here are 10 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 takes place daily in February.

Rise with the sun to find out whether Staten Island Chuck predicts an early spring on Groundhog Day, Thursday, February 2, at the Staten Island Zoo. FREE

Learn how rain, sun, sleet, snow, and other weather phenomenon impact our environment at the Children's Museum of Manhattan's new exibit Weather or Not, That is the Question, which opens on Wednesday, February 2.

Marvel at our city's inked past at the opening weekend of the New-York Historical Society's Tattooed New York on Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 5.

Catch the Disney classic Fantastia and then enjoy a related art-making activity in conjunction with the Whitney's exhibit Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016 on Saturday, February 4.

Put on your dancing shoes and hit the Bronx Museum of the arts to Get Down in the Boogie Down with It's Showtime NYC on Friday, February 10. FREE

Cuddle up with adorable doggies at the annual AKC Meet the Breeds, part of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, on Saturday, February 11.

Sing along to NYC-themed preschooler hits like "Taxi" at David Weinstone & the Music for Aardvarks Band concert at the Jewish Museum on Sunday, February 12.

Stop and smell (and see!) the gorgeous flowers at the opening weekend of New York Botanical Garden's The Orchid Show: Thailand on Saturday, February 18-Sunday, February 19.

Enjoy no-cost admission and special nature activities to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during its February Break Discovery Days, Monday, February 20-Thursday, February 23. FREE

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