Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: February GoList

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

Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 15 things to do with kids in New York City this February, plus a dozen more great events happening this month.

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 fest 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 of all ages. We made sure to highlight a range of options, whether you have toddlers, elementary schoolers, or tweens.

Given that the February school break is coming up, you might also want to check out our Camp Directory and Day Trip and Family Getaway Guide, including ski trips.

You can find more seasonal fun in our NYC Winter Activities Guide and our daily Event Calendar.

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.

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Thunderbird American Indian Dance Concert and Powwow – East Village
Friday, February 2-Sunday, February 11
Dive deep into traditional Native American dance styles: Highlights will include storytelling, a Stomp Dance from the Southeastern tribes, a Shawl Dance from the Oklahoma tribes, a Deer Dance from the Yaqui Tribes of Southern Arizona, and more. Evening performances end with audience members joining dancers on stage for a Friendship Dance. Bonus: Tickets for kids under 12 are $1 when purchased with adult admission ($12).


Take a break from the films and enjoy the extra activities from coloring to virtual reality experiences and live performances. Photo courtesy of BAM

BAMkids Film Festival – Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Saturday, February 3-Sunday, February 4
BAM Rose Cinemas hosts its 20th annual family film fest, featuring 56 shorts and full-length movies from around the world. Along with films, families can enjoy FREE activities in the Opera House Lobby, including face painters, balloon twisters, roving entertainers, and live performers. Buying tickets in advance is recommended, and sadly, some events have sold out already.

RELATED: Best Winter Events for NYC Preschoolers and Tots


Kids will love learning about life in Japan in the engaging, immersive exhibit "Hello from Japan" at The Children's Museum of Manhattan in February 2108,  Photo courtesy of CMOM

Hello From Japan! — Upper West Side
Saturday, February 3
The popular "Hello From Japan!" exhibit returns to the Children's Museum of Manhattan's first floor gallery with new art and objects, a manga studio, and a hands-on origami workshop. The popular exhibit transports families to two distinct areas of Tokyo that exist side by side: Kawaii Central is a streetscape inspired by Tokyo’s bustling Harajuku district, bursting with color and trendy shops, while the natural Shinto shrine park invites children to crawl through a forest and make a wish at a wishing tree.


Sing and dance along with your favorite characters at Sesame Street Live! Let's Party! Photo Courtesy of the show

Sesame Street Live! Let's Party! — Midtown West
Friday, February 9-Monday, February 19
The gang from Sesame Street is throwing a party, and you and your preschoolers are VIP guests! Families can sing and dance along with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Cookie Monster. Even Oscar the Grouch gets down at this shindig hosted by live emcees Casey and Caleb. But while everybody loves a party, people (and Muppets!) have different ways they like to celebrate. Can everyone cooperate to make this the best bash ever? Interactive bits abound in this brand-new show at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.


Kids will be astonished by the out of this world acrobatics performed by the U.K.'s Barely Methodical Troupe. Photo courtesy of the troupe

Bromance — Midtown West
Friday, February 9–Sunday, February 25
Three gravity-defying acrobats take to the New Victory stage, drawing on their talents in parkour, martial arts, circus, and break-dancing to wow audiences with stunning feats and daring tricks. For children with sensory sensitivities, there's an autism-friendly performance on Saturday, February 10.

"Love Is the Message" Valentine's Day Dance Party — West Village
Saturday, February 10
At this dance party series for kids, NYC nightclubs are transformed into a kid-centric daytime party space where families together can listen & dance to DJs, see live performances, and experience a nightclub environment in a safe controlled daytime setting. This one has a Valentine's Dance Party theme, with 11-year-old DJ Alden spinning dance remixes of kids' favorite pop songs. CirKiz events are focused on kids 7-13 years of age, however, all children and parents accompanied by them are welcome.


The Lunar New Year Parade in Flushing Queens. Photo by Dave Bledsoe via Flickr

Lunar New Year Celebrations — Chinatown
Sunday, February 16-Sunday, February 25
While there are lots of ways to welcome the Year of the Dog throughout February, including parades in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, two bookends worth attending: the Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony on February 16 and Chinatown's Lunar New York Parade and Festival on February 25, which 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. FREE


This ultimate LEGO event comes to NYC for one week only! Photo courtesy of LEGO Live!

Lego Live NYC — Lower East Side
Friday, February 16–Sunday, February 18
Lego fans, rejoice! The ultimate Lego event heads to New York City for one weekend only. Fans of all ages can spend hours elbow deep in 4.6 million bricks. Learn tips and tricks from a master Lego builder or spend the day exploring, designing, and building at one of the many themed stations. Take your Lego experience to new heights with mechanized bricks and join coding experts to learn how to program your models. Ninja fans will love the Lego Ninjago-themed arena; Minecrafters can build their own universe using hands-on bricks, or virtually at one of the consoles; Star Wars fans can build a spacecraft—the possibilities are endless.

Japanese Snow Festival — Upper West Side
Saturday, February 17–Sunday, February 25
The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) is one of Japan’s most popular winter festivals. and the Children's Museum of Manhattan is hosting its own Japanese Snow Festival. All week long, take part in programs like ice-cream making, drumming, and snow sculpting and experience performances and workshops by dancers, musicians, chefs, and artists who will share the art forms and traditions of Japan.

Washington's Birthday Ball — Upper East Side
Sunday, February 18
Celebrate the birthday of the original POTUS 19th-century style at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden. It's a lovely little historic building, and walking into it gives you the sense you've stepped back in time. To honor George's big day, there is period music and costumed dancers, and kids are encouraged to learn new steps and join in. A kid-friendly tour, family scavenger hunt, and refreshments are included. Reservations are recommended.

Kids Week at NYC Parks — Citywide
Monday, February 19–Friday, February 23
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. Head to the park and join Urban Park Rangers FREE “Kids Week” programs, which includes tent building, wildlife Olympics, knot tying, animal tracking and more—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: Winter Fun List: 50 Things to Do Indoors with NYC Kids


Kids Week at the Intrepid is for curious kids of all ages and interests. Photo courtesy of the museum

Kids Week at the Intrepid — Midtown West
Sunday, February 18-Saturday, February 24
Another fabulous way to keep kids occupied during midwinter break: the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's annual vacation celebration. This weeklong festival is designed just for kids, with hands-on activities exploring the theme of science and the art of games. This year's highlights include presentations by Mad Science, a demo by the Brooklyn Cyclones; performances of The Very Hungry Caterpillar; readings by children's book authors; and talks and tours led by educators and scientists. Events are included with admission. Buy one adult general admission ticket and get one child ticket for free online with our promo code: MPOPPIN-KIDS — see the event listing for full details.

Frozen the Broadway Musical — Times Square
Previews begin Friday, February 22
We just can't let it go—Frozen heads to Broadway! We announced this last fall as the frenzy immediately kicked into high gear. Journey with Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven to Arendelle as this classic tale of love and the bond between sisters unfolds with dazzling costumes, beloved songs from the film, and brand new music we expect will be equally spectacular.

New York International Children's Film Festival — Manhattan
Friday, February 23-Sunday, March 18
Held at multiple Manhattan venues, this annual fest features more than 100 kids' flicks from around the globe. If any of the screenings in the extensive lineup tickle your fancy, don't delay! Tickets are already on sale and many popular programs sell out quickly. There are options for all ages, including shorts 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. Readers of Mommy Poppins can gain a $2 discount per ticket by using this code: *18MOMPOP (include the asterisk).


Young BAM visitors watch themselves on a screen at Teknopolis 2017. Photo by Rebecca Greenfield/BAM

Teknopolis— Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Saturday, February 24-Sunday, March 11
Get ready to enter a high-tech wonderland as BAMkids hosts a cutting-edge, two-floor digital playground. Technology and the arts fuse to create a variety of immersive and interactive installations such as virtual reality adventures, motion capture stations, and digital environments you manipulate with your body. Tickets are sold in 90-minute slots, and this event sold out when it debuted in 2017.

Honorable Mentions

NYC always has so many incredible things going on that it's difficult to choose. Here are 13 more cool events that are worth considering for your February calendar. 

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

Get your girls moving on Saturday, February 3 at NYC Park's "She's On Point! A Celebration of Girls in Sports" with a slew of athletics. FREE

Relevant to these times, the performance Constellarium explores what it means to be a refugee after Earth is destroyed and its citizens must take shelter on a new planet. Opens Saturday, February 3.

Follow in the footsteps of young wizards with a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt through the halls of Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 10.

Take in the feminist fairy tale with your daughter at This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing from Atlantic for Kids, Saturday, February 10–Sunday, March 4.

On February 10, get your Valentine's Day crafts at Wave Hill going by listening to the tale of small, gentle Beluga whales, then make a stuffed sock-puppet version for a heartwarming gift. FREE until noon

Cuddle up with adorable doggies at the annual AKC Meet the Breeds, part of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, on Saturday, February 10.

Learn exactly how The Pneumatic Subway works (spoiler: air!) with cool opportunities to build your own at the New York Transit Museum beginning Friday, February 16.

Check out Black Gotham Experience, a visual storytelling project celebrating the impact of African diaspora on New York City launching Monday, February 19 that incorporates interactive walking tours, graphic novels, and exhibits.

Enjoy no-cost admission and special nature activities at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during its February Break Discovery Days, Monday, February 19-Thursday, February 22. FREE

Watch as Spidey, Thor, and more superheroes take the stage for Marvel Universe Live! at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Thursday, February 22–Sunday, February 25.

In celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday, join Barnes & Noble Tribeca for a storytime featuring coloring, activities, and more on Saturday, February 24. FREE

Educate your kids early: Groove to everything from "Foxy Lady" to "Jam Back at the House" when Wilco's Nels Cline pays tribute to Jimi Hendrix at Brooklyn Music School on Saturday, February 24.

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