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Free things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014

With our guide to free things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break, your brood can have fun without spending a dime.

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Jerry Acton, courtesy Audubon Society

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Great Backyard Bird Count

 

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Photograph: Courtesy The Scholastic Store

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Clifford's Valentine's Day

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Courtesy Harlem Food Truck Rally

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Harlem Food Truck Rally

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Photograph: Etienne Frossard

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Greenlight Saturday Storytime

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Photograph: Courtesy of the Sony Wonder Technology Lab

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Sony Wonder Tech Lab Screenings

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Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Fractured Fables Puppet Theatre

7/17
Photograph: Gary Blaine

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: "Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!"

8/17
Image: Alan Richards

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: "Get the Picture" at QBG

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Rendering: Hernan Rivera and Ivan Navarro. Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery. 

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014:  Ivan Navarro's This Land Is Your Land in Madison Square Park

10/17
Photographer: Graham S. Haber

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: "The Little Prince: A New York Story"

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Photograph: Rosalie O'Connor

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: The Beauty of Ballet

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Courtesy National Museum of the

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison

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Photograph: Beth Levendis

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: New York Transit Museum Train Show

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Photograph: Andrew Kelly

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Humans Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering at New York Hall of Science

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Courtesy Fondazione Cassa di ris

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: Italian Futurism at the Guggenheim

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 Image

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: "Cabinets of Wonder" show at the Children's Museum of the Arts

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Photograph: courtesy the National Film Archive

Things to do in NYC with kids over mid-winter break 2014: "Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module"

Keeping the kids busy over mid-winter break without going through loads of cash can be a challenge. That's why we've put together a list of the best fun and free things to do in NYC with kids over the February recess, including everything from new exhibits to storytimes and free museum hours.

RECOMMENDED: 18 free things to do in NYC with kids this winter

Saturday, February 15

Great Backyard Bird Count

Half walk, half scavenger hunt, this 17th annual event brings children and adults together to tally up the red-tailed hawks, robins and pheasants that call the garden home. Ages 5 and up.

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Clifford's Valentine's Day

Celebrate V-Day with Clifford by making cards sealed with a kiss for loved ones. Kids struck with puppy love can join the big red dog himself for a parade around the store and snuggle up against the pup as Clifford poses for photos. Ages 3 and up.

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Harlem Food Truck Rally

Frederick Douglass Blvd between 117th and 118th Sts. Admission is free to this outdoor fest, where after chowing down on goodies from Wafels & Dinges, Gorilla GReese, Nuchas, Palenque, Toum, Shorty's, Diso's, Luke's and Hibachi Heaven, families can get in on arts and crafts while keeping warm, thanks to plenty of space heaters. All ages.

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Fractured Fables Puppet Theatre

At this interactive puppet show, the audience chooses the story! Tots pick which classic fairy tale the puppeteers will perform, and help with the ending's comedic twist. Ages 2 to 8.

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Greenlight Saturday Storytime 2014

Kids' authors and illustrators (or staffers from Brooklyn's family-friendly Greenlight Bookstore) sit down with kids and their caregivers to read from their own picture books (or their favorites), be they classics or brand-new creations. Chani Sanchez presents There Are NO Animals in This Book (Only Feelings) (Feb 1), a children's book that explores emotions through contemporary art; Brooklyn-based artist Sean Qualls reads from his Lullaby (For a Black Mother) (Feb 8); Brooklyn artist-cartoonist George O'Connor introduces kids to Greek goddess Aphrodite with his graphic novel Aphrodite: Goddess of Love (Feb 15); and author-illlustrator Bob Shea presents Budy and the Bunny in: Don't Play with Your Food (Feb 22). Ages 3 to 8.

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Sunday, February 16

"Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering"

Admission to NYSCI is free today from 10am to 11am! Engineering may sound like a boring field, which is just what this kid-friendly exhibition sets out to dispel with examples of how people have use various technologies to enable people to do something better, easier—or just plain do it at all. Among the highlights: a hands-free computer mouse, controlled by subtle movements of the head and a limb that can be controlled by a person's thoughts. A particularly fun activity for kids is the Caring for Your Pet station, where they can create a tool with which a wheelchair user can pick up his or her pet's bowl. Ages 4 and up.

Read more

Fractured Fables Puppet Theatre

At this interactive puppet show, the audience chooses the story! Tots pick which classic fairy tale the puppeteers will perform, and help with the ending's comedic twist. Ages 2 to 8.

Read more

Greenlight Baby Storytime 2014

Children's performers—including songstresses Miss Nina, The Good Ms. Padgett and Vered—entertain babies and toddlers with stories, music and interactive play on Sunday mornings. Ages 6 weeks to 3 years.

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New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

Within Grand Central Terminal you’ll find the New York Transit Museum’s 12th annual Holiday Train Show, an ode to all kinds of locomotives.Kids will feel positively giant while wandering around the 34-foot-long display, festooned with miniature versions of city landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. Watch as Lionel model trains travel over the river (the East River, to be exact) and through the wood to reach their final destination, the north pole. All ages.

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Monday, February 17–Wednesday, February 19

"Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!"

On the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four arriving stateside, the Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Grammy Museum showcase memorabilia, recordings, videos and photos of the mop-topped musicians, and the Beatlemania that followed them. It's the perfect way to introduce kids to everybody's favorite band. Ages 5 and up.

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"Get the Picture?"

Head into the garden's Visitor & Administration Building Gallery to see NYC-born artist Alan Richard's colorful, quirky composite photos. Kids will appreciate the humor found in combining two seemingly silly elements in the frame. Note that that garden is closed on Monday. All ages.

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New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

Within Grand Central Terminal you’ll find the New York Transit Museum’s 12th annual Holiday Train Show, an ode to all kinds of locomotives.Kids will feel positively giant while wandering around the 34-foot-long display, festooned with miniature versions of city landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. Watch as Lionel model trains travel over the river (the East River, to be exact) and through the wood to reach their final destination, the north pole. All ages.

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Thursday, February 20

Pay As You Wish: "Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module"

Get in on the New Museum's pay-as-you-wish hours, today from 7pm to 9pm! The entire fifth floor of the New Museum will morph into an Enterprise-like spaceship interior thanks to the constructive nostalgia of Eastern European artist collective Tranzit. Artwork by its various members will be installed throughout the museum in a way that blurs the borders between science fiction art and anthropology. Kids are bound to love the sense of strangeness and excitement the space is sure to elicit. Ages 5 and up.

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Pay As You Wish: "Cabinets of Wonder: The Art of Collecting"

Pay what you wish at the Children's Museum of the Arts today from 4pm to 6pm! CMA's latest show mounts a group of works by contemporary artists made up of objects found in everyday life and nature that have been collected and put together to create something new. The pieces on view, which reflect their creators' common love of collecting and a distinct affinity with 19th-century Wunderkamer (cabinets of curiosity) are meant to inspire kids to start a personal collection of their own. All ages.

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Iván Navarro: This Land Is Your Land

Mad Sq. Park's latest art installation, Chilean-born Iván Navarro's This Land Is Your Land, is a series of three water towers set within the confines of the park. Each of them is lit up from within with neon signage that repeats infinitely thanks to a set of internal mirrors. Visitors can have a look inside by walking right under the 80-foot-tall towers, an experience that's bound to be as cool as it is spooky. All ages.

Read more

"Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!"

On the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four arriving stateside, the Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Grammy Museum showcase memorabilia, recordings, videos and photos of the mop-topped musicians, and the Beatlemania that followed them. It's the perfect way to introduce kids to everybody's favorite band. Ages 5 and up.

Read more

Friday, February 21

Friday Singalong with Jarrod

Tots can cozy up in the kids' section of Greenlight while Jarrod (with his trusty guitar in hand) sings and tells his favorite stories for young bookworms. Ages 6 weeks to 3 years.

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"The Little Prince: A New York Story"

Admission to the Morgan is free tonight from 7 to 9pm. Most people are familiar with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved story about an asteroid-hopping boy and his flower, but not many know that the French author wrote and published the illustrated novella in New York City at the the height of World War II. To celebrate the writer-aviator’s time here, the Morgan is curating an exhibition featuring his working manuscript and drawings, letters to and from family members about his progress, and other ephemera.

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Dora the Explorer: Dora's Slumber Party

Enjoy two back-to-back episodes of the Nick Jr. animated series, starting with "Dora the Explorer: Little Star" when Dora and Boots set out to help Little Star get back in the sky so everyone can make a bedtime wish. Next up is "Dora the Explorer: Dora Had A Little Lamb," in which Dora and her sidekick help Little Lamb find its way back to Mary in the pages of a nursery rhyme book.

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Iván Navarro: This Land Is Your Land

Mad Sq. Park's latest art installation, Chilean-born Iván Navarro's This Land Is Your Land, is a series of three water towers set within the confines of the park. Each of them is lit up from within with neon signage that repeats infinitely thanks to a set of internal mirrors. Visitors can have a look inside by walking right under the 80-foot-tall towers, an experience that's bound to be as cool as it is spooky. All ages.

Read more

"Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering"

Admission to NYSCI is free today from 2pm to 5pm! Engineering may sound like a boring field, which is just what this kid-friendly exhibition sets out to dispel with examples of how people have use various technologies to enable people to do something better, easier—or just plain do it at all. Among the highlights: a hands-free computer mouse, controlled by subtle movements of the head and a limb that can be controlled by a person's thoughts. A particularly fun activity for kids is the Caring for Your Pet station, where they can create a tool with which a wheelchair user can pick up his or her pet's bowl. Ages 4 and up.

Read more

Saturday, February 22

Pay As You Wish: "Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe"

The Guggenheim hosts pay-as-you-wish hours today from 5:45pm to 7:45pm! On the heels of the Guggenheim's show about the Japanese postwar collective Gutai last spring comes another nationally focused exhibition, this time on the Italian-based movement of Futurism. Families can take in more than 300 works made between 1909 and 1944, from advertising and fashion to ceramics, film, painting and sculpture, which will be presented chronologically. Ages 5 and up.

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Fractured Fables Puppet Theatre

At this interactive puppet show, the audience chooses the story! Tots pick which classic fairy tale the puppeteers will perform, and help with the ending's comedic twist. Ages 2 to 8.

Read more

Greenlight Saturday Storytime 2014

Kids' authors and illustrators (or staffers from Brooklyn's family-friendly Greenlight Bookstore) sit down with kids and their caregivers to read from their own picture books (or their favorites), be they classics or brand-new creations. Chani Sanchez presents There Are NO Animals in This Book (Only Feelings) (Feb 1), a children's book that explores emotions through contemporary art; Brooklyn-based artist Sean Qualls reads from his Lullaby (For a Black Mother) (Feb 8); Brooklyn artist-cartoonist George O'Connor introduces kids to Greek goddess Aphrodite with his graphic novel Aphrodite: Goddess of Love (Feb 15); and author-illlustrator Bob Shea presents Budy and the Bunny in: Don't Play with Your Food (Feb 22). Ages 3 to 8.

Read more

Sunday, February 23

The Beauty of Ballet

The world-famous School of American Ballet brings kids a memorable introduction to the world of leotards and pink tutus. Members of the SAB will answer questions, illustrate how talented students become classical dancers and perform excerpts from The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty. Ages 4 and up.

Read more

"Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering"

Admission to NYSCI is free today from 10am to 11am! Engineering may sound like a boring field, which is just what this kid-friendly exhibition sets out to dispel with examples of how people have use various technologies to enable people to do something better, easier—or just plain do it at all. Among the highlights: a hands-free computer mouse, controlled by subtle movements of the head and a limb that can be controlled by a person's thoughts. A particularly fun activity for kids is the Caring for Your Pet station, where they can create a tool with which a wheelchair user can pick up his or her pet's bowl. Ages 4 and up.

Read more

Fractured Fables Puppet Theatre

At this interactive puppet show, the audience chooses the story! Tots pick which classic fairy tale the puppeteers will perform, and help with the ending's comedic twist. Ages 2 to 8.

Read more

Greenlight Baby Storytime 2014

Children's performers—including songstresses Miss Nina, The Good Ms. Padgett and Vered—entertain babies and toddlers with stories, music and interactive play on Sunday mornings. Ages 6 weeks to 3 years.

Read more

Last chance: "Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison"

The National Museum of the American Indian may not seem a likely place to see colorful, abstract work by a 20th-century modernist, but that’s just what lies in store for families there this fall. “Modern Spirit,” which originated at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, is a retrospective of work by the Minnesota-born artist George Morrison: paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures that reveal a fascination with landscape and horizon and resonate with a distinctive combination of calm intimacy and the energy of the Abstract Expressionists. Kids will especially love Morrison’s exuberant use of color and light. All ages.

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