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Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

Mid-winter break may be short this year for public school students, but there are still tons of fun activities to keep kids busy during the 2013 recess.

  • Courtesy the Historic Division of Mars

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    The History of Chocolate with American Heritage Chocolate

  • Photograph: Noah Fecks

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Watson Adventures: Grand Central Scramble Family Scavenger Hunt

  • Photograph: John Aquino/The Jewish Museum

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Colors & Rhythm Remix

  • Photograph: Jon Miller

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Intrepid Kids Week

  • Images courtesy the Guggenheim

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Shiraga Kazuo, "Work II" in "Gutai: Splendid Playground" at the Guggenheim

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    "Avatar: The Exhibition" Liberty Science Center

  • Photograph: Marie Mascia-Mancl

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life

  • Photo credit: Michael Falco, Courtesy of the SI Borough President's Office

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    "They're Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas"

  • Courtesy New-York Historical Society

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Presidents in Residence at the New-York Historical Society

  • Photograph: Jeff Larkin

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Bunnicula

  • Courtesy the National Museum of the American Indian

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    2013 Animation Celebration! Looking North

  • Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    "Curious George: Let's Get Curious"

  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    "Face to Face" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Douglas McBride

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    The Mark of Zorro

  • Photograph: Sun Productions

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Show Way

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    City Bakery's Hot Chocolate Festival

  • Photograph: Courtesy of VEE Corporation

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    Sesame Street Live: Elmo's Super Heroes

  • Photograph: T.A. Smith

    Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

    The Prince & The Magic Flute

Courtesy the Historic Division of Mars

Mid-winter break: Best things to do over Presidents' Day weekend

The History of Chocolate with American Heritage Chocolate

Monday, February 18

The History of Chocolate with American Heritage Chocolate

Families get a chance to smell, see, make and taste colonial hot chocolate at this workshop with American Heritage Chocolate educators, who'll be grinding cacao beans and mixing in spices like nutmeg and red pepper as they heat up samples kids can try. All ages.

  1. DiMenna Children's History Museum 170 Central Park West, at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street)
  2. Until Mon Feb 17
More info

Engineering Day

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

To illustrate the principles of engineering, NYSCI invites kids to lend a hand with tabletop construction projects, including a gumdrop dome (made out of candy and toothpicks) and a skyscraper of Jenga blocks (hey, this could come in handy!). All ages.

  1. New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St, at 47th Ave, 11368
  2. Until Mon Feb 18
More info

Watson Adventures: Grand Central Scramble Family Scavenger Hunt

  • Price band: 2/4

Kids and adults go on an elaborate hunt to uncover the secrets of the world’s most famous train station, including mysterious markings in the ceiling’s constellation, a “ghost train” and more. Ages 7 and up.

  1. Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse 42nd St to 44th St, between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves
  2. Until Sat Jun 15
More info

Colors & Rhythm Remix

  • Price band: 1/4

Check out the mixed-media “wall carpets” at the museum’s “Sharon Lockhard | Noa Eshkol” exhibition, then make your own wearable version by cutting out shapes of fabric and creating a collage on a t-shirt or hat. Ages 4 and up.

  1. The Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave, at 92nd St, 10128
  2. Mon Feb 18 - Thu Feb 21
More info

Intrepid Kids Week

The West Side vessel sponsors nine days of kid-friendly activities, including special themed events like Under the Big Top Weekend (Feb 16 and 17), featuring Ringling Bros. performers, Science Meets Science Fiction Day (Feb 18), featuring a special Gazillion Bubble Show and a demonstration by a NASA scientist, and On Broadway (Feb 19), with performances by cast members from Peter and the Starcatcher, Annie, and Cinderella. The rest of the week features Intrepid Ports of Call Day (Feb 20–22), where kids travel around the world to each of the Intrepid's ports, and Sports n' Games Weekend (Feb 23 and 24), with appearances by the New York Jets and Rangers. Ages 7 to 17.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, at 46th St
  2. Sun Feb 23
More info

Presidents' Day at CMA

Little ones channel our country's commanders-in-chief as they write and record presidential speeches, design their own currency and create a flag. They'll also pay homage to their favorite presidents by producing stop-motion animation films and sculpting their likenesses in clay. All ages.

  1. Children's Museum of the Arts 103 Charlton St, between Greenwich and Hudson Sts, 10014
  2. Mon Feb 18 - Tue Feb 19
More info

Presidents' Day at CMOM

  • Price band: 1/4

Today's event will have young citizens learning about the First Amendment and civil liberties as they join in hands-on activities like designing campaign buttons and meeting costumed actors dressed as former commanders-in-chief and first ladies. All ages.

  1. Children's Museum of Manhattan 212 W 83rd St, between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway, 10024
  2. Until Mon Feb 17
More info

Purim in the Palace

  • Price band: 1/4

Families are invited to get into the spirit of Purim with special drop-in offerings at the Jewish Children's Museum. Kids can join in a storytelling session with Queen Esther, search for King Achashverosh's signet ring, design their own Purim crown or mask, and make a Purim friendship basket for a special someone. Ages 2 to 12.

  1. Jewish Children's Museum 792 Eastern Pkwy, at Kingston Ave
  2. Until Tue Feb 19
More info

"Gutai: Splendid Playground"

The first major retrospective of the post-WWII Japanese art movement Gutai, a show in the Gugg's rotunda, will feature the innovative group's painting, installation art, performance, film, kinetic art and environment art in a decidedly interactive, kid-friendly way. The work Please Draw Freely invites viewers to draw on it, while a box dispenses original works of art. All ages.

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St, 10128
  2. Fri Feb 15 - Wed May 8
More info

"Avatar: The Exhibition"

Fans of Avatar (2009), director James Cameron's now legendary film (it's the highest-grossing theatrical release of all time), won't want to miss this exhibition on the whys and hows of its creation. Savvy kids will learn about motion capture and 3-D technologies via interactive installations and original props from the movie. Ages 8 and up.

  1. Liberty Science Center 222 Jersey City Blvd, between Philip and Wilson Sts
  2. Sat Feb 16 - Sun May 19
More info

My Mom Is Trying To Ruin My Life

  • Price band: 1/4

Tweens will relate to this coming-of-age musical comedy that pokes fun at motherly quirks. Emma is convinced her mom is trying to ruin her life with her loud talking and constant kisses, but she soon discovers there's more to her mother's affection. Ages 9 and up.

  1. WorkShop Theater 312 W 36th St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves, fourth floor , 10018
  2. Until Sun Mar 10
More info

Charles H. Tally Holiday Monday at the Met

Head to the met on holiday Mondays for art-based discussions and sketching. Ages 5 to 12.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Until Mon Apr 14
More info

"They're Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas"

  • Price band: 1/4

This exhibit all about cicadas, the noisy flying creatures, looks at why the genus Magicicad is called the 17-year cicada—and why they're coming back this spring. It will also let kids in on what the phenomenon looks like and what it has to teach humans. Check out the light sculpture Magicicada Staten Island Variation by artist Brendon Ballengée, a light sculpture set up in the museum's courtyard to attract the bugs and entymologists-in-training. All ages.

  1. Staten Island Museum 75 Stuyvesant Pl, at Wall St
  2. Sat Feb 16 - Tue Dec 31
More info

Presidents in Residence!

  • Price band: 1/4

Keep busy during the midwinter break with a week-long celebration of the country's commanders-in-chief. Tots will search for presidential clues on a museum-wide scavenger hunt, create an election button and slogan for their future campaign, and compete in a Presidents' quiz for the whole family. All ages.

  1. New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, between 76th and 77th Sts
  2. Sun Feb 23
More info

Bunnicula

  • Price band: 2/4

This musical tells the story of the Monroe family, who take in an orphaned rabbit only to discover that their adorable new pet may be a vampire. You haven’t seen a bunny so dangerous since Monty Python and the Holy Grail! Get tickets online, by phone, or at the DR2 box office, which opens an hour before every performance. Ages 5 to 12.

  1. DR2 Theatre 103 E 15th St, between Union Sq East and Irving Pl
  2. Fri Feb 15 - Sun Apr 14
Buy tickets

2013 Animation Celebration! Looking North

  • Free

In many Native American communities, winter is the season for storytelling. In recognition of that tradition, the Smithsonian's film fest showcases storytelling through film, screening animated shorts from Canada's Arctic and Subarctic regions. This year's picks include The Bear Facts, a re-imagining of the first interactions between the Inuit and the Europeans; How People Got Fire, a blend of Yukon storytelling and rotoscope animation; and The Owl and the Raven, which explains the legend of how ravens got their dark color. Ages 7 and up.

  1. National Museum of the American Indian Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, 1 Bowling Green, between State and Whitehall Sts
  2. Wed Feb 13 - Sun Mar 17
More info

"Curious George: Let's Get Curious"

  • Price band: 1/4

Children explore the neighborhood where the mischievous monkey and the Man in the Yellow Hat live, shopping at a sidewalk produce stand, using pulleys to help George hop between apartment windows and climbing the rocket George took on his space adventure.

  1. Liberty Science Center 222 Jersey City Blvd, between Philip and Wilson Sts
  2. Sat Feb 16 - Sun May 12
More info

"Face to Face"

This exhibition of 40 works drawn from the CMA's permanent collection focuses on self-portraiture spanning painting, drawing, digital technologies and film. Best of all, interactive installations let kids explore the genre themselves, taking in the shape, sound and texture of portraits, and trying out a photo booth that projects kids' images on the wall, which will stream into a montage that will become part of the museum's permanent collection. During the course of the show, CMA invites aspiring artists to submit their own works to the museum for possible inclusion in the museum's permanent collection. All ages.

  1. Children's Museum of the Arts 103 Charlton St, between Greenwich and Hudson Sts, 10014
  2. Wed Feb 13 - Sun Jun 9
More info

The Mark of Zorro

  • Price band: 2/4

A trio of actors evokes the quick-footed drama of an action flick, using only minimalistic props and their own physical feats, in this classic tale of the masked outlaw. High-speed horse chases, rooftop battles and forbidden love are sure to keep young adrenaline junkies on the edge of their seats. Ages 7 and up.

  1. New Victory Theater 209 W 42nd St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves
  2. Fri Feb 15 - Sun Feb 24
Buy tickets

Show Way

  • Price band: 2/4

This musical traces the path of African American history, from slavery to the civil rights movement to the modern day, using the quilts, or “show ways,” sewed and passed down by seven generations of women. This story of bravery and hope is based on the Newbery Honor-winning book by Jacqueline Woodson. Ages 3 to 10.

  1. McGinn/Cazale Theatre 2162 Broadway, at 76th St, fourth floor
  2. Sat Feb 16 - Sun Mar 3
More info

Hot Chocolate Festival

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Heat-seeking chocoholic families flock to this annual festival, where City Bakery owner Maury Rubin serves a different flavor of his intoxicating cocoa every day during the month February. The lineup won’t be announced until January 18, but previous year’s highlights have included electic flavors like banana peel, spicy fig and even beer. Another favorite: Sunken Treasure, an indulgent cup with submerged caramel coins and chocolate truffles. Want a hot chocolate fix before February? Stop by any day of the week for the shop's delicious milk chocolate and dark chocolate varieties.

  1. City Bakery 3 W 18th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10003
  2. Until Thu Feb 28
More info

Sesame Street Live: Elmo’s Super Heroes

  • Price band: 2/4

Elmo and friends must team up to promote a healthy lifestyle when Super Grover, Sesame Street’s resident super hero, loses his “superness.” But with healthy exercise, nutrition, sleep, and hygiene—plus health-themed renditions of songs like “Old MacDonald” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”—he may just get his powers back. Show up an hour early for the free Sesame Street Play Zone, which allows kids to explore their favorite neighborhood before the show. Ages 6 and under.

  1. Theater at Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave), between 31st and 33rd Sts
  2. Until Mon Feb 18
Buy tickets

The Prince & The Magic Flute

  • Price band: 1/4

This marionette-based production of Mozart's classic opera—about a prince and a bird-catcher who attempt to rescue a princess using enchanted bells and a magic flute—features simple songs adapted from the original score. Ages 3 and up.

  1. Puppetworks 338 Sixth Ave, at 4th St
  2. Sat Feb 16 - Sun Mar 24
More info


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