Love, peace, and… groundhogs? Valentine’s Day might steal the spotlight in February but there are plenty of other great free events and activities to check out this month with the kids! Ring in the year of the pig with Chinese New Year festivities, celebrate diversity, and, yes, hibernate like a groundhog this February — all for free!

Groundhog Day Hibernation Pajama Party at the Greenbelt Nature Center

Bring your PJs and your favorite stuffed animal or blankie, because it's time to celebrate the groundhog in all his glory. Kids will listen to a story about hibernation, create a den of their own to hibernate in, and if the weather's good, search around outside for actual groundhogs. This event is for ages 4-8 and accompanying adults, and although it's free, registration is required.

Sat., Feb. 2
1-2 p.m.
Greenbelt Nature Center in Blood Root Valley
700 Rockland Ave. at Brielle Ave.
Staten Island
Online: nycgovparks.org

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Lion Dances at Columbus Circle

Visit the Shops at Colombus Circle for a festive good time. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, there will be live performances of lion dances, sugar painting, lantern-making workshops and more. Hosted in collaboration with the New York Chinese Cultural Center, this cultural celebration is a great way to enjoy the festivities if you'd rather avoid the crowds of the Chinatown parade.

Sat., Feb. 2
Starting at 1 p.m.
The Shops at Colombus Circle
Central Park where Broadway, 8th Ave., Central Park S. and Central Park W. intersect
Midtown
Online: theshopsatcolombuscircle.com

Chinese New Year Family Day at JCC Manhattan

Join the JCC of Manhattan and HudsonWay Immersion School to celebrate Chinese New Year in a fun event for the whole family. Expect lots of excellent cultural entertainment like a lion dance, puppet show, performances and more. The kids can try their hands at making dumplings, making crafts and other interactive activities. Snacks and drinks will also be available.

Sun., Feb. 3
2-4 p.m.
JCC Manhattan, L2 Auditorium
334 Amsterdam Ave.
Upper West Side
Online: eventbrite.com

Middle School Book Club at Stories Bookshop

Kids ages 8-12 are welcome to join the monthly book club and discussion at Stories Bookshop. This month's book is "Fake Blood" by Whitney Gardner so check out the book then come by to chat about it with other kids. This event is free but advance registration is required.

Sat., Feb. 9
4 p.m.
Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab
458 Bergen St.
Park Slope
Online: facebook.com

Lunar New Year Performance at Brookfield Place

Follow a lion dance from the Oculus up to the Winter Garden, where live performances will entertain families. Watch the stage to catch traditional Chinese dance and music performances, classic theatrical plays, and a martial arts demonstration. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis so come early if you want to get yourself and the family situated for the action.

Sat., Feb. 9
2 p.m.
Brookfield Place
230 Vesey St.
Battery Park City
Online: bflny.com

BAM Black Comix Expo at BAM

Calling all comic-book lovers! The BAM Black Comix Expo is back for a second year and will feature comic book artists, writers, and superheroes to meet. Change into your crime-fighting outfit and come meet creators, participate in a children's workshop, or just explore. Note that this event is only on a first-come, first-serve basis and will only allow people in until it's full — so it might be a good idea to arrive early.

Sun., Feb. 10
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayette Ave.
Boerum Hill
Online: bam.org

Valentine's Day Hike and Craft in Van Cortlandt Park

Nothing says love like nature. Kids and adults alike can get inspired by a refreshing hike before getting down to business: creating the perfect handmade token of appreciation for your Valentine. Everything will be provided so just bring yourself and comfortable walking shoes.

Sun., Feb. 10
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Van Cortlandt Nature Center
Bronx
Online: nycgovparks.org

Lunar New Year Celebration at the Abrons Art Center

Celebrate Chinese New Year with the Lower East Side community. Stop by for performances, get crafty with themed art activities, local food and drink for purchase, and even karaoke! All ages are welcome. .

Sat., Feb. 16
4-8 p.m.
Abrons Art Center
466 Grand St. (at Pitt St.)
Lower East Side
Online: absonsartscenter.org

Chinese New Year Celebration in Chinatown

It's time for dragons, firecrackers, and golden pigs at the annual Chinese New Year celebration! Free events, lots of performances, music, and so much more will thrill anyone who attends. Please remember that this event is very popular so it does get crowded and loud! Check the website for the parade route.

Sun., Feb. 17
1 p.m.
Chinatown in Lower Manhattan
Online: betterchinatown.com

Read-to-Skate StoryTime in Bryant Park

Cute and charismatic Cali Co Cat will lead book readings all February for a fun experience. Better yet, every session will give away free books (as long as supplies last) and attending two of these events (or any of the events in the New York Public Library) earns kids a free skate rental voucher. Stick around for an hour after storytime and watch puppet shows, every Saturday in February at 2!

Saturdays in February and Wed., Feb. 20
12-1 p.m. (12:30-1:30 p.m. on Feb. 20)
Overlook at Winter Village Ice-Rink in Bryant Park
Midtown
Online: bryantpark.org

Shababa Saturdays at the 92Y

Nothing to do on a Saturday? Stop by the 92Y for music, games, "creative prayer," art, and get those little ones moving. Everyone from newborns to 10-year-olds are welcome to participate!

Saturdays
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
92Y
1395 Lexington Ave.
Upper East Side
Online: 92Y.org

Kid Week in NYC Parks

Have nothing to do with the kids over their mid-winter recess? Check out the tons of programmings provided by the Urban Rangers at many parks around the boroughs. Learn the ins and outs of orienteering and navigation, get your sports on, or participate in many other fun and kid-oriented activities over the break.

Various times and locations
Online: nycgovparks.org

—Yuliya Geikhman

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