The cold, dark days of February need not be a drag. Whether you like sharks, Disney animation or Dior dresses, there are plenty of shows to see in New York, as well as outdoor activities to do with your children during the school holidays. Don’t forget your vaccination record. Most museums require masks to be worn and many use timed ticketing, so be sure to check policies and updates on openings online beforehand.
Here are eight ideas for turning a chilly New York Saturday into a fun extravaganza.
Dreaming of silk
Until February 20; brooklynmuseum.org.
Fairytale dresses, sequins and designer Christian Dior’s lush color palette are on display in a 22,000 square foot exhibit of his work at the Brooklyn Museum. More than 200 high fashion garments, including dresses worn by notables like Grace Kelly, Jennifer Lawrence and Princess Diana, mingle with sketches, vintage perfumes and accessories in an enchanted garden-like space. Look for Natalie Portman’s cape from the 2020 Oscars, which is trimmed with a ribbon listing the names of female directors not nominated that season.
A Melting Pot Puppet
Until April 3; mcny.org.
Punch and Judy, Oscar the Grouch and Lamb Chop are some of the most prominent toys featured in a 2,500 square foot exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. The show even includes the wearable cheetah puppet from Broadway’s “The Lion King.” But it’s not just the creations of famous masters like Jim Henson and Julie Taymor that are in the spotlight: the exhibit, which features more than 60 figures, some a few centimeters tall and others 12 feet tall. , spotlights the puppets that have traveled with migrants to New York City from around the world.
Until August 14; amnh.org.
An exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History tries to demystify bad rap movies like “Jaws” gave sharks (attacks are rare, killing about 10 people a year, often when fish mistake people for seals). Nearly 30 life-size models are on display, including a shark smaller than a human hand and the 65-foot-long whale shark, which looks intimidating but only eats small creatures like plankton and krill (read : you are not on the menu) .
Visitors to the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens can peruse 40 sketches, animated cels and backgrounds from director Chuck Jones’ 1966 animated television short “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (based on Dr. Seuss’ 1957 book). The book stuck to a color scheme of black, white, and red, but Jones, reportedly inspired by the color of his rental car, imagined a green Grinch villain that would set the standard for all future adaptations.
Decor that dances
Until March 6; metmuseum.org.
“Inspiring Walt Disney,” a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a showcase of 150 artifacts: hand-drawn Disney sketches, concept art and film footage are showcased alongside their 18th-century European decorative inspirations, including tapestries, furniture and clocks (Cogsworth, anyone?). Look for nods to Gothic Revival architecture in Cinderella Castle’s pointed arches, medieval influences on “Sleeping Beauty,” and French Rococo tableware and tapestries that animators made sing and dance in “Beauty and the Beast”.
Visit historic houses
morrisjumel.org; vchm.org; louisarmstronghouse.org.
In Washington Heights, you can visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan, where George Washington briefly established his headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Aaron Burr also lived there, and more recently Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote two songs for “Hamilton” in the bedroom of the house.
In the Bronx, the Van Cortlandt House Museum, the rustic Georgian home of New York Mayor Jacobus Van Cortlandt, is said to be the oldest home in the borough (the house is in the center of Van Cortlandt Park, one of the oldest large parks in New York).
And for jazz fans, the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens is a meticulously preserved time capsule of the trumpeter and bandleader’s former home. The half-empty bottle of Armstrong’s Lanvin cologne still sits on the dresser in the master bedroom.
Until March 6; bryantpark.org and rockefellercenter.com. Until March 31; www.wollmanrinknyc.com.
Bryant Park’s skating rink, nestled among the skyscrapers, is the only free-entry rink in town, though there’s a $15-$45 skate rental fee (or you can bring your own).
If skyline views are the goal, Central Park’s Wollman Rink, which costs $14 to $23 plus an $11 skate rental fee, has been featured in movies like “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and “My Sassy Girl”. Another option is Rockefeller Center’s famous skating rink ($20 to $54, plus a $10 skate rental fee) – it really depends on your tolerance for groups of skaters taking selfies.