February Family Fun on Staten Island

A small month with big holidays!

With just 28 days (barring leap years, of course), February is the shortest month. Many people have no idea why that is, as it’s the only month to have fewer than 30 days. There is no scientific reason behind that distinction, but rather we can contribute it to the Romans. The early Roman calendar did not include January or February because winter had no agricultural advantages. February was later added by Julius Caesar, who likely shortened the month simply to get to March more quickly (can you really blame him?). Although it’s a short month, there’s no shortage of significant holidays. Here’s how to celebrate tons of February family fun on the Island:

Black History Month
Celebrate black history all month month long at the Staten Island Children’s Museum with Caribbean recipe workshops on Friday afternoons and collage-creation inspired by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu on weekends. You can also check out Rossville’s Sandy Ground, the oldest continuously inhabited free black settlement in the United States. Click here for more information about Sandy Ground. Check your local library for programs as well, or go to siparent.com/events.

Lunar New Year
It’s the Year of the Pig! Lunar New Year takes place on Tuesday, February 5. Public schools will be closed in observance of the holiday. Celebrate with the Korean community at the Korean Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 2 at the Staten Island Museum (on the grounds of Snug Harbor). You can also check out the Year of the Boar celebration at Greenbelt Nature Center on Sunday, February 3 and celebrate festive Lunar New Year events all day at the Staten Island Children’s Museum on Tuesday, February 5. Get more details about these events at our Family Calendar at siparent.com/events.

Valentine’s Day
There are tons of ways for families to celebrate love in Staten Island this month! Both Home Depot and Michaels offer Valentine’s Day crafting for kids on various Saturday mornings throughout the month. Create some old-fashioned love notes at Historic Richmond Town’s Victorian Valentine Workshop on Saturday, February 2. Show some love to our animal pals at the Staten Island Zoo on Saturday, February 16 at their annual I Love the Zoo event. Feeling fit? Grab a partner and run the Valentine’s Day 5k at Conference House Park on Sunday, February 16. Both adult and youth runners are welcome to register. Design a special valentine tee shirt for your sweetie at Fort Wadsworth on Saturday, February 10. And of course, check our calendar (siparent.com/events) for free programs at local library branches.

President’s Day
You can thank our country’s many leaders for a whole week off of school this month! The midwinter recess usually lands during President’s Week. Create a portrait inspired by Barack Obama’s official portrait at the President’s Day Art Workshop at the Staten Island Children’s Museum on Monday, February 18 (enjoy reduced admission all day as well). On Tuesday, February 19, stop by the Greenbelt Nature Center for a fascinating lesson on presidents’ horses and real life war horses from American history. You might even get to meet a real horse!

Groundhog Day at the S.I. Zoo
Will winter be quick and painless or long and drawn-out this year? Ask Staten Island Chuck, the Staten Island Zoo’s famous resident groundhog, who will once again emerge from hibernation on Groundhog Day to make his annual, seasonal prediction. According to tradition, if Chuck emerges from his burrow and fails to see his shadow, spring will arrive early. However, if he comes out and is frightened by his shadow, causing him to return to hibernation, winter will persist for six additional weeks.

With a nearly 80% accuracy rate, we hope Chuck doesn’t see that shadow! Want to meet him? The Groundhog Day event at the zoo is free and open to the public, with gates opening at 6:30am on Groundhog Day (Saturday, February 2), ceremony starting at 7am and Chuck’s prediction at 7:30. This year’s ceremony will feature a special appearance from Patrick Raftery Rock-a-Silly Band and the P.S.29 chorus.

Did you know Chuck has his very own book? Groundhog Chuck Builds a Weather Station, authored by Deputy Borough President Edward Burke and released in 2017, follows Staten Island Chuck and his animal friends as they work together creating a weather-tracking team. You can purchase it at the Staten Island Zoo gift shop; proceeds support the zoo’s educational programs.