Need weekend plans or something to do with the kids during the week? There are a ton of free children's events at local libraries, but we also found free and cheap things to do elsewhere this month. Whether you have one, two, three or more kids in tow, here's a roundup of fun, budget-friendly events in February.
Sculpture Art Caper and Exploration Backpacks at Hofstra University's Emily Lowe Gallery (Hempstead Turnpike, Hempstead) running weekly throughout the year. Times vary. Pick up a backpack and solve an Art Caper mystery by unraveling clues found while exploring the outdoor sculpture collection. Appropriate for children from ages 5 to 10.
Happy Birthday Trees: A Tu B'Shevat Celebration at Central Synagogue of Nassau County (430 DeMott Ave., Rockville Centre) on Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 6 to 7 p.m. Children ages 6 and younger can celebrate the new year for trees with stories, crafts and a fruit bar; must reserve.
Family Nature Bingo at Downs Farm Preserve (23800 County Rte. 25, Cutchogue) on Friday, Feb. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. Play Bingo and learn about some common Long Island animals. All ages are welcome, small prizes will be awarded; must register. Donations are suggested.
Give Kids a Smile Day at Stony Brook University (Staller Center Nicolls Road, Stony Brook) on Friday, Feb. 6. Free dental screenings for children ages 1-17 with cleaning, fluoride treatment and dental sealants. Call to schedule an appointment. Held in the School of Dental Medicine, Dental Care Center.
Children's Valentine's Day Planting at Hicks Nurseries (100 Jericho Tpke., Westbury) on Saturday, Feb. 7 and Sunday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children are invited to stop by the main greenhouse to plant a small houseplant for Valentine's Day.
Freeport Robotics Competition at Freeport High School (50 S. Brookside Ave., Freeport) on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Freeport Public Schools will host a Vex Robotics Competition. Thirty teams from local high schools will compete.
Be an Animal Skull Detective at Downs Farm Preserve (23800 County Rte. 25, Cutchogue) on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Look at skulls of New York State mammals and try to determine the diet of the animal based on its teeth, and learn how to identify the animal by its skull's characteristics. Registration is required. Donations are suggested.
Give Kids a Smile Dental Screening at Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center (431 E. Main St., Riverhead) on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A free children's dental screening with cleaning, fluoride treatment, goody bags and more. Open for kids from ages 1 to 17 along with a parent or guardian.
Story Time at Downs Farm Preserve (23800 County Rte. 25, Cutchogue) on Tuesday, Feb. 10 from 1 to 2 p.m. Children from ages 2 to 5 can listen to a nature-themed story and create a craft. Reservations are required.
Calling All Jr. Rangers: Discover the Secrets of Seashells at Wilderness Visitor Center (end of the William Floyd Pkwy., Fire Island) on Saturday, Feb. 21 at noon. Seashell walk is for children ages 8-12, but all are welcome to learn more about the secrets of seashells and the critters that once occupied them. Join a park ranger for this one-hour seashell-discovery program. Dress for the weather and for walking on sand.
Children's Storytime at Barnes & Noble (91 Old Country Rd., Carle Place) on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 11 a.m. In celebration of Black History Month, there will be a reading of two children's books: "I am Rosa Parks" and "I am Jackie Robinson," as well as other activities. This event will also take place at Barnes & Noble - Lake Grove (600 Smith Haven Mall) and Barnes & Noble - Bay Shore (842 Sunrise Hwy.) at 11 a.m.
Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows at Ward Melville Heritage Organization Educational and Cultural Center (Main Street, Stony Brook) on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. Children's author Valerie Pfundstein will be reading her book "Veterans: Heroes in our Neighborhood," followed by a book-signing with hot cocoa and marshmallows. Recommended for children ages 3 to 5. Price: $3. Other Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow events include: Jack Batcher, who will read his books, "Burnt Eggs and Scrambled Toast" and "Are There Monsters In My Closet?" on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m.; Rich Specht, who will read his book "A Little Rees Specht Cultivates Kindness" on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 a.m. and Tracy Delio, who will read her book "The Adventures of Louie V" on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m.
Dinosaur Dimensions at the Long Island Science Center (11 W. Main St., Riverhead) on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children can participate in dinosaur-themed activities and more. Price: $5.
Celebrate Valentine's Day with Heart-Felt Messages at the Maritime Explorium (101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson) on Saturday, Feb. 14 and Sunday, Feb. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. Design and create your own nautical valentine for a message in a bottle. Price: $5.
Create Your Own Flag at Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium (1660 Rte. 25A, Cold Spring Harbor) on Monday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children learn about U.S. state flag symbols and create their own animal-themed flag. Price: Free with paid admission ($6, $4 children ages 3 to 12, free ages 3 and younger).
Celebrate The International Year of Light at the Maritime Explorium (101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson) on Monday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. Investigate properties of light at the nanoscale and make your own nano-inspired bookmark. Price: $5.
Rainforest Treasures at the Long Island Science Center (11 W. Main St., Riverhead) on Monday, Feb. 16 through Saturday, Feb. 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Examine items from the rain forest and learn about the flora and fauna. Price: $5.
Creature Creations at Nissequogue River State Park (799 Saint Johnland Rd., Kings Park) on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m. Children ages 5 and up can meet live animals and discover the variety of ways that they survive in their habitat; must reserve by Feb. 4. Price: $4 adult, $3 children, free for ages 3 and younger, $8 parking fee.
Make Your Own Ice Cream at Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium (1660 Rte. 25A, Cold Spring Harbor) on Thursday, Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children make their own ice cream. Bring warm gloves, it's cold to make. Price: $6, $4 children ages 3 to 12, free ages 3 and younger.
Fearsome Jaws of Dinosaurs at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve (Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown) on Thursday, Feb. 19 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Learn how awesome dinosaurs were through hands-on demonstrations, learn how fossils were formed and create a craft; registration begins two weeks before the event. Price: $4 adults, $3 children.
Flying Feathers at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve (Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown) on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. Take a short walk, look at the local birds at the feeders and make a craft, for children ages 5 and up; registration begins two weeks before the event. Price: $4 adults, $3 children.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss at the Maritime Explorium (101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson) on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, March 1 from 1 to 5 p.m. Observe chemical interactions as you create your own Oobleck. Price: $5.
Chickadees Sighting Bird Walk at Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge (784 Noyack Rd., Sag Harbor) on Saturday, Feb. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Enjoy a short nature walk along the refuge's woodland trails while looking out for different songbirds; birdseed will be provided. Reservations are required. Price: $5 suggested donation.