8 Essential Events for Families This February

It may be frigid outside, but there's still plenty of indoor family fun to be had around town in the month of February. Here are some of our picks:

1. Big Eyes, Big Minds International Children's Film Festival at the Saint Louis Zoo (2/3, 2/17, 2/24)

The Saint Louis Zoo hosts the Big Eyes, Big Minds International Children's Film Festival of St. Louis, showcasing the best films from around the world to educate, enrich and inspire kids ages 1 to 16. All programs feature age-appropriate live-action and animated short films that are universally relevant to kids. The mission of the film festival is to expose children to diverse and imaginative works to broaden their view of the world, foster critical thinking and inspire creative expression.

Each program includes a series of 6 to 11 short films from more than 20 different countries, ranging from award-winning animated films to child-produced films. Each film is between two and 27 minutes long. Tickets are available online and at the door and cost $8 per person for Zoo members, and $9 for non-members ages 2 and up. Children under 2 are free. 

Films will be shown on Saturdays: February 3, 17 and 24 in the Anheuser-Busch Theater in the Living World/North Entrance at the Saint Louis Zoo. For more information, visit stlzoo.org


2. Metro Theater presents Bud, Not Buddy at The Grandel (2/4 -  2/25)

Based on the internationally acclaimed novel, "Bud, Not Buddy," this adventure follows 10-year-old Bud as he sets off on an epic journey to find his father who he believes is leading a traveling jazz band. Set in 1930s America, Bud's odyssey is filled with the joy of finding family and plenty of live jazz music. Metro Theater Company partners with Jazz St. Louis to produce this Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King award-winning story. "Bud, Not Buddy" combines a group of actors with a 13-piece jazz band performing an original score by five-time Grammy-winning jazz artist Terence Blanchard to tell this inspiring story of a boy who finds his home and a passion for music. Direct from its premier performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Bud, Not Buddy is perfect for the whole family. Ticket prices range from $14-20.

But, Not Buddy takes place on select days, February 4 - 25, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at The Grandel, located at 3610 Grandel Square in St. Louis. For more information, visit metroplays.orgUse promo code BUDSTLPARENT and save 20% on tickets.


3. Public Missions at the Challenger Learning Center (2/10)

You and your kids can learn about space, science, the solar system and lots more in a fun, hands-on way during Public Missions at the Challenger Learning Center. Simulated Space missions are geared for families with kids ages six and up (and some for families with kids ages 11 and up). After a brief training session, participants will be launched into space to complete their mission. Crew members aboard the space craft will work with their teammates in Mission Control to navigate the spacecraft, collect and analyze data using real robotic arms and glove boxes, build and launch a probe, and more. Junior Astronauts will make rockets and participate in a simulated space mission. Public Missions are two hours long and require advance registration. The cost is $15 per person. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

The next Public Missions takes place on Saturday, February 10 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Challenger Learning Center, located at 205 Brotherton Lane in Ferguson. For more information and reservations, visit challengerstl.org.


4. Summer Expo 2018 at Parkway West High School (2/11)

Plan your child's summer activities at this very popular Summer Camp Expo featuring more than 100 local and regional summer camps offering day- and sleep-away camp experiences for toddlers through teens. Bring your kids and learn about a wide variety of summer learning and summer fun opportunities. The Summer Expo is presented by Parkway-Rockwood Community Ed, and is open to all families from any school district across the St. Louis metro area. Stop by the STL Camps booth at the entrance for fun giveaways and a very special guest to entertain your kids. Admission is free.

Summer Expo 2018 takes place on Sunday, February 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Parkway West High School, located at 14653 Clayton, Road in Ballwin. For more information, visit summerexpostl.com.


5. Art Workshops for Kids & Teens at Artscope (2/11 & 2/18)

New for 2018 – Kids, teens and families can dig a little deeper into specific art media at Artscope workshops for elementary age kids and teens. February workshops include: Printmaking Explosion for ages 5-11 on February 11 and Shadow Puppet Spectacular for ages 5-11 on February 18. Registration is required and the cost is $20 per child.

Art Workshops for Kids and Teens take place on Sunday, February 11 and Sunday, February 18 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Artscope's headquarters in Tower Grove Park. 

For more information and to register, visit artscopestl.org.


6. Chinese New Year at The Magic House (2/17)

The Magic House is celebrating the kick off to the Year of the Dog with a festival of fun! During the event, families can enjoy a Lion Dance performance, Kung Fu lessons and demonstrations, and Chinese face painting. The event is free with regular museum admission.

Chinese New Year takes place on Saturday, February 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Magic House, located at 516 S. Kirkwood Road in Kirkwood. For information, visit magichouse.org.


7.  COCA Presents The Story Pirates at 560 Music Center (2/17-18)

The Story Pirates celebrates the words and ideas of young people, turning their original stories into wild sketch comedy musicals. Some of the best improvisors and musicians in the country, recruited from the Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, the Groundlings, and more, bring to life the unfiltered world of kids' imaginations. When the curtain rises, cats can fly, hot dogs save the world, and characters are named things like Captain Waffles and Snufflepants. This show is appropriate for ages four and up. Tickets are $18. 

The Story Pirates takes place on Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18 at 1 and 5 p.m. at the 560 Music Center at Washington University, located at 560 Trinity Ave. in University City. For more information and tickets, visit cocastl.org.

8. Responsible Pet Owners Day at Purina Farms (2/25)

Come out and play at Purina Farms and have fun while taking care of your family pet. At Responsible Pet Owners Day, your kids can have fun in the kids' activity area with stuffed animals hosted by the Humane Society of Missouri, see high-flying entertainment from the Pro Plan Performance Team featuring rescued dogs from shelters across the nation, and lots more. Bring your family dog for low-cost vaccinations and microchipping, spay and neuter offers, grooming demonstrations, a do-it-yourself washing station, complimentary engravable pet ID tags, adoptable pets, and even a pet photo booth. All ages (and, of course, dogs) are welcome and admission is free.

Responsible Pet Owners Day takes place on Sunday, February 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Purina Farms, located at 200 Checkerboard Drive in Gray Summit. For more information, visit purinafarms.com.

Photo courtesy of COCA.


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Amy Burger is a mom, freelance writer and communications professional with nearly 20 years experience working in St. Louis. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and media outlets including STL Parent, Missouri Life magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Town & Style and kdhx.org, among others. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two beautiful girls at home in Kirkwood.

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