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Growing up weird: 7 kid-cool activities for February

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 ERTH: Dino Petting Zoo - Long Center For the Performing Arts. Courtesy of Long Center for Performing Arts
Austin Photo Set: News_Jon_Carnaval_feb 2012_2
 Carnival Brasileiro Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_Roby_fun things to do in austin feb 2013_erth long center
Austin Photo Set: News_Jon_Carnaval_feb 2012_2
Austin Photo Set: News_Roby_fun things to do in austin feb 2013_operating room
Austin Photo Set: News_Roby_fun things to do in austin feb 2013_goodnight moon

Love is expressed in many ways, poetry, song and Marvin the Martian cards telling you to have a Valentine’s Day that’s “Out Of This World." It’s nice that our kids aren’t involved in the more complex expressions of amour, like Jane Semour designed jewelry. 

No doubt your kids love to do something. February features plenty of events for families that will encourage creativity and imagination. And for those adventurous parents with older kids, there’s a fun event that will delicately expose them to the PG-13 side of Valentine’s Day. 

February 2, 9, 16, 23: Goodnight Moon

Taking a beloved children’s book and bringing it to life can be tricky. For every successful stage adaptation of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, there is a big budget bomb like The Cat In The Hat. Thankfully, the ZACH Theater gets it right. The beloved Goodnight Moon is the theater's latest production for kids, adding music and humor to the tale of a bunny’s room that’s sprinkled with bedtime magic. Dear ZACH Theater, if you’re reading this, I have four words: Danny and the Dinosaur. Thanks. 

February 2: Carnaval Brasileiro

Ah, the grand travel plans we had before kids! Remember when we talked about running with the bulls in Pamplona or going wild at Carnaval in Rio? Our parental obligations, as well as outrageous airfare, can keep those dreams in check. But, what if Carnaval came to you? Carnaval Brasilero is a one day, five-hour party at the Palmer Events Center, with all the music, drinking and fun of the big party down in Rio. Costumes are highly encouraged. It’s an all-ages party, too, so brave parents can really make Carnaval Brasileiro a family affair.

February 9: Mock Surgery Day 

Encourage your kids to “play doctor." (No, not THAT kind.) This one really involves scalpels, suction and operating tables. Mock Surgery is an annual event, run by Seton to educate children about medical procedures and hospitals. There are hands-on demonstrations of surgical equipment, mock set-ups of surgical procedures and plenty of physicians and surgeons on hand to answer questions. It’s a great way to de-mystify the sometimes-scary world of hospitals and medicine. Plus, the knowledge learned here may trim a few years off their time in medical school. 

February 9: Cupid’s Undie Run 

I’m not sure what it’s like at your place, but kids running around in their underwear is a common site in mine. If there’s not much room for modesty in your home, then consider slipping into something more comfortable for Cupid’s Undie Run. This mile-long run is better suited for the PG-13 crowd, but the effort is nothing to kid around with. The money raised goes towards the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which seeks to end neurofibromatosis (NF) in kids. If you’re a brave parent with a Fredrick’s of Hollywood outfit and a matching pair of Nikes, then this a great way to bare (most of) it for a good cause for kids. 

February 12: Round Rock Express Anthem Tryouts 

What baseball-loving parent doesn’t imagine their child getting a chance to step up to the plate in the big leagues? For those of us with kids that aren’t athletically inclined, they may be able to swing for the fences with a microphone instead. On February 12, The Round Rock Express will hold open tryouts to sing the national anthem at a game during the 2013 season. If your kids have the pipes, then it’s time for them to swing for the fences with their a cappella version of the National Anthem. Play ball! 

February 14: Daddy Daughter Date Night

Spend Valentine’s Day with your best gal: your daughter. Instead of a dozen roses that will die within days, make mom something that will last, created by both of you. Art Garage Austin hosts a special night of crafts and pottery painting, along with sweets from Better Bites Bakery. Anyone can buy a contrived box of chocolates. Team up with your daughter and create something from the heart. 

February 26 - March 1: ERTH: Dino Petting Zoo

Dinosaurs are like Madonna: Both have been around for millions of years, and we’re still fascinated by them. Okay, that was low. Still, it’s fair to say that the long-gone giants are as popular as any celebrity. Australian-based Erth will make any dino-loving child roar with delight when the Dino Petting Zoo stomps into the Long Center. Brought to life by puppet performers, these dinos will amaze kids young and old.

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