Feb Half-term Survival Guide
Don't stress! The hols are here, but we know exactly to keep the kids entertained with 20+ soaring ideas across Warwickshire, the Midlands & further afield.
Feb Half-term activities at the RSC: Clowning, Set Design & Songs from As You Like It, until Fri Feb 22
Highlights include Clowning workshops taking inspiration from As You Like It’s clown, Touchstone; creating a set with RSC assistant designers and unearthing stories of As You Like It’s rarely-seen costumes and props with the Secrets of The Play’s The Thing.
To book tickets Tel: 01789 331111, rsc
THEATRE: David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy the Musical! Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Feb 20 – Sat Feb 23
If you liked Nativity! and Matilda the Musical, this will be just up your street. After a successful premiere in Southampton over Christmas, David Walliams’ irreverent novella Billionaire Boy The Musical rolls onto the stage just in time for February half-term. This story of a boy who becomes an overnight billionaire after his dad invents a new kind loo roll, has already adapted for TV by the CBBC team starring Cold Feet’s John Thompson and Catherine Tate. Cleverly adapted for stage Jon Brittain with a soundtrack by prolific pop song writers Miranda Cooper and Nick Coler, who’ve written for Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Alesha Dixon and Kylie. On Wed Feb 20, the Belgrade’s half-term Family Fun Day returns with Billionaire Boy themed fun and games. As part of the event, Coventry University’s Confucius Institute will be on hand from 2-4pm to lead a Chinese arts and crafts session. This is a free, drop-in event.
EXHIBITION: Peter Rabbit: Mischief and Mayhem, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, now until April 27
This exhibition tells the story of the creation of Beatrix Potter’s most famous story character. It includes original, rarely exhibited artworks and manuscripts. Younger children will enjoy the activity play room where they can help Mrs Tiggy-Winkle hang up the laundry, plant carrots in Mr. McGregor’s garden, visit Mrs. Rabbit in her burrow or curl up with one of the books in the story corner. A Peter Rabbit themed spring activity family programme runs through to Easter with events including Mr McGregor’s welly hunt through the gallery and town centre in Feb half-term and The Wonderful World of Hedgehogs with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Senior Hedgehog Officer on April 5. See here for the full spring programme.
KIDS THEATRE: Kite, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon Feb 18 & Tue Feb 19
A recently orphaned girl discovers a kite which comes to life and takes her on a wild adventure in this 60-minute show for children aged 7+. Little does she know that Grandma has her own brand of magic and the wind will bring them together in ways they never would have imagined. Inspired by the world of indoor-kite flying Kite is a play without words, with original music, dance, puppetry and, of course, kites, 2.30pm & 7pm. Tickets: £12 (£10), warwickartscentre
Two new pieces have recently gone on display at this innovative Museum of Mechanical Arts and Design housing 90 mind-boggling mechanical creations including flying mechanical birds, and clever clocks The first, designed by Artist David Williams, demonstrates how magnetic fields work and is known as Planetary Number 1 and Number 2. The second exhibit, known as The Sextus Wooden Clock, was built by Clive Stewart and designed by David Atkinson. Clive was challenged to follow over 30 pages of instructions to put together hundreds of varying parts. The clock is ‘high geared’ so it runs for a long time without winding. Kids can also build marble runs and learn some engineering and physics principals along the way.
An extra-special Family Super Saver ticket combines The MAD Museum, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall and Stratford Butterfly Farm for £57 (2 adults & 2 children), a ticket for an extra child is £9.60, themadmuseum (online shop madfactory – good for quirky birthday presents).
FILM: The Kid Who Would Be King (PG) out in cinemas now
A modern day take on Merlin set in South London suburbs written by Joe Cornish – one half of the Adam and Joe comedy sketch show duo, with a cast full of children and Patrick Stewart, who finally gets to play a wizard! An action-adventure epic for kids about Alex, a 12-year-old who goes on a thrilling Arthurian-style quest after discovering Excalibur on a building site, as you do.
CASTLE: Knights and Princesses Academy, Kenilworth Castle, Sat Feb 16 – Sun February 24
With fairy-tale ruins to conquer and a royal love story to discover, Kenilworth Castle is a great place for families to go on their very own time-travelling day out this half term. Hear tales of chivalry, dashing knights and fearsome battles, take part in courtly etiquette classes, and learn how to handle a sword and combat drills. a fun and hands-on way for children to discover days gone by, 10.30am – 3.30pm.
Castle Green, Off Castle Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1NG, english-heritage
The Power of Science, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Sat Feb 16 – 24
Brrrm! During half-term young engineers can find out all about jet powered cars, make their own ‘jet’ powered car, and enjoying daily POWER science shows, family trails and tours. The ‘POWER’ Science shows run every day at 11am and 2.30pm where Professor Pickle and Doctor Pumpkin will explore different sources of power including jet, rocket and gas and bring them to life with a BANG. At 1.30pm there’s also a Family POWER Tour all about gas turbine powered cars. After making their own ‘Jet Powered Car’ kids can race them along a drag strip to see how far and fast they go. On Saturdays & Sundays, the cars will be ‘jet powered’ using balloons, whereas from Mon – Fri the STEM ambassadors from MOD Kineton will be delivering the activity with cars made from K’nex.
All activities are included in the Museum admission. For more information go to britishmotormuseum, Tel: 01926 641188.
Meet a Macklot Python, Boa Constrictors, Blood Pythons, Reticulated Pythons, Burmese Pythons, a red Tegu and black & white Tegu in handling sessions three times a day this half-term, plus an interactive talk from snake experts. The snakes range in size from 5ft to 16ft in length! All the usual attractions will be open on this 100 acre farm including a packed programme of activities for older kids ncluding three outdoor Laser Combat challenges; Death Match, Domination and Capture the Flag, hattonworld or Tel: 01926 843411.
OUTDOORS: Ragley Snowdrop Walks, Ragley House, nr Alcester
THEATRE: Green Ginger – Intronauts, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Feb 20 – Fri Feb 22
Green Ginger’s new 60-minute show will propel audiences aged 12+ into a microscopic journey deep within the human body. In a not-too-distant future, people can buy personal cleaners called Intronauts; miniaturised human workers injected into their bodies to carry out essential maintenance. Taking its cue from classic 1950s sci-fi movies like Fantastic Voyage and fuelled by surreal comedy and innovative puppetry, Intronauts is a madcap story about advancing technology, big syringes and a tiny submarine, 7pm. Tickets: £12 (£10) Under 26s £10, warwickartscentre
ZOO: Stars from Madagascar the Musical visit Twycross Zoo, Atherstone, Mon Feb 18
Before Madagascar the Musical opens at Leicester Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, on March 5 – 9 X Factor winner Matt Terry, who plays Alex the Lion as well as his puppet co-stars, the penguins of Madagascar and Mort the lemur, will walking on the wild side at Twycross Zoo for selfies and signatures on Mon Feb 18 between 11.30am – 2pm (reduced entry £11 per adult and £5.50 per child). This brand-new musical from Dreamworks has been leaving audiences with no option but to ‘Move it, Move it’ according to theatre review site, What’s On Stage. Escape any February drizzle during half-term by exploring Butterfly Forest, filled with a variety of tropical butterflies, bugs, reptiles and more. Not to mention Gibbon Forest, Giraffe Savannah, monkey houses and award-winning £3.5million habitat, Chimpanzee Eden, built last year.
Admission £11 per adult and £5.50 per child! February Half Term admission tickets can be booked online here or on the gate on the day twycrosszoo. Madagascar the Musical tickets can be booked online at haytheatre or via Leicester Haymarket Theatre on 0116 296 1236 / 1 Garrick Walk, Leicester.
MUSIC: Yamato Drummers of Japan, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Tues Feb 19
The critically-acclaimed Yamato Drummers are returning to the UK with a brand new show which is sure to bring you a night of entertainment. Performing Japanese Taiko drumming, this group are pushing themselves to new limits in the hope of captivating their audience once again. With an audience of over 6 million people in 53 countries around the world, you don’t want to miss this one night only show. Doors open at 7pm, warwickartscentre
BALLET: BRB’s Beauty and the Beast, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues Feb 19 – Sat March 2
You’ve seen the film version of this famous fairy tale with Emma Watson, here’s Birmingham Royal Ballet’s critically-acclaimed touring ballet with gorgeously gothic-inspired choreography by David Binley and music by Glenn Buhr. On Fri March 1 at 1pm there’s an hour-long, interactive First Steps show, specially adapted for children aged 3+, featuring ballet excerpts and scenes with a storyteller introducing the children to the music, leading characters, and some technical magic. All performances include live music from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, birminghamhippodrome
Outdoorsy fun for all ages with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust at Brandon Marsh & The Parkridge Centre, Breton Park, Solihull, throughout half-term
Go Den Building, learn about Hibernating Hedgehogs (ages 2+) and enjoy welly walks in the woods. Great fun for 2 – 5’s and ages 5+, warwickshirewildlifetrust
MUSEUM: Behind the Scenes Store Tours, Warwickshire Museum Stores, Montague Road, Warwick, Wed Feb 20
Are your children fascinated by volcano’s? This February half-term Warwickshire Museum Stores’ Curator of the Natural Sciences, Jon Radley will be exploring the power and nature of volcanic eruptions and young geologists can see volcanic rock and other specimens from the museum collection, from 10am – 11am Tickets£7.50. Booking required here.
Skiing, Snowboarding, Tubing, Tobagganing, Ice-skating & more: Snowdome, Tamworth
Up for a family snow day? Fly down the 170m slope during a tobogganing session, get your skates on and take on the ice rink, make snow angels and throw snowballs in the dedicated snowplay area or race along the inflatable obstacle course in the 25m swimming pool. There’s also the brand new climbing day ticket to enjoy or book a ski/snowboarding lesson, snowdome
EXHIBITION: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Family Store Tour & Kids Art Workshops, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, Sat Feb 16 – June 2
See more than 100 breathtaking images from the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year as part of an international tour. Over half-term, there’s also 30-minute behind-the scenes Family Store Tours on Mon Feb 18 (10.30am-3pm). Children can also have their faces painted like animals and be creative in drop-in workshops exploring the Earth’s Environments – they’ll be kept busy making clay volcanoes, ice cave lanterns and marbled moonlight scenes (£2.50, under 2’s free), theherbert
CIRCUS/THEATRE: Half-term at Birmingham Rep: Cirque Berserk (Tue Feb 19 – 24) & The Cat in the Hat (Feb 26 – March 3)
Tel: the box office on 0121 236 4455, birmingham-rep.co.uk/family
LITTLIES: Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Main Stage, Royal Spa Centre, Fri Feb 22
To celebrate David McKee’s iconic colourful elephant’s 30th birthday, Elmer is going on tour. The show features 21 puppets, vibrant colours, cheeky humour and at a short 45 minutes looks perfect for children under seven, warwickdc.gov.uk
The live-action daily shows are back. Witness the Mighty Trebuchet, the Flight of the Eagles, the Bowman Show and the Castle Dungeon plus get lost in the Horrible Histories maze in this beautiful historic castle. There’s a lot to see and do in a day so you might want to splash out and stay the night in one of their luxury suites or in the wooden lodges of the Knights Village. Hmmm, stay in a suite with a four-poster built for royalty or a themed wooden lodge in the grounds? Sadly I know my kids will want to do the latter.
SCIENCE TOUR: Professor Brian Cox Live, Arena Birmingham, Sat Feb 23
The dapper Manchester University professor of particle physics and TV presenter is back on the road with a new science show – he’ll be joined by co-host of The Infinite Monkey Cage and award-winning comedian Robin Ince to oversee an audience Q&A, .arenabham
EVENT: GO Diving, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, Fri Feb 22 – 24
A show offering an immersive experience into the world of diving, underwater photography and free-diving with 6 main stages and two huge pools to have a go yourself. BBC presenters Andy Torbet, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Monty Halls will be on the main stage sharing their diving experiences including spending months in the Galapagos Islands with family in tow. Want to experience what an adrenaline-fuelled shark dive in the Bahamas feels like without even getting your feet wet? Venture into the Discovery Channel Virtual Reality booths. Explore challenging caving experience, where you will don knee-pads and a helmet with torch to crawl through 30-metres of winding tunnel. Dedicated areas on freediving, Technical Diving and Underwater Photography. And it is not just for adults! There’s an area for The Next Generation of scuba divers too.
Warwickshire Country Parks: Ryton Pools & Kingsbury Water Park
There’s always lots to do during half-term at these wonderful outdoor country parks. February’s family-friendly activities range from making Pine Cone Feeders to Frosty Campfires, Dens and S’mores and a Frosty Fairy and Elf Adventure, from £4.
Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions, Stratford, Butterfly Farm, Sat Feb 16 – 24
Families can take part in twice daily ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions in the Discovery Zone with the Education Team. Hold creatures such as a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach, giant African Millipede, African Land Snail and a variety of Stick Insects, plus see hundreds of spectacular butterflies. It’s open 10am – 5pm, last entry 4pm.
Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden
Science Oxford is hosting sessions at this charming Great Missenden-based museum on designing and building your own car and your own marble maze. Award-winning children’s poet Neal Zetter is coming in to read his poems. Kids can make a clay badge, design tuck boxes and chocolate wrappers. Plus, it’s your kids’ last chance to take a selfie with Donald Trump – the statue, that is. To celebrate the 30th birthday of Matilda, a life-size statue of her standing up to Trump has been in the museum’s courtyard since Oct but will be moving on to pastures new soon.
Nat Space Centre, Leicester: Destination Space, National Space Centre, Leics, Sat Feb 16 – 24
An exciting new programme for families looking at the very latest adventures in space exploration and celebrating the space science, engineering and people that make it happen. Find out about the new European Mars mission, watch a live science show which reveals some of the hidden mysteries of the Universe. Tickets must be bought in advance.
Vets in Action at Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable
Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank, London
With over 12 days of activities (50% of them free), this festival offers the best children’s theatre, literature and music so worth popping into town for. Authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Chris Riddell are coming in to talk about their books, there’s a Peppa Pig concert to introduce little ones to orchestral music, there’s outdoor games, a giant blackboard and sound pit, a screening of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with a live orchestra, hip-hop workshops and more, more, more. Check out the full programme here.
The Winter’s Tale for Young Audiences, National Theatre, London, Wed Feb 6 – Thurs 21 Feb
This is a great way to introduce primary-age children to Shakespeare – it’s only an hour long! The Winter’s Tale, the story of Perdita, the girl who was once lost but is found, returns to the National Theatre in February 2019 following a sell-out run at the Dorfman Theatre last year. Adapted by Justin Audibert and directed by Ruth Mary Johnson, the show will also be accompanied by interactive family workshops on Mon Feb 18 and Tues Feb 19.