Feed the sheep or climb the walls at Shawn the Sheep: Flock This Way. Photo courtesy of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

February opens with a slew of fun and fascinating exhibits that Pittsburgh kids are sure to love. Monster trucks and dinosaurs roar into town for weekend visits. And Black History Month offers its share of cultural and historical events, too.

1. Now through April 30: Shaun the Sheep: Flock This Way, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

We know Shaun the Sheep as a brilliant problem solver with a (hee-hee-hee!) silly sense of humor. This new exhibit at the Children’s Museum challenges kids ages 3-9 to work out problems themselves in engaging ways. The fun includes emulating Shaun’s antics by hopping on balance boards, climbing the walls (literally!) and balancing on tires. Jump in a truck for a pretend drive to Mossy Bottom Farm or pull on your favorite “championsheep”-inspired costume. You can even create stop motion animation using items from the scrapheap. The exhibit is included with general admission.

Step Afrika! Photo by Drago Videmšek.

2. Feb. 1 & 2: Step Afrika!, Byham Theater

Stepping as an art form has been practiced by sororities and fraternities at historically Black colleges for many years. Step Afrika! was founded in 1994 as the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping — a polyrhythmic, percussive dance form that uses the body as an instrument. The Washington, D.C.-based company travels the world, and has performed in more than 60 countries. The vibrant show integrates contemporary dance with storytelling, songs and humor in a heart-pounding experience. Tickets start at $31, with $10 pricing for the student matinee.

The Cockpit Flight Trainer includes an authentic Jay Velocity flight simulator. Photo by Sally Quinn.

3. Feb. 2-25: Open House, Tuskegee Airmen Museum at Hosanna House

In honor of Black History Month, families are invited to a monthlong open house at the Tuskegee Airmen Museum at Hosanna House’s Center for Aviation Technology & Training. It’s a terrific introduction to the aviation field. Kids can sit in the pilot’s seat for a flight simulator takeoff or build foam wearable wings for an imaginary flight. The Land the Plane Maze is inspired by air traffic control radar. And the multi-purpose Airport Play Table offers a collection of airplanes and other vehicles to move around an airport’s runways. Older kids and grownups will appreciate the Tuskegee Airmen display and the Smithsonian Institution’s Build it Yourself Exhibit: “Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight,” which chronicles stories of African Americans who found success despite racial barriers. The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays throughout February. Admission is $4 for ages 3-14 and $8 for grownups.

Boyce Park
Photo courtesy of Allegheny County.

4. Feb. 4: Snowfest 2023, Boyce Park

Thank goodness for snow-making machines! The Boyce Park Snowfest will go on despite the forecast. Expect a blizzard of activities like the Mini Junior Olympics Ski and Snowboard Races, free hot cocoa and a DJ. We’re most excited about the seventh-annual Cardboard Box Snow Tubing Derby, which allows kids to bring sleds constructed from cardboard and duct tape to compete on the snow tubing hill. We can’t wait to see what they come up with — and how many remain intact at the bottom of the hill. Kids race in two age groups: up to 15 years and 16 years and older. The entry fee is $10 or $5 with the donation of a canned good. Entry fees benefit the Boyce Park Ski Patrol, and canned goods will be donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Visit the website for registration details and the activity schedule.

5. Feb. 4-6: “Rapunzel,” Byham Theater

We all know the story of Rapunzel and her extraordinary hair. In this new adaptation developed by producer and teaching artist Claire Sabatine and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Rapunzel lives with her overprotective Nan. Each year, Rapunzel’s hair grows longer and longer as Nan builds their tower higher and higher to protect them from the outside world. Rapunzel wonders about that world with a growing curiosity. Her friendship with a neighborhood girl gives her the courage to break free. The new “Rapunzel” is brought to life with song, magic and spectacle. The show is best for kids ages 3 and older. The performance is sold out on Feb. 4 and 5, so move fast to get tickets for Feb. 6. Tickets are $12.

Photo by John Weinstein.

6. Feb. 4-May 29: Apsáalooke Women and Warriors, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The traditions of the Apsáalooke (pronounced ap-SAH-loo-gah) people of the Northern Plains, also known as the Crow, are celebrated in this exhibit curated by the Field Museum in Chicago. In this matriarchal society, women and warriors both held powerful positions. Visitors will learn about their daring feats in battle and horsemanship through historical war shields and horse regalia. The exhibit includes a 9-foot-tall modern tipi and more than 20 works of contemporary art, including paintings, photography, innovative beadwork and high-end fashion. The exhibit is included in general admission, but timed tickets are suggested.

Image courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

7. Feb. 4-Sept. 3: “Opposites Attract: A Mo Willems Exhibit,” MuseumLab and New Hazlett Theater

This new exhibit is based on “Opposites Attract,” the recent book by bestselling children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems. Kids can explore the complicated yet simple (see what we did there?) concepts of opposites through hands-on activities, art making and performances. Opening weekend on Feb. 4 and 5 includes Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians exploring opposites in music, and playing with shapes, words and movement. Confluence Ballet Co. presents three stories about opposites with choreography that juxtaposes movements. A mini film festival of Mo Willems shorts runs several times on both days. Some activities are free, others require general admission. Check the schedule for all the details.

Photo courtesy of Feld Motor Sports.

8. Feb. 10-12: Monster Jam, PPG Paints Arena

Bring earplugs for Monster Jam’s roaring, crashing performance of 12,000-pound monster trucks. Drivers go full throttle, tearing up the dirt in intense competitions of speed and skill. These world-class drivers show off their dexterity and talent in head-to-head battles. Fan faves like Grave Digger, El Toro Loco and the mighty Megalodon push the limits in competitions. Freestyle motocross exhibitions are part of the excitement. Tickets start at $26.

Photo courtesy of Jurassic Quest.

9. Feb. 10-12: Jurassic Quest, David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Get up close to life-size, realistic dinosaurs and ancient ocean dwellers, such as T-Rex, Spinosaurus and the 50-foot-long megalodon. Jurassic Quest’s skyscraping, animatronic dinosaurs bring supersized family fun. Kids can ride on the back of a dino, dig for fossils and bop through dino-themed bounce houses. It’s a blast to meet the baby dinosaurs and walk with the rambunctious teen-size reptiles. Admission is $22 for ages 2-adult, $19 for seniors or $36 for an unlimited ticket.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

10. Feb. 11-Sept. 4: Vikings: Warriors of the North Sea, Carnegie Science Center

The Age of the Vikings from the 8th to the 11th century was a period of conquest and colonization, alongside the development of specialized crafts and professions. The new exhibit, Vikings: Warriors of the North Sea, brings the period to life with a replica Viking ship and more than 140 artifacts. Kids can hold and balance a reproduction Viking sword, try on traditional garb and play a Viking aristocratic board game that’s based on military strategies. Tickets are $16 for kids, $20 for grownups and $18 for seniors.

Bonus events:

Feb. 4: Youth Writers Camp, August Wilson African American Cultural Center

Feb. 16-19: “Disney Beauty and the Beast Jr,” Gargaro Theater

Feb. 18: Arts All Around Us Concert, Heinz Hall

Feb. 23 & 24: Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries, Byham Theater

Feb. 25 & 26: Flamingo Fest, The National Aviary

Find more things to do in Pittsburgh, including public events, live music and family activities, here.

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Sally Quinn

Sally Quinn is a Pittsburgh-based editor and writer who writes about food, entertainment, kid stuff, pop culture, cocktails!