Over 30 Things to Do in Delaware This February
From the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge to a murder mystery party in Wilmington, the shortest month of the year is packed with fun in the First State.
The Riverfront ice skating rink is open throughout the month.//fotilia, franz12.
Week of Feb. 1-7
Parents Night Off
Jan. 1 • Wilmington
Do you have trouble making date night a thing? Well, let’s try harder, parents of Delaware—this is Valentine’s Day month, after all. The Delaware Museum of Natural History has kindly offered to entertain your kiddos from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a fabulous evening of children-only fun. Don’t worry about dinner, either—pizza is on the house. They’ll play games, do arts and crafts, catch a flick … you’re officially off the hook.
Verdi, Verismo & Vino
Feb. 1 and 3 • Wilmington
Whoever thought of pairing opera with wine, we applaud you. This year’s event pairs delightful winter wines (selected by the Swigg experts) with classic Verdi arias. Friday is a 7:30 p.m. date night offering, while the Sunday show wines up at 2 p.m.
The Last Five Years
Feb. 1-10 • Wilmington
A contemporary musical love story about a young, emerging novelist enjoying his first taste of success, and the struggling actress with whom he falls in love, as they traverse the course of a five-year relationship. What could possibly go wrong? Curtains up at the Wilmington Drama League.
Lewes Polar Bear Plunge
Feb. 3 • Rehoboth Beach
Look at the bright side—do you know how much you’ll save on a bikini in the winter? Special Olympics Delaware thanks you for your dedicated dunk. If for some strange reason throwing yourself into the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of winter doesn’t sound too inviting, there are other ways you can do a solid for Special Olympics this weekend—the 5K will keep you warm for a good three miles or so. And if you’re just anti-athletic things, period, get your eat on at the Fire & Ice (what’s up, “Game of Thrones” fans) Festival at the Rehoboth Beach Fire Hall, where your taste buds will be challenged on both sides of the thermometer. Ice cream and hot wings? Can’t lose.
New Directions in African American History
Feb. 4 • Wilmington
The Delaware History Museum hosts Tera W. Hunter, author and Princeton University professor of history and African-American studies, for an evening lecture that dovetails with her recent award-winning work, “Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century.”
Feb. 6-24 • Wilmington
A French country girl finds herself on trial for her life after the nation’s rulers become threatened by her influence and popularity—all this fame, and she doesn’t even have an Instagram account. With mysterious visions of saints inspiring her to help recover France from English domination, she paves the way for victory. This epic, transcendent story brings renewed life to one of history’s greatest heroines as she pushes the boundaries of a society dominated by political and religious forces. (She might not have an Insta, but she does have a hashtag: #DTCSaintJoan. Let’s make this a thing.) Catch it at Delaware Theatre Company.
Feb. 7-10 • Wilmington
Peter Parker’s origin story might be splashy, if you’re into the whole radioactive spider-bite thing. But what about that other spandex-clad Peter, hero to children the world over? Peter Pan came from the pen of playwright J.M. Barrie, who, after meeting four young brothers and their single mother, found himself spellbound by the brothers’ outrageous make-believe tales. Inspired, Barrie brought the swashbuckling Peter Pan to life. No radioactive insects here—this Peter’s greatest super power is his pure, unadulterated love of being a kid. Catch the play that is crushing it on Broadway at The Grand for three special days in February. We can’t guarantee a Tinkerbell sighting, but be on the lookout anyway. Matinee shows go on at 2 p.m., evening shows at 7:30.
Week of Feb. 8-14
Madeleine and the Bad Hat
Feb. 8 • Wilmington
In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived 12 little girls in two straight lines. But the lines get a little crooked when one mischievous girl named Madeleine gets off on the wrong foot with a new neighbor. Your favorites from the beloved children’s book series make an appearance in this tale of nemesis-turns-besties that will delight your pre-K through third-grade crew. We are slightly puzzled at the title of this play, though—surely there is no such thing as a bad hat to a Parisian. Madeleine is in town for one day only, with two early afternoon shows at The Grand.
Victorine's Valentine's Day
Feb. 9 • Wilmington
Victorine’s Valentine’s Day is a sweet family event at Hagley with something for everyone. Try your hand at making a Valentine card, kick some old-school love verses with a quill pen, get your hands on some tasty treats and more. This whole-day event, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is the in-real-life equivalent of the heart-eyes emoji.
Like, Oh My Gosh, Murder
Feb. 9 • Wilmington
Let’s all make like a Rubik’s Cube and twist our fabulous ’80s-versions-of-ourselves over to the Delaware Museum of Natural History for a decidedly, like, adult night of murder mystery. Polly Abdool (we’re so sorry, Paula) is hosting an album release party, but she’s gotta keep taking two steps forward and two steps back after the night is plagued by murder. Who did it? Dress in your best ’80s attire and get down to this mystery at the museum. This killer party starts at 7 p.m.
China Pop: Contemporary Year of the Pig
Feb. 9 • Wilmington
Imagine a “Contemporary Chinese Art” Pinterest board in real life, and that’ll be the Delaware Contemporary on Feb. 9 as it fetes all-things modern art culture relating to the Year of the Pig. Participating artists include Jun Cen, a big-time illustrator for publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post; Chang Liu, a mixed-media genius; Qingshan Wang, a photographer who finds inspiration at the intersection between humans and nature in urban scapes, and more. Wear red for a dash of good fortune, and don’t miss the good luck balloon drop-and-pop. This 18+ event starts at 7 p.m.
Chinese New Year Celebration: Year of the Pig
Feb. 10 • Wilmington
Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the Delaware Art Museum. This 11 a.m. event includes traditional Chinese art and demonstrations, dancing and a special presentation from the Renaissance Chinese Opera Company.
Man on Fire
Feb. 13 • Wilmington
In the small town of Grand Saline, Texas, one man could no longer keep secret the dark history of his hometown. In 2014, Charles Moore set himself on fire to bring awareness to the lurking racism in the area. Screen the documentary “Man on Fire” at The Queen at 6:30 p.m. After, we hope you’ll settle somewhere on Market and discuss what you saw.
Collecting as Activism: African American Art and the Legacy of Paul R. Jones
Feb. 13-May 17 • Newark
A collector and philanthropist, Paul R. Jones (1928-2010) began collecting art in the 1960s, focusing on acquiring works by African-American and African diaspora artists—artists, at the time, who were often marginalized and excluded from major museum collections. Through artworks from his collection, the exhibition invites visitors to ask questions surrounding diversity, inclusion and visibility in art museums, as well as the role of collectors in supporting underrepresented artists. See it at the University of Delaware’s Mechanic Hall Gallery.
Week of Feb. 15-21
I'm With Her
Feb. 17 • Wilmington
Before you jump into your favorite pantsuit, we don’t mean that her. This “her” is actually a band of extraordinary chemistry and exquisite musicianship, featuring Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan. Collectively, the multi-Grammy-Award-winners have released seven solo efforts, co-founded two seminal bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still), and contributed to critically acclaimed albums from a host of esteemed artists. Read: not your average girl group. Their full-length debut “See You Around” reveals their magic and fine-spun narratives. Hear this trifecta at The Grand.
Music Down in My Soul!
Feb. 17 • Wilmington
The Choir School of Delaware celebrates Black History Month with glorious sound. The Ezion-Mount Carmel United Methodist Church hosts a day of gospel, spirituals and works by composers of color. You won’t want to miss all this soulful spirit.
Winter Enrichment Camp
Feb. 18 • Wilmington
Bundle those babes up and send them out into the wild world of the Brandywine Zoo for a fun winter camp. Campers will learn all about what animals do in the winter, from hibernation to migration. For ages 5 to 13, this all-day camp starts at 9 a.m. and gives you a free day, mom and dad. The zoo advises you to go wild, too.
Chamber Series Concert 3: Lift Off!
Feb. 19 • Wilmington
Reach great heights with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra at the Gold Ballroom at Hotel du Pont for an evening with flute and percussion.
Week of Feb. 22-28
Feb. 23 • Wilmington
Let the littles get their STEM on at Hagley Museum. This installment of Science Saturday, “Pump it Up,” is all about fluid dynamics and hydraulics. Shhh—just don’t tell them they’re learning on a Saturday.
Light of Life Gala
Feb. 23 • Dover
The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s annual celebration of life is one of our favorite soirées. This year, the ladies are saucing it up with a Havana Nights theme with a Caribbean cocktail dress code. Leave the LBD at home and step out in glorious color to honor the lives of breast cancer survivors and those warriors no longer with us. Dover Downs turns into Little Cuba for the night with a live and silent auction, dancing and Survivor Showcase. The party is a little earlier this year, so if you’re going to be fashionably late, keep in mind it kicks off at 5 p.m. And hey—save us a Cubano.
Feb. 23 • Lewes
Ever spend the evening listening to a guy who won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo Album? Guitarist David Russell is that guy, and he’ll be in town at 2 p.m. at the Bethel United Methodist Church Hall for your listening pleasure. Shows like this don’t come around too often for the lover of classical music. P.S.: There’ll be some Handel in the house.
Wilmington Heart Ball
Feb. 23 • Wilmington
The Chase Center on the Riverfront plays host to an American Heart Association celebration of creating and sharing. The AHA asks you to open your heart to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. How? Just grab some friends and come on out and dance the night away. Pro tip: red will be the color of the night.
Feb. 23-March 17 • Wilmington
It’s a hard-knock life for our all-time favorite red head (nods to Ariel of mermaid fame and Anne of Green Gables, but still … ) and her best pal, Sandy, but you won’t be able to tell with all the singing and dancing. This might be the best family musical ever written, so grab your people and come visit the Delaware Children’s Theatre. If you can’t make it on opening night, there’s tomorrow, tomorrow! You’re always a day away, as it runs through March.
Delaware State Employee Art Exhibit
Feb. 25-March 18 • Dover
Do you work for the state? Do you have a creative side? Do you want to show off your stuff? This exhibit, held at Delaware State University’s Art’s Center, is for you, my friend. The show is on display to the public.
University of Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players Present "Minor Fantastical Kingdoms" through Feb. 10.// Photo courtesy of UD REP.
Ending this month
Thru Feb. • Wilmington
The pop-up ice rink at Justison Landing Green is still gliding strong through this month. The twinkling string lights, festive tunes and sparkling decorations make for one dreamy date-night. This is a Valentine’s Day win, friends. Open skate starts at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday, meet you at the rink at 11 a.m., then it’s straight to boozy brunch on the Riverfront afterward.
Cards Against Humanity
Tuesdays Thru Feb. • Wilmington
Listen. We get it. The holidays were tough. Wilmington’s Oddity Bar (yes, the Kesha bar) has the perfect weekly antidote: Cards Against Humanity every Tuesday night. Come solo or with a group, but be advised: Public shaming is involved. (Pro tip: Watch out for the unique Oddity bar cards thrown in the pile.) Get loose in Wilmington at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Politics and Paint
Thru Feb. 3 • Wilmington
While we don’t suggest talking politics around the dinner table, the subject of “Politics and Paint: Barbara Bodichon and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” might just make you overly chatty. Early Pre-Raphaelite painter and women’s rights campaigner Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon was a woman ahead of her time—the tireless reformer and champion of women’s rights helped send women to college and to keep their property, regardless of their marital status. Brotherhood, smotherhood. Smash the patriarchy at this exhibit at the Delaware Art Museum.
Minor Fantastical Kingdoms
Thru Feb. 10 • Newark
Stung by personal, political and economic setbacks, a young, urban couple build an off-the-grid, tiny house in an isolated mountain paradise—or did they? When family, friends and some quirky neighbors come for a Fourth of July barbecue, recriminations fly, revelations come to light and reconciliations are hard-won against a backdrop of personal and literal (thanks, writer’s room!) fireworks. Michael Gotch, a REP actor/director/playwright, puts on a humorous and very timely look at our world today. Presented by the University of Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players. If you need a new date night idea, here it is. Check it out through Feb. 10.
Thru Feb. 17 • Chadds Ford, Pa.
To continue its focus on the visually stunning, the Brandywine River Museum of Art hosts an in-depth examination of American painter Winslow Homer, whose work demonstrates the relationships between photography and painting. Explore his body of work, from the 1860s through the 1890s.
Throughout the month
In Between There
Thru March 17 • Wilmington
For her first solo exhibition in Delaware, internationally renowned printmaker Shelley Thorstensen uses her work to speak to the uncertainty and fluidity of human consciousness as it reckons with time, space and identity. Sound complex? Watch a few episodes of “Westworld” first, and then this will be a breeze. Catch Thorstensen’s large-scale prints and a series of new drawings in Wilmington at the Delaware Contemporary.
Thru Jan. 2020 • Wilmington
There’s no excuse not to step into the imaginative and entertaining world of garden follies at Winterthur—it’s only on display now until 2020! Explore a fantastic display of contemporary and historic architectural features—from a Gothic-inspired tower to American summerhouses to a faerie cottage and more—all set within the majestic beauty of Henry Francis du Pont’s 60-acre garden. This irresistible garden exhibition, featuring 13 unique vignettes, offers a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience with a twist of fancy fun.
Thru May • Wilmington
Are you a fan of rap music? Roller coasters? Half-pipes? Every one of these things requires design, and the backbone of thoughtful design is math. Yes—that means you can thank math for the dope beat of your favorite Drake song or for the speed at which Shaun White navigates a vertical ramp. If you like your math like you like your veggies—covered in bacon, say, or otherwise cleverly disguised—then this exhibit at the Delaware Museum of Natural History is for you.