More fun than a barrel full of monkeys? One is never sure exactly where these idioms come from, but it is hard to believe that a barrel full of monkeys would be any fun at all. There would be biting, fighting, noise and defecation involved, and surely PETA would be against the practice. Be that as it may, there is much frolic and good nature to the Monkey Bunch, an award-winning musical group dedicated to the interactive entertainment of children. The quartet's current residency at the Drake Hotel (Feb. 17, 18 & 24, 3 p.m., $10) arrives just in time for Family Day, an annual statutory holiday that poses challenges for parents looking to keep their children occupied and entertained in mid-winter.
Cold temperatures pose no problem at all for the good people of Harbourfront Centre: They've scheduled a free Skating Festival (Feb. 17 and 18) that includes a performance by Montreal ice dancers Le Patin Libre and activities with Olympic hockey player Jayna Hefford. Not that shinny needs to happen outdoors exclusively. The Hockey Hall of Fame invites little people aged 13 and under to take in its exhibits free of charge (up to four kids with one paid adult admission, Feb. 18, 10 a.m to 5 p.m.).
More free fun occurs at the Yes in My Backyard Festival, a showcase for community organizations at Toronto Reference Library (Feb. 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Inside the dome at Monarch Park Stadium, bouncy castles and mini-soccer games are afoot (Feb. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., $20 per family). The Royal Ontario Museum offers a three-day Carnival at the ROM, a celebration of Caribbean arts and culture (Feb. 16 to 18, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., $12 to $15). As well, seven City of Toronto museums cater to Family Day crowds on Monday (info at toronto.ca).
Finally, be assured that Monday is a recognized fun-day at the Toronto Zoo, where monkey business is not only allowed, but encouraged. (Daily, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., $11 to $20.)