It’s Father’s Day weekend so go ahead and treat pop to a day (or a few days) of exploring. Does dad like to fish? Or maybe camp? Hoe does he feel about bugs? There are plenty to take him from a pirate festival to open cockpit day and even a rocking Friday night on the beach. No matter where you end up, just know he’ll be hanging with his best buddy.

Photo: Pexels via pixabay


San Francisco

You’ll Flip for the Red Panda Acrobats
The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival offers the delightful Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Garden Series, interactive performances specially designed for kids and families, on Fridays in the Yerba Buena Children’s Garden at Howard and Fourth Streets. Combining exceptional athletic skills, traditional Chinese music, dazzling costumes and a fast-paced show sure to amaze viewers of all ages, the Red Panda Acrobats bring the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics into the 21st century with jaw-dropping displays of strength, balance and dexterity.Fri. Event details.

Go Soaring at the Presidio Kite Festival
Let your imagination soar at this colorful, family-friendly festival featuring all things kite. The artistry, diversity, and fun of modern flying will take your breath away! The free, all-day event features a free “build you own kite” booth, hands on learning from kite experts, a kite art exhibition, giant kites, mega team flying, Taiko drummers, and food trucks. Offered in partnership with Highline Kites. Sat. Event details.

East Bay

Walk the Plank to this Pirate Festival
Let Dad be captain for the day, at the Northern California Pirate Festival. Dress in your scallywagging best and ship off to enjoy pirate encampments, gourmet food, four stages of continuous entertainment and a special kid’s area complete with a School of Piracy and a 30 ft. slide. Plus you just gave him carte blanche to eat a turkey leg while gazing at mermaids. Epic win, pirate style.  Sat.-Sun. Event details. 

Meet the Animals of the Garden
Bug out in the garden during Animal of the Garden Discovery Day at UC Botanical Gardens. During this family festival kids can get scoop on everything from very hungry caterpillars (do they really like salami and swiss cheese?) to plants that eat bugs. Discovery stations led by docents are sprinkled throughout the gardens. Come on two legs or on eight! Sun. Event details. 


Make Like Maverick Open Cockpit Day
Wanna know what it would be like to fly Korean War MiG-15? You can find out at Open Cockpit Day at the Oakland Aviation Museum. Get a glimpse of flight training in a simulator and let the imagination run wild in the Navy A-3 Sky Warrior. You can even tour the Solent Flying Boat from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There’s a food vendor area on site, too so you can grab lunch. Sun. Event details.

South Bay

Friday Night Bands on the Beach
It starts this weekend! What could be better than sunset, surf and song? The Santa Cruz Boardwalk continues its annual classic beach concerts with shows from Blue Oyster Cult, Gin Blossoms, Great White, Los Lobos and so many more. Stretch out your blanket and watch the kiddos rave. Your tiny dancers are guaranteed to sleep during the car ride home. Friday nights, June 16 through Sept. 1. Fri. Event details. 

Camp at Gilroy Gardens With Dad
Grab your tent and sleeping bags and drive down to Gilroy Gardens for an overnight camp with Dad. Arrive at the Gardens Saturday afternoon, enjoy dinner in the picnic grove, stroll the grounds in the evening, and then spend the next day romping around the park. Price includes three meals (Saturday dinner and breakfast and lunch on Sunday) and unlimited soft drinks and water, a docent tour and education activities on Sunday morning, and access to the theme park. Win! Sat. Event details.

Raise the Woof with some Spotty Dogs
Dalmatian parents Pongo and Perdita live a happy, quiet life in London with their eight puppies and two human pets—Roger and Anita. But when their villainous neighbor Cruella De Vil decides to kidnap the puppies…well, you know the rest. See a production you’ll love almost as much as the kids do: it’s starring an eager cast of 4-12 -year-olds in a live version of one of your favorite Disney pup performances. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Expect a Wild Night at this Cinema
Enjoy an evening of fun, endearing and thought-provoking short films carefully selected by Exploratorium Cinema Arts for CuriOdyssey kids. Doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Fri. Event details.

Barn Dance and Work Day at Pie Ranch
Give back and live it up at Pie Ranch in Pescadero! Grab your work gloves, gardening tools if you have them, and sturdy shoes and work on the farm tilling soil, pulling weeds, and cutting plants (at 1 p.m.). At 2 p.m. you can join a farm tour ($12-$20/person) to learn about the agriculture of the 27-acre ranch. Visit with cows, goats, chickens, and pigs, too. Then at 6 p.m. trade your work boots for dancing shoes! Bring a dish to share at the potluck dinner and and kick up your heels at the barn dance that follows featuring the Country Line Pickers. Sat. Event details.

North Bay

Help Dad Reel in a Big Fish
Get hooked on fishing at the pier with tips and tricks from ranger and local anglers during Father’s Day Weekend. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. Don’t forget to bring your dad and a fishing pole. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Parks and Rec  will provide bait and a limited amount of fishing poles, thanks to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Sat. Event details.

Give Dad a Break at the BBQ
It’s Dad’s day, so let someone else flip the burgers. Grab dad’s hand and cruise over to the Marin Country Mart Courtyard for Belcampo BBQ, Paella and Beer and the Folkish Fest. Tunes are by Big Brother and the Holding Company, Looking Through You and The Hippy Hill Band. So, dig in! Sun. Event details.

Where are you taking day this weekend? Tell us in the comments below!

–Chantal Lamers