Thanksgiving is almost here but before you dig into that pumpkin pie out this weekend’s bounty of fun. Make your wizarding dreams come true  at a Harry Potter themed scavenger hunt, kick up your heels at a barn dance or roll up your sleeves in holiday themed cooking classes. No matter what you do, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful that you live in the Bay Area.


Sprouts Cooking Club

San Francisco

Accio Broom! It’s a Potter-themed Scavenger Hunt!
Young wizards will enjoy a trip to the Legion of Honor, in search of art that echoes characters and enchanted objects in the Harry Potter books. You’ll track down Hagrid-like giants, a powerful sorceress, Dumbledore look-alikes, and figures as scary as any Death Eater. This hunt references the books to provide a bridge to many wonderful works of art. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. All-adult teams may compete separately. Advance purchase required. Price does not include museum admission. Sat. Event details.

Light Up Your Night at this Tree Ceremony
Get ready to light up your night and kick off the holidays at the Pier 39 Tree Lighting Celebration. Sing songs, send letters to Santa Claus and welcome the holiday season with a day of merriment for the whole family. At 6pm, gather around the tree to enjoy live musical performances by Dashaun Young (Simba) and Nia Holloway (Nala) from Disney’s “The Lion King,” playing at SHN Orpheum Theatre through December 31. The fun culminates with the lighting of Pier 39′s majestic 60-foot tree. Sat. Event details.

Crack a Book at the San Francisco Zoo
Head to the San Francisco Zoo for the first annual Children’s Literary Event, Let’s Read!, presented by the National Kidney Foundation. Meet bestselling authors and get your book signed. Other activities include animal visits, crafts, a healthy lunch, rides and a full day’s access to the zoo with free parking. Sun. Event details.

East Bay

Jam to this Canning Class
Did you know that jam doesn’t just come off the grocery store shelf? It’s true! In fact people used to make it all the time and many still do. You can join them and learn about the preserving process at Forest Home Farms Historic Park. In this class you’ll also learn about the kind of jams that we once sold here at the park and taste some different types. Kids can help make some butter in a churn to sample their work. Sat. Event details.


Even Your Parents Will Dig this Kid Rock
Hey, kids one of your favorite bands is warming up to knock your socks off. That’s right, the Hipwaders are back to provide some famously cool rock for kids and their families such as “Hey Josie,” and “Educated Kid.” Your parents will be begging you to take them back for another show! Sat. Event details.

What (Thanksgiving) Side are you on?
Put on your apron and get ready to prep for some serious Thanksgiving cooking competition. In this Sprouts Cooking Club edition kids will break into teams and compete to make the very best holiday side dish. The results will include beloved fall staples such as sweet butternut squash risotto, nutty roasted cauliflower and homemade gravy. Sun. Event details.


What You Need is a Good Old Barn Dance
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 3 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 5 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. Dinner and dance is $12-$20. RSVP here, space is limited. Sat. Event details.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to this Play
Are you off to see the Wizard? Then grab your best sparkly red heels then click, click, click and maybe you’ll end up in the front row at the Wizard of Oz, presented by Peninsula Youth Theatre. You won’t want to miss the adventure of these scrappy characters, Dorothy, Scarecrow Tin Man, Lion and Toto, of course. This version includes those classic, beloved songs, “Over the Rainbow” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” Sat.-Sun. Event details.

South Bay

Ride this Train to the North Pole
All aboard, The Polar Express is departing from Santa Cruz and it’s just as magical as the movie. Kids can dress up in their jammies and bring along their golden tickets to prepare for a festive ride to the North Pole. The story will come to life via the book’s characters and dancing chefs will serve hot cocoa and cookies as the doubting hobo wanders through the train. The train will stop at the North Pole where they can meet Santa Claus and receive a sliver sleigh bell of their own. Finally, they will board the train to the sounds of Christmas carols. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Make Contact with the Moon
Bring the family to the New Museum in Los Gatos and experience the Making Contact exhibit featuring SETI artists in residence, as well as sculptures and mixed media work by Charles Lindsay. Attend the Making Contact Artist/Scientist Panel Discussion on November 5. Exhibit runs through March 2017. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

North Bay

Fly Away to Open Cockpit Weekend
Get ready to take off to Open Cockpit weekend at the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa. Families can get close up looks at select aircraft and even climb inside (just don’t fly away)! These peeks inside allow visitors to get a real life glimpse of what its like to pilot a real fighter plane, helicopter and more. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

Rock Your Socks off Tots
This isn’t just any tot rock, this is for the sophisticated set sung by singer-songwriter and educator Alison Faith Levy and the Tot Rock Band. You could hear hits such as “One More Cupcake,” “Three Tulips” and “Reach for the Sky.” The songs focus on the themes self-expression, self-empowerment, and self-acceptance. Free with admission to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Sat. Event details.

What are you grateful for? Tell us how you’re preparing (or not) in the comments below!

— Chantal Lamers