Photo: I Love a Clean San Diego

Tree huggers unite! Earth Day is near and we know where your little activists can make a difference for the planet by doing a neighborhood clean-up, learning about how to live green and marching in a parade at the world’s largest free environmental fair. Get your kids involved in the community on this vital day, because there is no planet B. Read on for 9 events where kids can show Mother Earth some love.

alta vista earth dayPhoto: Alta Vista Gardens

Earth Day Festival at Alta Vista Gardens
Mother Nature shines her beauty every day at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens. This Earth Day, connect with nature in the fun-filled children’s and music gardens, paint a special rock to bring home and add to a mini-fairy garden with succulent planting. While kids frolic with face painting, hands-on worms and story time with Roxy the Recycling Robin, parents can browse the extensive plant and pottery sale, get gardening advice and browse the many vendor booths that will share earth-friendly ideas.

Date: Apr. 15, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Alta Vista Gardens
1270 Vale Terrace Dr.
Vista, Ca
Online: altavistagardens.org

Photo: Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

SEA Days: Party for the Planet
Birch Aquarium is already an awesome spot to remember that Earth Day is every day with its gorgeous views of the ocean and terrific interactive exhibits featuring clean energy and climate change. Visit on Earth Day and join in the free SEA Days fun with an Oceanographer and learn about watersheds and how our actions affect them. Little naturalists will love checking out the scientist’s interesting tools, photos and specimens. Finish off the day with a fun conservation craft.

Date: Apr. 15, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: $12.50 – $17/person; SEA Days free with admission

Birch Aquarium at Scripps
2300 Expedition Way
La Jolla, Ca
Online: aquarium.ucsd.edu

earth day 2Photo: San Diego EarthWorks

San Diego Earth Fair
Celebrate Mother Earth and learn how your family can better protect the planet at the world’s largest free environmental fair in Balboa Park. Don’t miss the Kid’s Earth Parade at 10:30 a.m. running along The Prado from theNAT to the Art Museum. Kids in groups of three or more can participate by dressing up and carrying signs with their message to protect the Earth. Consider doing this with a team, club, or scout troop. Or just cheer on kids who love the Earth! Family-friendly activities such as crafts, face painting, games, and storytelling will take place in the children’s area just in front of the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. While in the park, visit theNAT’s Family Day and bring your creativity to turn recyclable trash into treasure.

Insider’s Tip: Traffic and parking can be difficult for this large event which draws up to 60,000 people. Organizers encourage people to take public transit. For more information on transportation click here.

Dates/times: Sun., April 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free

Balboa Park
Park Blvd. and President’s Way
San Diego, Ca
Online: earthdayweb.org

Photo: Dan Boomer 

North County Earth Festival
Come join North County’s largest Earth Day Celebration, loaded with fun and educational activities for all ages. Visit the Home Improvement Zone and learn how to make your home greener with sustainable landscaping and alternative energy. Get kids excited to save water, recycle right and enjoy the great outdoors in the Eco-Kids Zone through engaging hands-on activities.  Shop local in the Vintage Market and find unique upcycled fashion and home goods. Learn to speak for the trees in the Arbor Day area.

Insider’s Tip: Ride your bike to Earth Festival and get pampered with free bike valet parking with Bike/Walk Oceanside.

Date: Apr. 22, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Downtown Oceanside
Corner of Pier View Way & Tremont Street
Oceanside, Ca
Online: ci.oceanside.ca.us

Photo: I Love a Clean San Diego 

15th Annual Creek to Bay Clean Up
Join I Love a Clean San Diego in your own neighborhood or at your family’s favorite natural spot as a volunteer for a super Earth Day clean up. Show your appreciation for San Diego’s environment by taking action. There are more than 100 sites throughout the county that need caring conservationists. Last year, volunteers cleaned up 150,000 pounds of trash at the event! Kids can join in the fun and win awards by entering the “Bling your Bucket” contest. Register for the event beginning April 1st.

Date: April 22 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Online: creektobay.org

Photo: Tanya Staab

San Elijo Earth Day Detectives
Inquisitive conservationists can don their spy gear and walking shoes to follow an expert guide through an interactive tour along the salt marsh loop trail. At each lagoon life station, kids explore a mystery in nature like a decaying log or trapdoor spider and ultimately learn how everything in our environment is interconnected. Finally, they’ll take a conservation pledge and learn simple ways to make our world cleaner and brighter every day of the year.
Date: April 22 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Limited to 25 participants, ages 8+
Cost: $10
Register online: www.sanelijo.org

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Earth Day at Torrey Pines Reserve
Celebrate Mother Earth by exploring the majestic Torrey Pines Natural Reserve. The day’s family fun focuses on Torrey Pines’ native plants and animals. Meet local critters through Project Wildlife and get up close to reptiles, birds and insects. Set out on a family friendly nature walk, then visit the booths, make a cool craft and learn about recycling, Kumeyaay history and the geology of this unique region.

Date: Apr. 22, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cost: Free ($12 for parking if you park on the Torrey Pines beach or reserve)

Torrey Pines Reserve
12600 North Torrey Pines Rd.
La Jolla, Ca
Online: torreypine.org

Earth Day at Pretend City
Have out-of-this-world fun at Pretend City where kids can make original creations with recyclables and a beautiful replica of Mother Earth in the Art Studio. Stop by for storytime to listen to Compost Stew and learn how to create your own compost bin at home. At Science for the Senses, little sprouts will enjoy exploring science and learning about a variety of seeds.

Date: Apr. 22, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: $12.50/person

Pretend City
29 Hubble
Irvine, Ca
Online: pretendcity.org

Photo: Scott Sporleder for The Ecology Center

Earth Day Celebration at The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center
Celebrate Earth Day at The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center in Carlsbad. This immersive festival experience will be fun for the whole family. Pre-register for workshops that teach about backyard composting, pickling surplus veggies and organic container gardening. Pack a picnic to enjoy a communal feast in the garden––seasonal drinks and additional snacks will be provided. You can also create eco crafts including seed balls to take home.

Insider’s Tip: Wear closed-toe shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting messy while gardening. Wear a hat and sunscreen and bring along a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Date: Apr. 22, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center
1580 Cannon Rd.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
Online: theecologycenter.org

The Ecology Center is also holding this same Earth Day Celebration from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at:

The Ecology Center
32701 Alipaz St.
San Juan Capistrano, Ca 92675
Online: www.theecologycenter.org

Where are you celebrating Earth Day with your kids? Let us know in the comments.

–– Cherie Gough