This weekend’s events are all about getting out and exploring our world: different cultures, exciting animals, and the land we thrive upon. See how the Vikings lived at the very entertaining Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks or sit in a real Apache teepee on the bluffs at the Chumash Day PowWow. Shake a tail-feather and head to the Skirball for a day learning about birds, or visit the Family Pet Expo to see over a thousand different animals, live and in action. To celebrate terra firma, hit the dusty trail at Paramount Ranch’s science fair in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains, or stop by Descanso Garden’s Earth Day (pictured) bash for some bbq, fun with ladybugs, and educational lectures. Last, but not least, is the opportunity for your children to explore their humanitarian sides, with the Kids 4 Kids 5K Run/Walk to support the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

Los Angeles

Kids 4 Kids 5K Run/Walk
Here is a way to support the Children’s Cancer Research Fund while also getting the wiggles out! Radio Disney will get everyone warmed up at L.A. Live in Downtown during registration, then the race begins at 10:00 am. Cross the finish line and there will be prizes for the top three male and female winners in each age group, as well as a carnival. Hang out and meet Elmo, eat the festival fare, hear live music, and ride the ferris wheel. Keep an eye out for appearances by the event’s All Star Team of celebrity athletes including: Pau Gasol, Landon Donovan, Dustin Brown, Joel Pineiro, Rebecca Soni, and Luc Robitaille. Make sure you pre-register online (see listing). Sun. 8:00 am to 1:30 pm, Downtown Los Angeles, $25 adults, $10 children under 18. Event Details.

Earth Day Celebration at Descanso Gardens
Love ladybugs? Visit Ladybug Land at the Garden’s Main Lawn where the charming, jewel-like beetles get the spotlight. Your munchkins can see them in all stages of their itty-bitty lives, do ladybug puzzles, play ladybug parachute games and create a make-and-take ladybug craft. Don’t miss the Moo Doo Puppet’s performance of “Earth Day Safari” at 11:00 am. When tummy-rumblings start, grab some eco-friendly bbq by Patina, then head to Under the Oaks Theater for some live bluegrass music and a leisurely family lunch. Parents may want to drop in on one of the educational lectures occurring throughout the day on topics such as “Reimagining the California Lawn” and how to “go solar.” Sat. 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, La Cañada Flintridge, free with Gardens admission – $8 adults, $3 children 12 and under. Event Details.

Family Pet Expo
If your notion of “family” is not limited to the two-legged kind, this event is for you. In addition to pet products, there are over 1,000 animals to see like creepy-crawlers, police dogs, fish, reptiles, and horses. Visit the petting zoo or take a pony ride for some hands-on fun or see an exciting show like the Dock Diving Splash Dogs, Free Flight Birds, or step into the Middle Ages for the Medieval Times Horse Show. Trainers, breeders, and experts will be available for questions. You many not be able to resist the Adorable Animal Adoption area and go home with a new addition to the family! Fri., Sat., Sun. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (7:00 pm on Sat.), Costa Mesa, $12 adults, $6 children 6-12, active military and children 5 years and under, free. Event Details.

What’s Up for Kids Expo
Are you in the know? This fantastic resource provides parents with information about all of the summer camps, classes, and family activities available in your area. There will be over 55 exhibitors to enlighten you, along with oodles of hands-on exhibits, crafts, and entertainment for your kids. Sat. 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Torrance, free. Event Details.


Family Fun with Fine Feathered-Friends
A bevy of bird-related activities is scheduled to educate little bird-watchers-in-training at the Skirball Cultural Center. The Audubon Society and the LA Zoo will divulge secrets like the best places in town to bird-watch, what to do if you find an injured one, and introduce you to some of their live, feathered-friends. Stick around to meet Olivia Bouler, an eleven-year-old bird artist, author, and budding ornithologist. At 1:00 pm she will share her book, Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf. Her enthusiasm inspires children to soar to new heights! Sun. 10:00 am, Los Angeles, free with museum admission – $10 adults, $5 children 2-12, children under 2 are free. Event Details.


Paramount Ranch Science Fair
Location, location, location. This science fair is held at a spot so beautiful, they made an old-west movie set out of it. Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, you will walk the dusty main street of town and meet local scientists and naturalists, who are eager to guide you through various educational activities. Take a nature hike and find out how to track a mountain lion. Learn to identify the native flora and fauna, and meet live animals. When the sun sets, kick up your boots ‘round the campfire and watch owls fly at night, view the constellations, and hear stories from long ago. Fri. 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Sat. 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, Agoura Hills, free. Event Details.

Downtown Burbank Arts Festival
Get ready to paint the town red. Four city-blocks of San Fernando Boulevard will be cordoned off to house thousands of pieces of artwork of all disciplines, including an entire block dedicated solely to Burbank students and their work. Groove to the live music and shop for ceramics, jewelry, or photography. The whole family will enjoy watching the street painting and demonstrations or joining in workshops designed to get kids inspired about the creative process. Live a colorful life! Sat. 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Sun. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Burbank, free. Event Details.

Scandinavian Festival
A Viking Village takes over Cal Lutheran University! It is worth the trip simply for the delicious food like traditional Swedish meatballs, Aebleskivers, and homemade Danishes, to mention a tasty few. Yet beyond the cuisine is a boatload of fun fit to rival any festival. Dress in period costumes for the Take A Liking to a Viking Family-Photo Opportunity, see the professional Hans Christian Andersen storyteller, make a flower head-wreath at the maypole, watch horse croquet, or visit the children’s crafts area at Kingsmen Park. Kick up your wooden heels to music from bands like Ole Olsson’s Oldtime Orkestra and if your inner-Viking is roaring to let loose, stay for the Old time Scandinavian Dance on Saturday night (5:00 pm to 8:30 pm). Sat. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sun. 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Thousand Oaks, $7 adults, children under 12, free. Event Details.

Beach Cities

Chumash Day PowWow
Take your own family tribe to the Malibu bluffs for a colorful day with the Chumash. Native Americans from various clans will dress in formal regalia to dance in the traditional “circle” of tribes. Your little ones can taste real Indian Fry Bread and go inside an authentic Apache teepee. There will be over 40 arts and crafts vendors to shop from, storytelling for the kids, and projects to learn about the local Chumash heritage. A shuttle will be provided for parking on Malibu Canyon Road. Sat. 11:00 am to 7:30 pm, Sun. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Malibu, free. Event Details.

Earth Day Celebration at Polliwog Park
“By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea! You and me, you and me, oh how happy we’ll be!” Words to an old song, but totally fitting for this ocean-side Earth Day celebration. The bike parade kicks things off at 10:30 am with a route through town. A bike valet will be at the finish-line so your family can drop your cycles off and participate in the festival. The Children’s Concert begins at noon, followed by the Environmental Hero Awards, and then on to live music and dancing. Vegetarian and vegan fare will be available for purchase, as well as a whole host of eco-friendly vendors to shop, with everything from gifts to solar panels. The Eco Quiz and Kid’s Activity Walk will keep your own little polliwogs busy and learning. Sat. 10:30 am to 4:00 pm, Manhattan Beach, free. Event Details.

—Kameron DeWulf