Long weekend and Mardi Gras and Presidents’ Day, oh my! From the Ice Age to Bourbon Street, Scotland to Tatooine, Noah’s Ark to Reagan’s Oval Office, you can explore any world, culture or even galaxy this weekend!  Get ready for Fat Tuesday at the Original Farmers Market Mardi Gras celebration or have some Highland fun at the Queen Mary during the Scottish Festival. On Saturday you can attend a family dance party or get decked out in your Star Wars finest to check out the science behind the story that began long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Spend the night on Noah’s Ark at a family sleepover and wake up Sunday to check out some more recent California history at the Living History Day at Los Encinos Museum. And here are a few bonus events for Monday, in case you have the day off. You can have an encounter with a Saber-Toothed Cat at the Page Museum or celebrate Presidents’ Day at a Presidential Library!

Los Angeles

Mardi Gras at the Original Farmers Market
Hit the coolest Mardi Gras party this side of Bourbon Street. Enjoy outstanding Cajun bands (including Lisa Haley & the Zydekats and The Zydeco Mudbugs), gator puppet making, bead tossing, face painting, a special Mardi Gras paraphernalia stand and great New Orleans style cuisine. And don’t forget the fabulous and fun costumed pet parade! Sat. & Sun., 11:00 am – 9:00 pm. Beverly Grove. Free. All ages. Event details.

Ice Age Encounters
Have an Ice Age Encounter when a snarling, prowling Saber-Toothed Cat and her 2-month-old baby make a special appearance at the Page Museum. This jaw-dropping specimen invokes a time when big cats roamed the land now called Los Angeles. You won’t believe your eyes. Mon., 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Mid-Wilshire. $5-$11. All ages. Event details.

Family Dance Party at the Echo
Parents and kids of all ages are invited to a kid-friendly afternoon with a live DJ, dancing, face painting, scarves, hula hoops, bubbles, art activities, healthy snacks and much more! Sat., 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Echo Park. $20 per family. All ages. Event details.


Noah’s Ark Sleepover
Climb aboard Noah’s Ark for a memorable overnight getaway and doze with a walrus or bunk up with a beaver. There are hands-on activities, beastly bedtime stories, and a tasty dinner. Then wake up to animal yoga and a yummy breakfast.  Sat. – Sun., 6:00 pm – 9:00 am. West Los Angeles. $45-$55. Ages 6+. Event details.


Presidents’ Day at the Reagan Library
Mingle with our Founding Fathers during the 20th Annual Presidents’ Day Celebration at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The celebration has musical entertainment, storytelling, and presidential and first lady look a-likes. Hot dogs, pie and other all-American food are on the menu, of course! Mon., 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Simi Valley. Free. All ages. Event details.

Living History at Los Encinos
Enjoy an afternoon of traditional children’s games, music, a blacksmith, docents in 1870s attire and tours of the historic buildings. Los Encinos State Historic Park is the site of a 19th Century rancho, and before that, a Gabrielino/Togva village. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the tranquil grounds. Sun., 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Encino. Free. All ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Scottish Festival
Head down to Long Beach to celebrate the Scottish heritage of the Queen Mary. Activities for the whole family include Highland dancing, plenty of music (including bagpipes and drums!), historical reenactments, Scottish foods (and ales for the grownups), a Grand Parade and sheepdog herding demonstrations where “wee ones” have a chance to pet the dogs and sheep. Sat. & Sun., 8:00 am – 9:00 pm. Long Beach. $12-$22. All ages. Event details.

Star Wars Fan Days
Discovery Science Center currently has an exhibit called Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination. And periodically (like this Saturday) they host special “Fan Days”, where in addition to special events and activities, kids get in free when they wear their Star Wars costume! So enjoy a family dress-up day where you can build and test your own speeders and robots, see real artifacts from all six Star Wars films, explore the technology of droids and landspeeders and much more. Sat., 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Santa Ana. $20.95-$22.95. Ages. 3-14. Event details.

–Meghan Rose

photo courtesy of Sherry A via Yelp