Magic must be in the air this weekend – there’s a magic show, a circus where unicorns come to life and the magic of music (and animals) after hours at the zoo! But if you’re feeling theatrical or botanical, we’ve also unearthed theatre and concerts and even a lotus festival. Enjoy the wonder this weekend, it’s everywhere you look.

echo lotus


The Emperor’s New Close Encounters of The Third Kind
The critically acclaimed Occidental Children’s Theater has a brand new show, and these adaptations of folktales start their seven week run this week. Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m. Eagle Rock. $7-$10. All ages. Event details.

The Lotus Festival Returns
The beautiful Lotus flowers have been missing for the last few years, as Echo Park Lake was refurbished, but they’re back! Enjoy live music, dance and performances –and of course the magical lotus blossoms. Sat. & Sun., 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Echo Park. Free. All ages. Event details.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s New Show
The new Legends show brings to life mythical and mysterious creatures of the past, like a unicorn, Pegasus and a woolly mammoth. Plus amazing artists perform feats of daring and spectacles of strength. Fri. – Sun., various times. Downtown. $26-$135. All ages. Event details.

Chinatown Summer Nights
Visit Chinatown all lit up at night and experience the tasty treats, music, dancing, performances and plenty of hands-on Chinese cultural activities for the kids. Sat., 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. Chinatown. Free. All ages. Event details.

Griffith Park

Family Night Zoo Goes Brazilian
Brazilian flavors and sounds transport you to another continent. Samba music and dancing, Brazilian food, costume characters and karaoke all help set the stage for a scavenger hunt and nocturnal animal encounters. Sat., 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Griffith Park. $14-$19. All ages. Event details.


SummerSounds at the Hollywood Bowl
The Bowl’s beloved kid concert series is back and Friday is the last day to catch Irish music with Chicago Reel.  Next week: travel to Bollywood. Fri., 10 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Hollywood. $15. Ages 2-8. Event details.

Marzo’s Variety and Magic Show
Willkommen to the Cabaret! It’s a modern take on a classic format, starring professional acts (such as magicians, ventriloquists, comedians, and more!) that are just right for kiddos. Sun., 3 p.m. Hollywood. $8.99-$10. Ages 5 and up. Event details.


Dino Days at Kidspace
Budding paleontologists can build dinosaurs, dig for fossils, make their own fossils and learn all about how dinosaurs lived. Even little tykes can enjoy the Jurassic celebration with special story and music time. Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pasadena. $11. Ages 1-10. Event details.


Four Clowns at the Beachhouse
Four Clowns is the artist in residence this summer at the Annenberg and they’ve been creating two brand-new works, including Friday’s performance of “Noah” (Noah’s Ark told through clowning and physical theater). Fri., 4:30 p.m. Santa Monica. Free. All ages. Event details.

The Quibbling Siblings
This summer Culver City Public Theatre presents “The Quibbling Siblings” – a little something we can all relate to – at this free show in the park. Sat. & Sun., 12:00 p.m. Culver City. Free. Ages 2-9. Event details.

Long Beach

Mary Poppins on the Beach
Grab a blanket, some snacks and get ready “Feed the Birds” (gulls, in this case) while you have a “Spoonful of Sugar” (movie snack of choice).  If you “Love to Laugh” you’ll delight in this “Jolly Holiday” of  “Supercalifragilsticexpialidocious” fun. Sat., Dusk. Long Beach. Free. Ages 4 and up. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Take Me To The (O.C.) Fair
What says summer more than an old fashioned county fair? This is a huge one, with big name concerts, the Action Sports Arena, animals, rides, and of course, plenty of crazy fair food. Fri. – Sun. 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. Costa Mesa. $7-$12, kids under 6 free. All ages. Event details.

But what to eat this weekend? Monday is Bastille Day, so seek out crepes, croissant and of course French fries, or just indulge in creamy coolness. After all, July is National Ice Cream Month.

-Meghan Rose

Photo credits: Arlington County via flickr and Channone Arif via flickr