Your mantra for this weekend? Embrace local. The dire predictions of the 405 closure “Carmaggedon” is enough to keep anyone behind closed doors. Neighborhoods aren’t letting a little traffic mayhem prevent summer fun, however, and we’ve got our eye on the best family-friendly happenings throughout the Los Angeles area. What better thing to do when you’re stuck at home but eat? Two fabulous food fests this weekend offer tons of activities to keep children happy while grown-ups nosh on fine foodie fare. You can also indulge the kids in an evening trip to the Zoo or inspire their creativity at the colorful Renegade Craft Fair. Best of all? The dinos are back in town – little ones will be thrilled to get a first-hand look at the brand new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum.

Los Angeles

Dinosaur Hall Grand Opening Weekend
The collective roar of delight heard ’round Los Angeles on Saturday undoubtedly emanates from young, wanna-be paleontologists, who have waited eons for the new Dinosaur Hall to open. Their patience pays off when the exhibit debuts and visitors can ogle a trio of T-Rexes; spend hours with interactive games and lab excavations; view murals and an impressive wall of fossil teeth, eggs, footprints, and poop; and learn about the ongoing role of research in understanding this ancient era. Sat.-Sun., 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. Adults/$12, Children/$5-$8. All ages. Event Details.

Renegade Craft Fair
We love Renegade both for its spirited, colorful, festive take on DIY crafts and – via its interactive workshops and demonstrations – for its inspiration and encouragement to get people crafty and creative. Kids are very welcome here; they love watching the demos and seeing the quirky handmade items. Make sure to bring cash for the food trucks and pack lots of water. Sat. and Sun., 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event Details.

 

Music in the L.A. Zoo
The Zoo invites families to pack a picnic dinner, stroll the grounds, watch the animals prepare for bed, and visit several stages to take in great music from Los Angeles-based “indie” bands during its annual evening event. Fri., 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Admission $8-$17. All ages. Event Details.

 

Bastille Day Festival
Parlez vous francais? Whether you do or not, the delightful Bastille Day Festival makes everyone want to embrace their French roots – imagined or real. Enjoy a mad-cap Parisian waiters’ race, street performers, roving artists, booths, raffles and prizes, and delectable pastries and traditional fare. Allez! Sun., 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Adults/$5, Children (under 13) free. All ages. Event Details.

 

Valley

Living History Day at Los Encinos State Historic Park
Parents may know Los Encinos State Historic Park for its beloved duck pond, but the site also has historic significance. The Living History Day is designed to showcase the Native American, Missionaries, and French roots, and children will especially enjoy the costumed docents,  old-fashioned skills demonstrations like blacksmithing, kids’ games, and music. Sun., 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event Details.

 

Pasadena

Radio Disney N.B.T. Tour
Disney has some budding recording artists in the wings, and the N.B.T. (“Next Big Thing”) tour showcases their talents at local malls, beginning with the Westfield Santa Anita. Newcomers Coco Jones and Amber Lily join the Radio Disney crew for a concert, contests, prize giveaways, dance opportunities, and games. Sat., 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event Details.

L.A. Street Food Fest
Children are made to feel right at home with die-hard foodies at the LA Street Food Fest, which offers fare from more than 65 vendors, a smorgasbord of ice cream and frozen treats at the Ice Cream Social, and kids activities like face painting and games. Sat., 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. $25-$150. All ages. Event Details.

Westside

Eat Real Festival
Locavores are in their element at Culver City’s food fest, which focuses on street food created from fresh, sustainable, and nearby-grown ingredients. Children can take part in “DIY demos”  (homemade cheese, anyone?), learn about backyard farming, and revel in music, storytelling, food skill demos, and live performances. No dish or drink costs more than $5! Sat., 10:30 am – 9:00 pm, Sun., 10:30 am – 5:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event Details.

– Sarah Hilbert