This weekend’s rollicking roundup features a lot of life’s little, simple, pleasures: a seaside bike ride, sweet desserts, old-time music, and homemade and gently used wares from a flea market. Have a gander below for choices that range from a toddler festival in the Palisades, to the colorful Big Top in Hollywood, and a rendezvous with interesting insects at the Natural History Museum’s beloved Bug Fair. Whatever your fancy, Los Angeles is packed with activities the whole family can enjoy.
What’s buggin’ you? Itsy-bitsy spiders and their creepy-crawly bug-buds are taking over the Natural History Museum for one weekend. This popular annual event has many creature-features, with nearly 70 exhibitors filling the Museum’s halls with thousands of items, including: live and preserved insect specimens, books, equipment, and bug-related products, such as honey, silk, wax, bug-inspired artwork, toys, and clothing. Your own little critters can taste bugs at the Bug Chef Cook-off, learn how to pin an insect for a collection, or try the art and science of bug origami. The cockroach races are not to be missed! Sat. and Sun. 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, Los Angeles, free with Museum admission ($12 adults, $8 children 13-17, $5 children 5-12, Free for Under 5). Event Details.
Our lives can often feel like a circus. If you can add an afternoon of family entertainment to your own juggling act, head on down to the Big Top for Circus Vargas’ all new animal-free show. Acrobats and aerialists will take you around the globe in a whirling, twirling, sensation of colorful vignettes. Arrive early for a special, free, tutorial in the center ring by the host and hostess of the show, on circus skills like juggling and feather balancing. You may recognize the beautiful and traditional aesthetics of Circus Vargas as it is featured in the currently playing movie, Water For Elephants. Fri. (7:30 pm), Sat. (1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 pm) and Sun. (12:30, 3:30, and 6:30 pm), Hollywood, $15 – $60 per ticket. Event Details.
Flea Market for Kids
“Fleas” and “kids” – two words you don’t usually want to see in the same sentence. This is the exception, as the annual flea market at the Kidspace Children’s Museum is “run by kids for kids.” It is a fantastic way to teach them about commerce, as they can shop, sell, or barter for treasures. The recommended ages for vendors is four to twelve years old, and items to peddle include gently used toys and homemade wares, or they can even “share a talent.” Register online to be a vendor. The fee is $10 and includes Museum admission for one adult and one child. Sat. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Pasadena, free with Museum Admission ($10 per person, free for babies under 1). Event Details.
Munchkins can go hog-wild at this festival created entirely with them in mind. Held at Simon Meadow in Temescal Canyon Gateway Park, the jamboree includes dance and art workshops, yoga, storytime, music, and a bubble show. Playtime with the parachute unfurls at 10:30 am, and at 11:30 am, Snowman the Owl and Jammy the Macaw will perform at the Stump Circle. Little legs and imaginations can run wild through the Magic Forest, which will feature Rock Art Cars, ladybugs, and flowers. With everything from food to vendors to Babyland, Toddlerama makes it easy for tiny tots and their families to have a good time. Sun. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, Pacific Palisades, $5 adults, $15 children, $7 parking. Event Details.
Gustafer Yellowgold’s Childrens’ Show
Ten bucks a person gets you into the legendary McCabe’s Guitar Shop for the Gustafer Yellowgold experience, which has been described as, “equal parts pop rock concert and animated storybook.” Gustafer is a yellow, cone-headed, little guy from the sun, and is the brainchild of Morgan Taylor, whom New York Magazine named “Best Kids’ Performer,” and “the most original performer on the family-music scene today.” Follow Gustafer as he embarks upon a hilarious, mind-bending, musical journey in search of the toe-end of the longest sock in the universe. The New York Times calls the show “a cross between ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Dr. Seuss,” which means, both parents and kids go home happy. Sun. 11:00 am, Santa Monica, $10. Event Details.
Dessert With Daddy
A father-daughter date night is a very sweet treat, indeed. Lollipop Dream hosts this whimsical party, which begins with a trip to the Vanity Closet, where little girls and their little curls can get all dolled up with over 200 costumes and accessories to choose from. Then it’s on to special crafts and dancing with Daddy. The delectable desserts to finish are just the icing on the cake. Fri. 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Sherman Oaks, $20 per adult/child pair. Event Details.
Folk Festival at Paramount Ranch
The Malibu mountains, stately oak trees, spacious lawns, and an old, western-town movie set from Hollywood’s heyday…we can’t think of a better place for a Folk Festival. Three stages will feature live bluegrass, mountain, and folk music, as well as a banjo and fiddle competition. Kick up your heels at the Dance Barn for some square dancing and clogging, or shop the folk art booths and vendor wares. The atmosphere is casual, as scores of musicians gather for jam sessions, and guests are encouraged to bring picnics and blankets to relax and stay a while. The little ones can visit the Eucalyptus Grove for crafts, children’s sing-alongs, and workshops. Sun. 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Agoura Hills, $15 adults, $10 children 10-17, under 10 are free. Event Details.
Long Beach Bike Festival
There are three races for the Tour of Long Beach, which raises funds for Miller Children’s Hospital, but we’re betting you’ll want to forgo the 31 and 62 mile routes and cruise the 4-mile-long Family Fun Ride course. Meet at Marina Green Park for the 9:00 am start-time, strap on your helmets, and pedal along the downtown waterfront for an easy and picturesque ride. The Finish Line Festival at Rainbow Harbor will be a jolly ending to your petit journey, with a vendor fair, children’s activity area, bike safety and education booths, live music, and good food. The Friday before, you’ll need to pick up your bib numbers and free goody bags (see listing for details). Afterwards, head to 1st Street for Friday Fun Fest starting at 6:00 pm, where favorite Downtown restaurants will be offering Carbo-Load dinner specials to help gear up for the Tour. Be sure to register online by May 12. Sat. 9:00 am, Long Beach, $20. Event Details.