It’s your weekend,festivals Los Angeles, Amtrak Birthday, LA calendar, Los Angeles weekend eventsmoms, so we have lots of ideas to keep your family busy and entertained. But the choice is yours, because when Mama’s happy, everyone’s happy! Get on board with the train gang at Union Station to celebrate Amtrak’s birthday with free demonstrations, displays, and live music by Disney. Little art lovers can meet the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy book series, stargazers can take a simulated trip to Mars, and the musical sort can bee-bop on down to the Hotel Café for a matinée performance. While away a casual Saturday morning fishing at the pier in San Pedro or for a taste of refinement, spend Sunday morning at the Reagan Library for their lovely Mother’s Day Brunch.

Los Angeles

National Train Day
Pull into Union Station for Amtrak’s 40th Birthday and celebrate with an abundance of activities. Special exhibits include topics like the California Missions and the East Meets West history of the Chinese contribution to building the rails. The Kid’s Depot will sport crafts, cookie decorating, and live music from Disney’s own, Neverland Pirate Band. See model trains, real train equipment up-close, and even tour a variety of historic train cars and privately owned luxury coaches. Follow your noses to the dining cars where celebrity chefs will be cooking up some tasty train-fare or watch the special K-9 Units demonstrate how they use their highly trained sniffers to search trains and keep us safe. Sat., 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, Los Angeles, free. Event Details.

Explore Mars in the Sky Mobile
The imaginations of aspiring astronauts will soar to new heights when they enter the Sky Mobile at the Griffith Observatory’s monthly Star Party. The tricked-out truck holds a full-scale simulation of a research dome on the Martian surface. Enter the airlock and explore Mars! Also, don’t miss the fascinating demonstrations of Celestron telescopes…the universe awaits. Sat. 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm, free. Event Details.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Hipsters can revisit an old haunt from their carefree days (read: before kids) in Hollywood, now with their tiny sidekicks in tow. The Hotel Café is opening their doors for a children’s show with Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, described as, “a splash of Vampire Weekend, a sprinkle of the Death Cab for Cutie and a shaker full of Dan Zanes sing-along style, plus a whole lotta rock and roll.” USA Today deemed them the Best New Kids’ Artist for 2011, and parents will agree. The music is neither too campy nor corny, but the perfect fusion of children’s entertainment with fresh beats for all ages. Get there early for the added treat of opening band, the Hollow Trees. Sun. 1:00 pm, Los Angeles, $14.50 for adult plus 1 child under 10. Event Details.

Fancy Nancy Art Show
Break out the smocks and palettes! Budding artists will bloom at this event that celebrates the release of Fancy Nancy Aspiring Artist. Robin Preiss Glasser creates the series’ whimsical and charming illustrations, and will be in-house at Children’s Book World to conduct a book signing and reading. To make things especially fanciful, children can drop off their own works of art by May 6th to be included in the special art show created for the celebration. Afterward, the pieces will grace the store’s front windows on display for two weeks. Sat. 1:30 pm, Los Angeles, free. Event Details.


Santa Monica Festival
Living in Santa Monica is fabulous, so why not celebrate it? This year, the event (pictured above) pays tribute to both Mother Earth and Mother’s Day. Come by bike and utilize the complementary bike valet – doing so will get you a raffle ticket to win a new one. Choose from a variety of eclectic entertainment options like live music, a hands-on DIY art center with workshops for all ages, an eco-friendly shopping bazaar, a globally minded food area, and yoga and dance classes. Kick things off at 11:30 am with Ozokidz, the children’s version of the band, Ozomatli. They combine an energetic mix of Latin, hip‐hop, and rock music with costumes, characters, and songs about piranhas. Sat. 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Santa Monica, free. Event Details.


Conejo Valley Days
When you close your eyes and envision a nostalgic childhood day at the fair, this is it. Conejo Valley Days is the largest, all-volunteer festival on the west coast, testament to the family-oriented community behind it. There are carnival rides, fun-houses, face painting, live music, cotton candy, and a slew of festival food. The “showdeo” is a real treat for all ages. More than your average rodeo, it features the typical roundup of bronc and bull riding, plus additional entertainment like trick-riding and wild horse races. Arrive beforehand to participate in the “Children’s Coin Dig” to find hidden gold in the arena soil. Showdeos are at 2:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Fri. 5:00 pm – midnight, Sat. 12:00 pm – midnight, and Sun. 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Thousand Oaks, $8 adults, $5 children 6-13, 5 and under are free. Friday is free for active military. Event Details.

Mother’s Day Brunch at the Reagan Library
Treat the First Lady in your life to a world-class brunch on her special day. The setting is elegant, with live music, champagne (and sparkling cider), and a scrumptious menu prepared by a Presidential Chef. There are many kid-friendly options, so bring the whole family. Afterwards, take in the beautiful hilltop view at the replica White House Rose Garden and South Lawn or step aboard the real (retired) Air Force One. Other notable exhibits are the full-scale replica of the Oval Office, decorated as it was during President Reagan’s presidency, and a piece of the Berlin Wall. Sun. 9:30 am – 2:00 pm, Simi Valley, $54.95 adults, $29.95 children, under 5 are free. Event Details.

Beach Cities

Fishing With Uncle Larry
Keep it reel with everyone’s favorite uncle, Uncle Larry. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Programs Director Larry Fukuhara is hosting a morning of fishing and will do everything from help rig tackle, teach fishing technique, etiquette, and fish identification. Meet at the Aquarium at 9:00 am for registration, then it’s off to the pier to cast away. Bring your own gear, or if you don’t have it, good ol’ Uncle Larry will provide hard lines. Fishermen and women of all ages are welcome, but children under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult. Uncle Larry is a popular fellow so reservations are required (310-548-7562). Sat. 9:00 am – 11:30 am, San Pedro, free with Aquarium admission ($5 adults, $1 children). Event Details.

—Kameron DeWulf