You survived Halloween and are in need of family entertainment sans the sugar high. For a dash of mental stimulation, we have a bevy of educational and cultural events that will also keep your little ones gigglin’. Gaze at glittering constellations at the Griffith Observatory’s monthly Star Party (opportunity to make use of that Star Wars costume again!) or introduce them to the wonders of a live orchestra to the tune of Peter and the Wolf at the Broad Stage Theater. Head to the American Indians Arts Marketplace at the Autry or the Japanese Garden Festival at Descanso Gardens to dance, create, and play with different cultures, or travel back in time at the Leonis Adobe for a bit of Hands on History.
American Indian Arts Marketplace at the Autry
Over 180 Native American artists from over 40 different tribes will display and sell their artwork, from oil paintings to jewelry to basket weavings. While you shop, there is a colorful array of entertainment for the little ones, like traditional storytelling, dancing, food, and music. Not to be missed are midday performances by the Wild Horse Singers, and Hoop Dancing with world champion, Terry Goedel. Hands-on activities abound and are led by museum curators – make baskets, arrowhead necklaces, or stop by the Family Carts that are filled with historical objects to see, hold, and learn from. Sat. & Sun., 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Los Angeles, $13 Adults, $9 Children. Event details.
Griffith Observatory Star Party
Introduce your children to the breathtaking wonders of the universe. Spend a lofty Saturday afternoon with your head in the clouds, gazing at stars and planets. The monthly party is hosted by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers, who will graciously share their knowledge about the sky and let you try out their telescopes. It’s a family experience that promises to be out of this world! Sat., 2:00 pm to 9:45 pm, Los Angeles, Free. Event details.
Peter and the Wolf Mash Up
Your little pups will howl with glee at this kid-friendly rendition of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. A special, surprise guest narrator promises to “leave you and your family gasping (and texting) for joy” and leads your children along the magical adventure to the tune of a live orchestra. Sat., 10:00 am or 11:30 am, Santa Monica, $20 – $35. Event details.
Japanese Garden Festival
Head to Descanso Gardens for a picturesque celebration of Japanese arts, crafts, and culture. Stroll through the Gardens and witness breathtaking examples of ikebana, the traditional form of Japanese flower arranging, while the kiddos run and play on the grass. Be sure to stop by Under the Oaks Theater and watch thrilling taiko drummers, playing at noon on both days. At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, see Yami Yamauchi use an 8-foot square of paper to demonstrate the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, then stick around to learn how to create origami flowers yourself. Sat. and Sun., 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, La Cañada Flintridge, $8 Adults, $3 Children 5-12. Event details.
Fall Family Festival
The name really says it all – celebrate autumn with your kids in tow at this neighborhood festival hosted by the cities of Woodland Hills and Tarzana. Think good old-fashioned fun like tug of war, watermelon eating contests, and root beer floats. Food trucks will provide for tasty noshing, while live music, arts and crafts, and kids’ rides provide further means to wear out your munchkins while having a blast. Sat., 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Woodland Hills, Free. Event details.
Costume Tea Party
Odds are your lil’ trick or treater is still wearing their Halloween costume on a daily basis. This fun little bash will give them another opportunity to sport their duds, while playing at Kuki’s (a baby gingerbread man) Playshop. Open play is from 3:00 to 5:00 and puppet playtime is at 4:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Fri., 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Burbank, $10. Event details.
Hands on History at Leonis Adobe
Experience California ranch life at this charming country home and farm, as it was over 150 years ago. The lovely grounds feature living history exhibits and guided tours. This family-friendly day makes old fashioned chores fun, exciting, and educational, such as: butter churning, tortilla making, and washing clothes by hand! Meet horses and longhorn steer and pump water from a trough beside the grand oak tree. Parking is free and the museum is located just next door to the Sagebrush Cantina, which has plenty of seating and is very kid-friendly, should you need some tasty vittles for your little buckaroos. Sat., 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Calabasas, $3 Adults, $2 Children. Event details.
— Kameron DeWulf
Photo Credit: Griffith Observatory