Tracks, whistles, boxcars. . . all aboard! Families can engineer a train-themed weekend in Los Angeles with three choo-choo events, all of them in close proximity at various locations within Griffith Park. Calabasas and CalPoly in Pomona roll out the pumpkin fun, while Pasadena revels in the arts on Friday evening; many of the city’s cultural institutions offer open-late hours and incredible hands-on opportunities for little ones. Finally, the Original Farmer’s Market has a seasonal celebration planned: Youngsters can get their fill of country-style fun like farm activities, pumpkin carving demos, and Wild West performances by gun-slinger and rope-trick artists. Enjoy!

Los Angeles

Halloween Ghost Train
For children who don’t blink at a little frightful fun, the annual Halloween Ghost Train is the place to be. The spooky factor is definitely present, but no live characters or props jump out or make contact with humans, who can take in the sights via a 20-minute, narrow-gauge train ride. Oct. 14 – 31, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm. $8. 6 & up. Event details.

Depot Day at Travel Town
Travel Town hosts its annual celebration and grand open house in and around the Locomotive Station. Families can expect a day of special exhibits and activities for the whole family. Sun., 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.

Dinosaur Train at the Zoo
Dinosaur Train makes a stop in Griffith Park during PBS SoCal Day at the LA Zoo. Buddy the Dinosaur will be on hand to meet and greet his fans, and Zoo guests will have the opportunity to learn about the similarities between dinosaurs and some of our Zoo residents. Sat-Sun., 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Free with Zoo admission. 1-8. Event details.


Sukkot Family Celebration
The Skirball Cultural Center celebrates the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkot by hosting an outdoor picnic in the center’s arroyo garden and amphitheater. On tap: live music, dancing, games, a nature walk, an art activity, and fresh veggies provided by an organic farming cooperative. Sun., 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Free (reservations recommended). All ages. Event details.

Farmers Market Fall Festival
The Original Farmers Market goes a little bit country and celebrates the harvest season with a petting zoo, Agventure Land (a farm-related adventure for kids), Gene the pumpkin carver, the Sunflower Family Show, face-painting, a performance by a gun-slinger and rope-trick artist, live music, and plenty of farm-fresh produce for noshing. Sat-Sun., 11:00 am – 8:30 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.

Beach Cities

Aesop’s Fables – The Musical
Aesop’s Fables – The Musical takes audience members on a fast-paced journey to visit the classic characters of Aesop. Follow the race between the tortoise and the hare, does the fox trick the crow, and see if the mouse and lion end up friends. Sat-Sun., 10:00 am. $12.50. 3-10. Event details.


ArtNight Pasadena
Museums, libraries, and galleries stay open late for ArtNight Pasadena and entertain visitors with demos, hands-on art projects, theatrical performances, and much more. Families with young children should plan on visiting Kidspace Children’s Museum, One Colorado in Old Town, and the Pasadena Central Library for kid-oriented fun. Fri., 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.

Latino Heritage Parade and Festival
Pasadena’s 13th Annual Latino Heritage Festival and Parade features music, dance, and great food. Following the festive parade, guests can enjoy costumed re-enactors, exhibits, and traditional crafts and games for the children. Sat., 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.


Calabasas Pumpkin Festival
The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival features the a wide array of the lovely orange gourds, as well as inflatable rides, a giant slide, live bands, contests, reptile and nature-themed shows, midway games, and much more. Sat-Sun., 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. $5. All ages. Event details.

Sherman Oaks Street Fair
The annual neighborhood event adopts the theme “Sounds of Sherman Oaks” and transforms a half-mile of Ventura Boulevard into a pedestrian mall filled with vendors, foods from around the world, a unique car show, kids’ attractions, and two stages providing a wide variety of live entertainment. Sun., 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive

CalPoly Pomona Pumpkin Fest
The 19th Annual Pumpkin Festival features thousands of ready-to-pick pumpkins right out of the patch, as well as a festival foods, corn maze, petting zoo, horse rides, entertainment, and lots of activities for the kids. Sat-Sun., 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.

— Sarah Hilbert