Los Angeles has gone to the dogs – and all kinds of critters – this weekend; events all over town certainly prove that, and your kids will love to join in the action. The awww factor is in full force at both Strut Your Mutt and Pasadena’s Wiggle Waggle Walk, both of which invite the family pooch to join two-legged family members in fund-raising walks and after party festivals. Creepy crawlies are plentiful at Star ECO Station, which hosts an insect-themed event for kiddos who aren’t the least bit squeamish. Animals of all kinds are showcased in a mash-up when the Broad Stage joins poetry and classical music for a lively family performance of Carnival of the Animals. If animals aren’t your thing but festivals are, two familiar and favorite events return for another year: Venice’s Abbott Kinney Festival and Pierce College’s Halloween Harvest Festival. See what else rounds out our favorite kids weekend events!

Los Angeles

Strut Your Mutt
Families can take a leisurely one mile walk – with or without their favorite canine – and then join in the fun at the Doggie Festival. Children love seeing all the pooch breeds, shapes, and sizes; they can also visit educational booths and participate in photo ops, activities, and contests. Sat., 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. $20-$50. 3 & up. Event details

Creepy Crawly Creature Feature
The STAR Eco Station hosts guests of a creepy, crawly kind – insects! Kids can learn about entomology, visit with bugs of all kinds, meet cool scientists, and play creature games. Sat., 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Adults $8; Children $6. 3 & up. Event details.

Sing-a-long Sound of Music
The Hollywood Hills are alive with the Sound of Music – thanks to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a little help from the audience’s vocal chords. The popular sing-a-long returns to the giant screen at the Bowl – the world’s largest outdoor movie theater. Wear your costume for the pre-show parade! Sat., 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. $12 – $82. 5 & up. Event details.

West Side

Carnival of the Animals Mash-Up
Camille Saint-Saens’ children’s concert favorite, The Carnival of the Animals, is updated with a one-of-a-kind melange of classical music, spoken word, and audience interaction. Poetry slam artist Steve Connell joins impresario Rachael Worby in a carnival of sound and surprises for families. Sat., 10:00 am – 11:00 am. $20 – $35. 4 & up. Event details.

Beach Cities

Abbott Kinney Festival in Venice
The annual Abbot Kinney Boulevard Festival features great live music, local artisan crafts, yummy foods, a family parade at 9:45 am, and – in the KidSquad area – live stage entertainment, hands-on workshops, mural painting, exotic wildlife visits, rides, and inflatable bouncers. Sun., 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.


NoHo Taco Cooking Competition & Festival
It’s not just all about tacos at the Noho Cooking Competition: The family-friendly event also features local musicians, Hula Hoop performances, arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, piñata games, and doggie adoptions. Sat., 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. $4-$5. All ages. Event details.

Halloween Harvest Festival
Beginning Friday, Pierce College opens its doors to ghosts, goblins, and Halloween revelers of all ages for its five-week festival. Families can expect U-Pick pumpkins, stage shows, a six-acre corn maze, visits with farm animals, daily kids’ activities, and – for the truly brave – the Haunted Trail and the Fright Fair haunted house. Sept. 23 – Oct 31; hours vary by week. $4. All ages. Event details.


Wiggle Waggle Walk
Canines have an extra swagger when participating in Wiggle Waggle Walk, a super-fun annual fundraising event for the Pasadena Humane Society. The after-festivities are always great fun for kids; they can watch doggy contests, a canine fashion show, a live performance by Muttley Crew K9 Entertainment, and demos by local police K9 units. Sun., 7:30 am – 2:00 pm. Free (but pledges encouraged); 5 & up. Event details.

Music Under the Stars
Pasadena’s majestic City Hall serves as the backdrop for a free family concert performed by the Pasadena Symphony. The event celebrates the city’s 125th birthday and features an instrument petting zoo for kids; picnicking with visiting food trucks beforehand is encouraged! Sat., 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Free. All ages. Event details.

The Garden Before the Gardens
Five storytelling stations for children help them imagine what the land of Los Angeles – and specifically, that of Descanso Gardens – might have looked like long before the area was changed by European settlers. The festival also includes a story walk and demonstrations of Indian basket making. Sat., 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Free with garden admission. 3 & up. Event details.

— Sarah Hilbert