The Year of the Snake is unfurling in Portland with fun family activities all over town, including the two-week celebration at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. (Check out this list of other ways to ring in the Lunar New Year.) After getting your fill of Chinese culture, join Tears of Joy Puppet Theater as they present two productions from different cultures: the Central American tale Papagayo in an intimate library setting and Anansi the Spider on the big stage. If the family is feeling adventurous, head into Tryon Creek to learn about trees or prowl a park a night to look for owls.

West Side

Year of the Snake at Portland Chinese Garden
This two-week celebration includes lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, dance and music performances, kids activities, and more. Feb 10 – 24. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.  $18-Free with Admission. All ages. Event details.

Tears of Joy: Anansi the Spider
Anansi, the trickster spider of West Africa is brought to life in two hilarious tales. Feb 8 – 17. Portland Center for the Performing Arts. One evening show and several weekend matinee shows. $16 – $21. Ages 2 and up. Event details.

Story and Stroll: To Be a Tree
his program integrates nature exploration, art, literature, music, movement, and outdoor play. Fri. Tryon Creek State Natural Area. 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Free. Pre-registration is required. Best for ages 2 – 6. Event details.

East Side

Messy Monkeys: Chinese New Year
Relax and enjoy a cup of coffee while your child celebrates Chinese New Year by creating red and gold play dough that you can turn into snakes! You can also explore watercolor painting and create your very own miniature lanterns. Fri, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. $8/hour (parent and child). Ages 1 – 5. Event details.


Park After Dark: Owl Prowl
Journey into the forest at night to look and listen for courting owls, watch a slideshow, listen to recordings of owl calls and see preserved specimens up close. Sat. 7:00 pm –9:00 pm. Nature Park Interpretive Center, Beaverton. $10/in-district. Ages 6 and up. Event details.

Papagayo at the Fairview-Columbia Library
When the Ancient Moon Dog wakes up, and starts to eat the moon, the Night Animals are too afraid to do anything. Only Papagayo the parrot knows what to do. Kids will sing, hoot, croak, crow, and work together to scare away the Moon Dog! Sun. 3:15 – 3:45 pm. Free admission. All ages. Event details.

What cultures or parts of the natural world will your family explore this weekend?

— Cheyenne Terbrueggen