Spring is officially here, bringing with it chirping chicks, migrating whale babies and the heavenly scent of daphnes in bloom. It’s also time for Spring Break!  If you’re staying in town, check out the musical stylings of kindie rocker extraordinaire, Dan Zanes, plant a happy, little garden at Birds and Bees Nursery or have your child’s silhouette hand-cut by artist to the stars, Karl Johnson.  On the flip side, if you’re looking to head out of town, take a short drive to Rooster Rock or L.L. Stub Stewart State Parks for the Vernal Equinox Star Party or head to the coast for Spring Whale Watch Week. Dan Zanes plays mandolin in 2007


Dan Zanes Rocks Portland
Dan Zanes, currently acclaimed by Time Magazine as the leading “Star of Kindie Rock,” will be stopping in Portland this weekend on his national tour.  Formerly of the popular band, The Del Fuegos, Zanes is a Grammy-winning artist, who will rock the house with songs from old and new kid-centric albums spanning 14 years. Sun., 11 a.m., $18/person, All Ages. Event details.

Mini Garden Planting
Kids love getting their hands dirty and for Mini Garden Day, they’ll walk away with a little garden of their own. While you’re there, might as well check out the always-popular chirping baby chicks.  Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $20 and up, All Ages. Event details.

Will Walk for Water
Join in an easy, family-friendly walk, “Walk for Water,” to help raise awareness about how some people in other countries have to walk great distances for water that is safe for home use. Participants register, then take a 1-mile walk to the Columbia River, where they will scoop up water to walk back with.  Be sure to bring a container to carry your water. Sat., 9 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. walk  begins, Free, All Ages. Event details.


Silhouette Artist of the Stars – Karl Johnson
Karl will be creating hand cut silhouette portraits by appointment at local stores. Please contact the store of your choice for a 5 minute appointment. All ages are welcome  – even the squirmy ones! Karl’s work has been featured in over 30 national publications. Celebrity customers include Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Lopez and many others. His work is currently offered by Restoration Hardware Baby.  Fri.-Sun., Various times, $25/silhouette, All Ages. Event details.

S is for Salmon
Sit down for story time with artist, Hannah Viano, as she reads from her debut book “S is for Salmon: A Pacific Northwest Alphabet.”  The book was crafted using paper-cut art and short poetry, depicting the ABC’s using familiar images from around the Pacific Northwest. Sat., 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Spring Whale Spotting
Catch a glimpse of whales as they swim north with their babies to feed in the Bering and Chukchi seas near Alaska for Spring Whale Watch Week. Visitors can try to spot spouts on their own or pop by any of the various sites manned by Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers. The best places to catch a glimpse of the massive mammals are Ecola State Park, Cape Lookout State Park, Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint and Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint. 

Family Beach Cleanup
While you’re at the coast watching whale babies, your family can help make the coastline even more beautiful with the 28th annual SOLV Spring Beach Cleanup.   Last year, an estimated 54,937 pounds of debris, including 63 tires, were removed from the coast by 4,161 volunteers. Register in advance to help clean up one of 45 cleanup sites from Brookings to Astoria and bring a bucket or reusable bag, an old colander, gardening gloves, a water bottle and a trash-free lunch. Sat., 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Party with the Stars
Join OMSI, Rose City Astronomers and Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers as gather at 2 sites for the annual Vernal Equinox Star Party.  Visitors will have the opportunity to view Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, the Orion Nebula, the Beehive star cluster and others through powerful telescopes. Call 503-797-4000, then #3 then #5, on the day of the event to check for weather cancellations. Sat. 7:30 p.m., Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park (see website for directions), Free with $5 parking fee, All Ages. Event details.

What’s your plan for Spring Break?  Let us know in the Comments below!

–Suzie Ridgway

Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org