Welcome to November!  We’re now officially into the thick of fall and thankfully most events this weekend don’t involve getting into a costume, like participating in the Portland Youth Spelling Bee, learning about baby animals at the Animal Families Zoo Experience, and seeing children’s literature come to life in the OCT’s “Magic Treehouse – A Night in New Orleans.” Of course, if you’re still interested in painted faces and celebrating life while honoring the dead, check out the fifth annual, kid-friendly cultural event, El Dia de los Muertos NW.

day of dead


Dia de los Muertos NW
This fifth annual event, celebrating life and honoring those who have passed, will include kids’ activities like face painting, decorating sugar skulls, coloring, drinking Mexican hot chocolate and eating traditional sweet bread, pan de muerto.  The festivities last all day and night, with live music by Ricardo Nuñez, El Mariachi Portland, Conjunto Alegre, and Rafa & The Deadliest Catch Band. Be sure to bring a non-perishable food item for SnowCap Community Charities. Sat., 1 p.m.-12 a.m., $5 suggested donation. All Ages. Event details.

GirlFest Expo
Celebrate girl power with a fun, full day of hands-on activities, like building Lego creations, earning a complimentary Girl Scout badge, meeting a princess, face painting and hula hoop making along with playing games and winning prizes.  Kids can bring their favorite stuffy to have it checked out by the Radio Disney Junior Docs, and meet Timber Joey and the Portland Timbers Street Team. The celebration ends with a Radio Disney concert featuring Chloe & Halle, Next Big Thing Season 5 winners. Sat.,10 a.m.- 4 p.m., $20 at door. All Ages. Event details.

Portland Youth Spelling Bee
Kids test their spelling mettle at this mellow bee that mimics the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Three levels of difficulty offer kids of all ages a chance to show off their new or advanced spelling skills, hosted by Molly Newman. Sat., 1-2:30 p.m., Free. Ages 5-18. Event details.


Free Friday at Portland Children’s Museum
Free is everyone’s favorite price, especially when it’s accompanied by a guaranteed good time.  Kids can ham it up on the giant Play It Again theater stage, fill up dump trucks in The Dig Pit, splash around in Water Works, cook and serve play food in the pint-sized cafe, ring up customers in the Grasshopper Grocery and care for animals at the Pet Hospital. Fri., 4-8 p.m., Free. All Ages. Event details.

Magic Treehouse at Oregon Children’s Theater
Based on the famous Magic Treehouse book, “A Good Night for Ghosts,” the play, “Magic Treehouse – A Night in New Orleans” centers on  Jack and Annie and their quest in 1915 to help Louis Armstrong follow his passion.  The show features live jazz, pirate ghosts and a strong message about dreams and possibilities. Sat. at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m., $13-$30. Ages 4 and older. Event details.

Animal Families Zoo Experience
Zoo Experiences feature a tour of an animal exhibit, as well as a story, snack and a craft.  In this 2-hour class, preschoolers learn about different animal families and how how pups, cubs, kits and chicks are raised. Fri., 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Members $25 one child and one adult, $11 one additional person; Non-Members $29 one child and one adult, $13 one additional person. Ages 3-4. Event details.  

Worth the Drive

Family Field Trip – Columbia Springs
They only open up the 100+ acre urban natural area twice a year and today is one of those days.  Reservations are required for this family field trip that includes learning about bird-watching and how to live off the land, as well as nature hikes, learning stations and crafts. Sat., 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., $5 per child, $20 max per family. All Ages. Event details.

— Suzie Ridgway