Say, cheese! It’s panning out to be a picture perfect weekend around the Bay Area and good for us because we’ve got cool places that we’ve got to be. Learn to make a top-secret mac ‘n’ cheese recipe, meet some bugs or jam with some musical slugs. You’ll be so glad you did.

Credit: Sprouts Cooking Club. Learn to make Mac 'n' Cheese.                                            photo: Sprouts Cooking Club


San Francisco

Bug Out at the Randall Museum
Don’t miss the Randall Museum’s annual Bug Day celebrating all things insect. Make bug-related crafts, see and touch live exotic insects, hang out with beekeepers, peer through microscopes, compete in the Insect Olympics, and maybe even eat a bug or two (ewww!) Apr 16 at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Admission is free, some activities have a fee. All ages. Event details.

It’s Cherry Blossom Time, Kiddos
The annual San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival is so popular it’s not one but two weekends! Street performers, taiko, music, Ikebana displays, and workshops. There’s also a Sanrio Hello Kitty arts and crafts area, and the Grand Parade at 1 p.m. on April 17, which proceeds from Polk to Post Street, and ends in Japantown at Post and Fillmore. The parade includes colorful floats, troupes, and plenty of costumed fun. If that’s not enough, the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will be parked at the festival April 17th serving up sweet treats including Hello Kitty macarons. Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Japantown. Free. All ages. Event details.

Everyone say “Mac ‘n’ Cheese Recipe”
What better way to enjoy a love of cheese than to learn to cook with, you got it, cheese. Chef Eric Miller of Mission Cheese is sharing a very major secret: Mission Cheese’s Award-Winning Mac ‘n’ Cheese recipe. Kids will learn how to make this all-time-favorite, gooey treat and then dig in right along side Chef Miller. Participants will leave with not only a belly full of the delicious mac but a $20 Macy’s gift card, too. Sat., 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Macy’s Union Square Kitchen. $35. Ages 7-12 Event details.

East Bay

Strum Along With These Musical Slugs 
Sing along to some tree-hugger friendly songs in honor of Earth Day with the Banana Slug String Band. This thoughtful band has been singing original, eco-cool songs to kids for more than 30 years in all kinds of musical styles such as folk, blues, rap and reggae. This educational, moving production include all kinds of popular characters such the Professor, Doug the Drop, Peter the Penguin and the puppet Mr. Dirt. Sun., 11 a.m. Rhythmix Cultural Works. $10-$15. Ideal for ages 5 and up. Event details.

Summer Season Friday Nights are Back at OMCA
Friday Nights at Oakland Museum of California are looking (and tasting) better than ever thanks to a new and expanded rotating line of Off the Grid food truck offerings, half-price admission and gallery hours through 10 p.m. A Makers and Taster series will feature local brewers, coffee roasters, organic farmers and more giving demos and talks the last Friday of each month from 6-8 p.m. The “Go Local Music Series” will feature acoustic sets in the Oak Street Plaza. Hands-on art workshops for all ages will run from 6-6:30 p.m. and family-friendly dance lessons will correspond with the week’s music theme. Friday., 5-10 p.m. $7.50 for adults. All ages. Event details.


A Farmtastic Way to Spend the Day
If you’ve got a little nature lover in your life then they’re going to love Hidden Villa’s Explorers’ program for kids ages 7-8 years old. Children will spend the day gardening, tending to the farm’s animals, participating in crafts, making music and taking hikes. Kids can opt to participate in a farm chores class too (an additional $20) which includes collecting eggs, milking goats and cows and more. Sat., 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Hidden Villa.$78; Farm Chores is an additional $20. Ages 7-8. Event details.

Salute Mother Earth at this Bay Festival
Celebrate Mother Earth by learning to be a better citizen of the planet at the Marina Science Institute. Located on the San Francisco Bay, the festivities will include encounters with bay mud and sea creatures and and earth-friendly tunes. The Banana Slug String Band will jam for a couple of hours and Rock Steady Jugglers will perform, too. Register in advance for an eco-cruise ($20) and, if you dare, an opportunity to feed the sharks. Sat., 10 a.m.-5p.m. Marine Science Institute, Redwood City. Free. All ages. Event details. 

South Bay

Everyone Will Dig This Horticultural Street Fair
Even the tiniest of gardeners will dig the UC Master Gardener’s 22nd Annual Spring Garden Market. The horticultural street fair combines a plant sale (tomato, peppers, herbs and flowers grown here in the valley) as well as a sustainable gardening showcase and 40-plus booth vendor fair at History Park San Jose. Kids can partake in gardening activities (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and help their folks rummage at the Green Elephant sale for gently used tools, pots, books, trellises and more that benefit the UCCE Master Gardener program. Sat. 9 a.m.- 2p.m. History Park San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

This Science Get Together Is For the Birds
Do you want to be an ornithologist? Do you know what an ornithologist is? The best way to learn the answers to these questions is to fly on over to this family science day with San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Families can can learn all about birds and bird science via hands-on activities, crafts and experiments. Check-in begins at 1:45 p.m. and kids must be accompanied by an adult. Sat., 2 p.m. Central Park Library Santa Clara. Free. Ages 6-12. Event details.


Sleep Seal Adjacent At This Overnighter
Every wonder what it would be like to sleep with the seals? Now you can find out at Seals & Slippers: Sleep under the Stars at The Marine Mammal Center. Families will camp under the stars and participate in in a hike, do activities in the discovery room, watch nighttime feedings, enjoy a meal together and take a late night tour of the animal hospital. Fri., 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. on Sat. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. $85. 6-12. Event details.

Hike This Way For Wildflowers
It’s that crazy beautiful time of year in Northern California when we’re treated to an abundance of wildflowers. Kids aren’t immune to this beauty and can jump on in for an interpretive walk along the Bahia Trailhead to the edge of San Pablo Bay Wetlands. Wildflowers will brush over the grass and birds and butterflies will be in abundance, too. Dress is layers, wear sunscreen and pack a lunch with plenty of water. Sun., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Bahia Trailhead in Novato. Free. All ages. Event details.


What are you looking forward to this spring? Let us know in the comments below! 

—Chantal Lamers