The final countdown is on, kiddos. That’s right, we’re closing in on the end of summer and that means you’ve just got a handful of weeks (respectively) to get all the nature hikes, circus acts and train rides out of your system. Keep on reading on for all the ways to enjoy the very best of this season before it goes poof.

San Francisco

Rock Out with the Alphabet Rockers
Over the past decade, the Alphabet Rockers have honed a supremely engaging hip-hop act designed for children and families. With singer/songwriter Kaitlin McGaw and beatboxer/b-boy/rapper Tommy Shepherd, this powerhouse group makes the world come alive through beats, rhymes, songs and dances. Fri. Event details

Behind the Bubble: Inflatable-Inspired Activities
Bring your family to the Exploratorium this summer for Inflatable-inspired craft activities on Friday evenings through August 10. Wonder at Inflatable’s gigantic, air-filled artworks and explore this week’s theme of motion. Wind tables and tubes are a playful and inventive way to explore the effect of moving air on objects. Construct lightweight flyers from everyday materials and then adjust them to change the way they float or fly. Fri. Event details

Discover Your Wild Thing
Ever wonder why a tiger has stripes and a lobster has claws? Or, do you think giraffes would be even cooler with wings? If so, come join us for “Discover Your Wild Thing”, a choose-your-own adventure where you will evolve your own beast by selecting which features to adapt and survive in nature! Sat. Event details

East Bay

Let’s Go Fly a Kite (in Berkeley)
You can fly a kite at the Berkeley Kite Festival and that’s not all you can do. Pop into the Kids’ Zone for pony rides, a petting zoo, sumo soccer balls and all kinds of bounce houses. Kite competitions will be underway, too,  and traditional kites from the Sode-cho Kite-Flying Society of Hamamatsu, Japan will soar above. Visitors can try out kites and use that inspiration to make their very own kites, too. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

Sail the High Seas with This Pirate Production
Meet creatures and characters of the sea, sail to raucous pirate towns, sing along with swashbuckling sea chanteys, search for buried treasure and avoid cursed doubloons—but be careful! Danger lurks in every port and at the crest of every wave. And since the audience will choose the course, no two shows will be the same!. Sun. Event details


Make Friends with Moths
Discover nocturnal moths and other insects flying in July. You’ll observe surprisingly beautiful and interesting critters attracted to a special light, photograph them if you like and document your observations as a citizen scientist. Bring snacks, a flashlight with red filter/cellophane covering, your camera and close-focus binoculars if you have them. Registration required. Sat. Event details

Visit the Nature Museum and Blacksmith Shop
Stop by the Environmental Education Center Nature Museum at McClellan Ranch Preserve for an up-close experience with the resident animals and nature exhibits. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help you meet the animals and learn a bit about them. Sun. Event details

South Bay

Chug-Chug to Ride Thomas the Train
Peep, peep! Hey kids, Thomas the Tank Engine is roaring into town and choo-choo fans of all sizes won’t want to miss a ride on Sodor’s favorite train. The Big Adventures Tour 2018 kicks off at Roaring Camp July 27-29 and August 1-5 and includes a 25-minute train ride, a meet-up with railway commander Sir Topham Hatt, live music, storytelling and an imagination station packed with activities. All aboard! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Go Ga-Ga for Garlic
Get your garlic fill with tons of food, entertainment, and arts and crafts. The Children’s Area is a grand place for Garlic Festival guests of all ages. There are games to play, crafts to make, stories to hear and food to eat. Fri.-Sun. Event details

North Bay

Storybook Characters Visit the BADM
Costumed characters will be on-site for meet-and-greets, daily story times, photo opportunities and visits with children. Kids will have the chance to see their favorite imaginary characters brought to life, while enjoying an engaging literary experience! Sat.-Sun. Event details

Herpetology Heaven
Want to hold a newt? Why is her belly orange? Did you see that Western fence lizard do some push-ups? Explore the fascinating lives of reptiles and amphibians with our volunteer Nature Guides, have a picnic, go on a hike, look at birds on the lagoon with our scopes, check out our Curiosity Room and bookstore, and enjoy our family-friendly preserve all day long! Sat. Event details

—Kate Loweth