It may be fall but you wouldn’t know based on all the great ways to spend the weekend outdoors. From a night hike to an edible garden adventure and a seriously epic sand castle contest, we think you can tuck those rain boots away for a few more weeks. Find out what else is happening in our favorite picks for a festival fall weekend.

photo: SF Zoo

San Francisco

Head to the Beach for an Epic Sand Castle Contest
Join the 35th annual Leap Sandcastle Classic, Northern California’s largest sandcastle competition that supports an important cause: bringing essential arts programs into local schools. This unique sandcastle competition, nonprofit fundraiser, and community event brings over 3,000 people to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach every year to build super-sized sand sculptures with local students. Don’t forget your shovel and bucket! Sat. Event details.

Get Wild at Zootoberfest
Come celebrate fall at the San Francisco Zoo. During Zootoberfest, weekends include adventure to the Harvest Hollow where kids can explore fall-themed attractions. Kids won’t want to miss navigating through the city’s largest 5,000-square-foot hay maze constructed from 600 bales of hay! If that’s were enough, jump around in the bounce house, play ring toss and more. A special “Zoo Brew Haus” will feature a great selection of brews, and cooking a full smorgasbord of German-inspired dishes, like beer-braised bratwurst with Guinness mustard and Sauerkraut! During lunch, dine to the upbeat sounds of a live band playing traditional European polka music. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

East Bay

Find Out What’s Cooking in the Garden
It’s a very special day in the garden at UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, where kids ages five and up and come harvest herbs and edibles from the garden. Bring them to the kitchen and they’ll learn to make three simple dishes.  This workshop will inspire an early love of plants and garden-centered eating. Sat. Event details.

Cruise to the Alameda Classic Car Show
It’s an entire downtown of hot rods, muscle cars, and vintage vehicles from another era! More than 400 cars of every description will be on display along Park Street, and some classic bikes too. Enjoy a blast from the past as DJs spin some of the best rock n’ roll oldies over the loudspeakers and keep your eyes out for more entertainment and fun things to do along the way. (Tip: Plan to arrive early to hear the engines roar as the cars parade to their parking spaces.) Sat. Event details.

South Bay

Celebrate the Afterlife at La Muerte Baila
In this hilarious, musical take on the afterlife, los muertitos – the dead – can’t wait to get back to earth on Día de los Muertos – and La Muerte can’t wait to finally have a day to relax! But when one soul isn’t ready to go back, everyone’s holiday is in danger. La Muerte Baila is performed in Spanish with English supertitles. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Draw Your Own Family Adventure at NUMU
Kids and families will explore hands-on art projects and live art demos in celebration of Fall Harvest, Halloween, and Dia de los Muertos at New Museum Los Gatos! Participants are invited to build their own own pumpkin patch,” terror-arium,”  paint pumpkins and more. Enjoy the rich talent and diversity of local artists and instructors and explore the museum’s  art and history exhibitions.  NUMU is proud to partner with the Los Gatos Recreation Department. Family Art Day will go on, rain or shine! Program activities take place at the museum and outdoors at the Los Gatos Civic Center Plaza. Sat. Event details.


Juggle with the Zoppe Family Circus
Come one, come all, and join the Zoppe Italian Family Circus. In one ring, under one big top, families will be awed by a spectacular performances featuring amazing equestrian showmanship, daring acrobatic feats, canine capers and of course the antics of Nino the Clown. This year’s event “Celebrating 175 Years Under the Big Top” will be a great show highlighting the Zoppé family of performers, including some exciting acts that haven’t been seen in America for years. Tosca Zoppé will present her father Alberto’s classic bareback riding act to honor the anniversary. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

It’s Family Play Day at Palo Alto Art Center
oin the Palo Alto Art Center for family play day. This playful afternoon of activities will feature hands-on artmaking and performances inspired by our current exhibition, Play! Art Center teaching artists will show you how to create mini golf holes, work with balloons, play pinball, blow bubbles and much more. A special live performance by acrobatic chair balancer Jeremy Vik, presented by the Circus Center, will be held at 4 p.m. Sun. Event details.

North Bay

Take a Night Hike, Eat S’mores
Explore the mysterious lifestyle of nocturnal animals that start their day just as you’re going to bed! Learn about special adaptations that allow owls, bats and other nighttime critters to hunt by moonlight. This program features an Environmental Science Educator-led hike in the Marin Headlands. Our evening hikes are usually no more than 2 miles and allow for fun and learning along the way. Build up an appetite because after the hike the supplies for more fun await, including a warm campfire, s’mores for roasting, campfire skits and fun sing alongs. Sat. Event details.

This Mini Harvest Celebration is Gonna be Big
Always wanted to stuff a scarecrow but never had the chance? Well all the more reason to pack up the kiddos and head to Slide Ranch’s Mini Harvest Celebration. Think old-timey country fair meets working farm, where kids will have a chance to get up close with the farm animals, churn butter, and spin wool. Plus live music, organic food, face painting, a pickle workshop, beekeeping and blacksmithing demos, and native plant hikes all in the setting of Slide Ranch’s Muir Beach location. Families can pre-register to get a discounted rate.  Go on, get your straw on! Sat. Event details.

Do you love the sunshine or are you ready for some rain? Tell us in the comments below!

–Chantal Lamers