Feeling a little restless? Getting back to school can make the weekend feel a million miles away. But now that it’s time to kick-back, we’ve got everything you need to get out all the extra wiggles and giggles you’ve been holding back in class. So ditch those newly sharpened pencils this weekend and cheer on racing pigs and dragon boats or just get out and dance.

sccf-2014-24Photo: Santa Cruz County Fair


San Francisco

It’s Time to Jam
Unleash your tiny dancers in the mosh pit of free, outdoor family concerts on the lawn at the Park Chalet. Charity and the JamBAND will have everyone—even dads—on their feet. Park Chalet food and beverages are available for a fee. Sun. Event details.

A Winter’s Tale is Unfolding at Shakespeare in the Park
Join the SFShakes festival for this year’s classic A Winter’s Tale. Spread your blanket and pack some cookies for the evening of free, professional theater! Everyone is guaranteed to have a good time, and if you don’t believe us, here’s a quote from the man himself: “Shall we thither, and with our company piece the Rejoicing?!” Sat.-Sun. Event details.

Celebrate Rhinos at the Zoo
It’s World Rhino Day and the San Francisco Zoo is celebrating this very special endangered animals. Come and see as the young black rhino, “Boone” (named after former 49ers guard Alex Boone), and his grandmother, “Elly” (the oldest living black rhino in the U.S.), enjoy special enrichment activities at their encampment near the lion den. Make sure to pat Theenormous Indian rhino “Gauhati” a visit, too. Find him at the back side of the Pachyderm building, across from otters and penguins. Events include education and conservation talks, activities for kids and photo opps as well as special rhino keeper talks. Sun. Event details.


Get Ready to Howl for the Moon Festival
It’s time to celebrate the all-new Moon Festival at Oakland Zoo. The day’s festivities include live music and a DJ, a Lion Dance parade and martial arts demo, face painting, temp tattoos and an enrichment-making station where kids can make snacks for the sun bears. After you’ve built up that appetite then taste some delicious, traditional moon cakes. Sat. Event details.

Get Ready to Cheer on your Dragon
Dragons are coming to town! It’s part of the 21st Annual Kaiser Permanente Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival at Lake Merritt. You might even breath fire after you spend the day cheering on these fleet of colorful 40-foot dragon boats as they cruise along the water to the beat of Chinese drums. The two-day festival is admission free and includes music, food and crafts including plenty of games for kids and the chance to climb around a landlocked dragon boat. Sat.-Sun. Event details.


Get Ready to Baile (Dance) at this this Fiesta
It’s time for Fiestas Patrias, patriotic holiday in the Mexican culture, that’s about to get underway in downtown Redwood City. The Courthouse Square is being transformed for the community celebration with arts and crafts, authentic Mexican fare, an authentic Flag Ceremony conducted by Consul General de Mexico, Ballet Folklorico dancing, live Mariachi music and more. Fri. Event details.

Go Under the Sea with this Little Mermaid
Get ready to explore a whole new world. Kids won’t want to miss this plunge into the colorful depths of an undersea wonderland when The Little Mermaid comes to life via an aquatic playground underscored by a funky Calypso beat. This enchanting musical features an infectious score that includes the popular songs “Part of Your World”, “Under the Sea”, and “Kiss the Girl”. Adapted from the beloved fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen into one of Disney’s most popular animated films. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Honk Your Horn for Train Days
Train Days returns to the Los Altos History Museum for two days of train-filled fun celebrating the joy and wonder of model railroading. Elaborate layouts, intricate scenery, and scaled renditions of prototypes and whimsical engines and theme cars complete with steam, lights and sound, will speed the rails to delight visitors of all ages. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

South Bay

Get Cows and Wows at this Fair
Just when you thought you said your final goodbye to summer there’s still one more county fair to dig into. That’s right, the Santa Cruz County Fair is getting underway and this year the theme celebrates the region’s agriculture heritage via Cows, Plows and Oh Wows. So in addition to fried treats, whirls on the ferris wheel and farm animal encounters you can cheer on turkeys and pigs in funny races, see monster tracks race and attend all kinds of concerts. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Light your Lantern at this Festival
Celebrate the harvest season at Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose’s fifth annual Lantern Festival: Play by the Light of the Moon. Traditionally observed by Chinese and Vietnamese communities, the evening includes: making and launching rockets, creating and decorating glowing lanterns, tasting moon cakes and taking selfies in an authentic Vietnamese xich lo, a bicycle rickshaw. Before you go, watch a lion dance troupe around Discovery Meadow. Sat. Event details.


Slide this-a-way for Friday Night
Kickoff the weekend in style at Slide Ranch, where families can explore this sprawling farm as the sun dips below the sky. Enjoy a communal meal then work it off as you make your way around the nature trails and partake in other kids-friendly offerings. Fri. Event details.

Weave a Friendship into your Day
Is there a special friend in your life? Show them how much you care with a cool friendship bracelet. Rangers will guide kids through bracelet making techniques and provide the supplies (and snacks, too). The event is ideal for all ages and all crafting levels.Hey, maybe you’ll even make a new friend! Sun. Event details.

Where are you putting your energy this weekend? Share it with us in the comments below!

–Chantal Lamers