You’ve got your local library branches in regular rotation for story time and the power-half hour sessions with books and puppets please many a tot. If you’re looking to expand your story repertoire (and times) we’ve rounded up 7 spots to hit, many of them include after school and weekend times. From a train museum to an indie bookstore in La Jolla, read on for the deets on where to go for your next story time.

san-diego-story-timesphoto: Paxels 

The country’s oldest family owned and operated bookstore hosts a monthly story time. The time and day of these events change, but kids are always in for a treat at this La Jolla store front. Authors often get into character and narrate their own picture books. Sign up for the store’s children’s monthly e-mail to get advance notice of upcoming events. This month, look for a Toddler Story Time with author Jaqueline Davis, Oct. 11 at 3:30 p.m.

7812 Girard Ave.
La Jolla, Ca

san diego model train museum kidsphoto: Kevin Baird via flickr

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Fans of the rails will love the meet-up, “Trains, trestles and Tracks Play Group” every Friday in Mac’s Kids Corner of the museum. A train table takes center stage in this room and plastic tubs of train related toys go choo choo for the little hands that set them in motion. A locomotive-themed train story is read at each session and supplies to make a craft related to the narrative are made available. There’s even a set of toy engines that will parade around the track sometime during this get together!

1649 El Prado, Balboa Park
San Diego, Ca

San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
Head over to the museum’s book nook where a story is being told each day at 11a.m. and again at 2p.m. Perfect for North County book lovers, this museum should win an award for most interesting themed story tales. A whole week is dedicated to one book, so if your child wants to experience the adventure within the pages later on during the week, they are welcome to join again. A self-guided craft will be made available during these times.

320 North Broadway
Escondido, Ca

Story Time at the National Postal Museum!photo: Smithsonian 

Westfield UTC
Look for the play structure between Stride Rite and Macy’s and you’ve found your spot for story time at the mall. Twice a month you and your littles can plan to arrive early to play on the play structure before the reading begins. Once they’ve expended some energy they’ll be ready for a half hour story time with ambassadors from the mall. Dates are: Oct. 4 & 18; Nov. 1 & 18 and Dec. 6 & 20. Note the Nov. 18 theme is Construction Story Time and will take place at the Lookout Barricade by Nordstrom.

4545 La Jolla Village Dr., Ste E-25
San Diego, Ca

san diego natural history museum, balboa park photo: Glen Bowman via flickr 

San Diego Natural History Museum
Best suited for the preschool & under set, story times at the NAT are weaved around animals and nature. Reading hour here is every second Thursday at 10:15 a.m. Family Days, which run on select dates from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. feature Ms. Frizzle of Magic School Bus fame doing some interactive telling of her own. You’ll have to spring for a general admission ticket or flash your membership to gain entrance into this interactive book pairing but remember! Kids 12 and under are free in October!

1788 El Prado, Balboa Park
San Diego, Ca

Barnes and Noble
Try not to get too distracted by the tables and shelves stacked with amazing books and follow your little bookworms to the kid’s corner. They’ll be surrounded by colorful titles and cuddly stuffed animals, perfect for a cozy story time. This book chain hosts events that appeal to readers of all ages and ever-changing themed reads along with many author events. Because of the many locations and story times throughout San Diego, it is best to check their website to find a suitable time for your and your family. Many storytimes are held after-school, evenings and Saturdays with lots of events geared toward school-aged kids. Highlights this month include Pajamarama Story Time, Fridays in Oct. at 7:30 p.m. at the Trolley Square location along with Pete the Cat Story Time at multiple locations on Sat., Oct. 15 at 11 a.m.

Check Out Your Local Recreation Center
Area recreation centers offer many activities for kiddos of all ages throughout the year and you might not know it, but story times are one of these activities. Hilltop Recreation Center  Rancho Penasquitos does a story time twice a week (Mon. & Fri. 10:45 a.m.-11:45a.m.) where tots can bring a book from their personal library to have read to the class or they may choose one from the center. If you live more towards Clairemont, consider checking out the Booktastic program at Tecolote Recreation Center. It happens Mondays at 4 p.m., perfect for after school. Check out the link below to find a recreation story time near you.

What are your favorite story times outside of the library? Let us know in the comments!